It was another one of the regular meetings of the SIFF (Save India Family Foundation) Delhi chapter last Saturday at Patiala house court lawns. Like always I was there to listen to the stories of relationships gone wrong, stories of betrayal, stories of never ending fights, stories of pain and agony and story of being “Nowhere.”

I was busy talking to a man who looked dapper even though his grey hair told me he had several stories behind him of pain, failed relationships and struggle in the court of law. But none of that seem to have fazed him of his love for life and zeal to still set things right. The only thing he was unsure of…whether he would be able to tell his daughter ever…that his father is not a bad man! He was sitting with his daughter…a day he waits every month for… his visitation date where he can see her daughter. I was aghast to see a little girl sitting over there, trying to make sense of what she was being subjected to at such a young age! There was a lady police sitting right in front of her, looking at her from a distance, keeping a check on every move of hers. I thought inside my heart…have I ever spoken to my father in such a guarded atmosphere? I am in my late twenties but I still know there is a little girl inside me who always opens up in front of her father whenever things are not right. I can cry in front of him, I can yell in front of him and I know I can tell him everything I probably can’t discuss even with my mother. And here I was, looking at a girl completely confused, befuddled what to do? I told the man – I think she loves you a lot! He was not too sure about my statement. He sighed “I don’t think so. Her mind has been told a lot of things about my which she would never be able to go beyond.” I asked him again – then why are you fighting this lost battle? He replied “I will wait for that day when she would probably be mature to understand that her father wasn’t wrong. She would love me as a father. She would accept me as a human being!” I couldn’t help but shed a tear, feeling sorry for this man, praying to god to listen to his plea and grant him that day!

But what I was about to see next was something that I had only heard in stories yet! Just after meeting a father who was yearning to gain the love of his daughter, I saw video of a father, whose attitude I can’t describe in wordsL.

This young, educated boy came to me and asked me haplessly – Can you help me in any way? I want to show you something. I did not know him at all. It was the first time I was ever seeing him there at the meeting. But given that I am making a documentary on the Misuse of dowry laws in India, I could understand his anxiety and his helplessness. I said let’s see what you have got to show me. He brought his laptop and played a 10 minute long clip – that left me speechless! I am detailing excerpts of the conversation here:

Mother-in-law (mother of the wife) to the Boy – Your mom is too difficult to handle. She taunts my daughter that she can’t make a cup of tea! I mean once and twice is fine but you can’t listen to such things ten times.

Boy (surprised) – But Mummy we have never taunted her or something. My mother was just saying that she doesn’t even prepare tea for me.

Mother-in-law – Whatever…my daughter can’t listen to such things.

Father-in-law now butts in – Listen…enough of talking now. Things can’t be mended now. We need to sort this out.

Boy – Sort out? How?

Father-in-law – Well we would take 1 Crore. Nothing else would suffice.

Boy (almost breaking down) – But daddy she has Jewellery worth 20 Lacs already with her!!!!

Father-in-law – Leave all that aside! Think all that doesn’t even exist. Nothing of past to be discussed, we would take a Crore now to settle down this argument.

The video stops after this. I ask him – why did it stop here? He told me – “The hidden camera has certain duration up to which it records. This is what I could capture.” But this is extortion, I said! He replied in a tone I have heard umpteen times now since I started working on my documentary – “Let me get my bail in the false cases they have charged against us. And then I will do all that’s possible to save the respect of me and my family.” You have such strong evidences (by now I was losing my temper), I said. “She has connections higher in the ministry,” was his last response!

My heart fumed with anger. But I knew I could do nothing – absolutely nothing. I was talking to a guy who married thinking he would have a lovely life with his better half and was now standing in front of me, showing proofs of his innocence and a sad story of the trauma he and his old parents have been subjected to. Since he did not give into his father in laws demand of one crore, he and his parents have been booked under IPC 498A and other dowry cases. I wonder what is the name that i need to give to the money his father in law asked from him – A price for being a Husband in India? A price for marrying a Girl? Or Reverse Dowry that if he had been paying to his FIL, all these things would not have happened in the first place!

I wondered! Why would a father ask for a crore of rupees for his daughter (he looks completely calm in the video, not distressed at all about breaking of marriage of his daughter and rock solid in his voice while asking that huge sum which is still an amount that many in an average middle class home in India only think about saving)???? Would he marry his daughter again spending 30 or 40 lacs in the marriage, and call it as Dowry if the relationship doesn’t work out? And then probably claim 2 Crores next time? Spend 40 lacs on the marriage to woo the boy’s side and then say that the boy’s side was so greedy that they didn’t settle for anything less than that amount? What would happen with the remaining 60 Lacs that he got as a settlement from the first marriage? Keep it with him and treat it as an interest to all that he spent while educating her daughter? I know I am sounding too harsh here but I don’t understand the meaning of such a transaction!

I wonder where do people gather so much courage to ask blatantly for something that is not theirs?

And I respond to my own self – Our LAW!

It is a common scene in the court these days where girls, wanting to break relationships, yell at guys and their families – I would sue you, make you shit in your clothes, get you and your family arrested,  ruin your career and take away whatever is left with you. The strength hasn’t come without a reason!

There are millions of men, running helter-skelter for escape, with all the evidences of what’s gone wrong in their relationship, yet by the time they are put to trial under fabricated “Dowry” cases, they have already been behind bars, their families including old mothers, younger sisters, married sisters, uncles, aunts and anyone who’s been named under IPC 498A been arrested, lost jobs and been victim of public shame! They are presumed guilty and have to prove innocence for a crime that they never committed!

This is the punishment of their ignorance! Ignorance of getting into a sacred relationship which they think is based on love, respect, trust and faith. But don’t know about the the articulation of these feelings when it comes to the ground of court and not “home”. For those who would try to make a meaning out of my sentence, please read this news article where a woman, who concealed her first marriage from her husband, http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Top-court-orders-man-to-support-bigamous-wife/Article1-972983.aspx#disqus_thread, is availing maintenance from him now, though the marriage ideally should be rendered null and void…and that too with a SUPREME COURT stamp on it!!!

Looking at this judgment, I think there is no place to go for the men of this country…and also the women of this country who are not wives but Sisters, Mothers, Aunts and daughters. When a woman has the guts to marry multiple times, I don’t understand how law calls her “aggrieved” and the husband “tormentor.” I sometimes wonder, if science has proven a heart also beats as per “Gender” and if feelings are also based on Sex???

I know my fight is too hard, too long and too difficult to be digested by many…..I know I might be considered an outcast in few months from now for raising a voice against my own community….but my fight is not about gender….it is about the fight between right and wrong…something that our country, our traditions, our mythology has always advocated us to fight for…..and I am sure there will be a day when good will once again win over evil and I along with many sufferers will revel in my victory and we all would celebrate “Diwali” …… will light “diyas” for bringing home value of relations, love and above all “respect” not stamped by LAW but stamped by self conscience!

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj,

Take a look at the trailer of my documentary on misuse of IPC 498A : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0TyjO2if6Y

PS: Names have been concealed to respect privacy.

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Comments
  1. xyz498 says:

    First of all thanks to Deepika for this story, this is not only one story there are thousands even lakhs of stories which are not coming in front of the society becuase nobody cares about what’s going in counrty, everybody is trying to increase his numbers either politics, police, CAW , NCW etc…..But I am 100% sure if this will continue there will be new crime, husband will try to make justice themseleves by taking revenge, if our legal system is fail due to this feminism.

  2. Prostitution now best profession with good support from IPC & cr,pc, IPC 498a is best tool for blackmailing, we feel proud as Indian,

  3. jyoti tiwari says:

    this is the story of every other indian house , still people dont come forward to protest.

    • xyz498 says:

      Many people are rasing voice but because nobody with us…either it is polticians,NCE,CAW, Media …every powerful bodies are trying to present men as criminal….one day country will face cons of this…..

  4. murali says:

    BRAVO.
    I appreciate your initiative and dont worry, results will follow sooner than later.

  5. 498a_misuse_victim says:

    A sad state of how things are going on now in educated class people of India. Large percentage of modern educated girls take marriage as a light relationship, husbands as mere ATMs and above all their family backing them in the extortion. This silent change is sweeping across cities in India.

  6. Imtiaz Ali says:

    hi Dipika , i have seen your program on NDTV India with Ravish , i am impressed with your Balance thoughts, a very natural human being……….really great in this world of coalition………….

    • xpressionsDeepika says:

      Thanks Imtiaz. Appreciate your response.

      • Just want to tell about something on this show with Ravish on NDTV india. That day u told about a lady whose ‘husband’ was killed before marriage by a boy who was also lynched in the ceremony itself, do u know the full story that u were saying against that girl? She was told by that boy that he was the owner of a shop where he was mere shopkeeper..now both the families r accusing the lady..the lady may be after money coz money is not everything but a lot of thing too..again you did the same thing and now with kadamvari in the same show, ap ko kya ho gaya hai? Have u heard about the Jaypur or Kerala homeless victim (her age is 3) whose both vagina and rectum r destroyed, aur ap yahan national tv me mardon ke liye ro rahen hai? yes, there r misuse of 498A, but have u followed the ‘Khaki Sham’ on CNN-IBN the day before yesterday? Come on…

      • xpressionsDeepika says:

        I would ask you to rethink your thoughts Sandipan.I might not be knowing the full story but I definitely know that the girl was dating that guy for three long years. Wasn’t she able to find in that long time if he is the owner of that shop or shopkeeper? You rightly said…money is now the only motivation. And could you please tell me….what was the mistake of that man whom she was marrying? Why din’t she tell it to him that she had an affair? I am sure he would have double thoughts about marrying her then and his life could be saved. You are quoting news to me…Do you know a woman recently killed her husband with a bat? Do you know a woman chopped her husband into 17 pieces the same day Delhi gang rape happened? Do you know how many women first have consensual sex with men and then cry rape? I am not crying over here for mardon ke liye…but i am questioning the deep rooted misandry that exists in every one’s mind today. If a woman is guilty, she has to be punished, come what may. Btw, it’s very easy to say that 498A is being misused as a reaction, i will talk to you the day one of your family member is implicated in a false case….you will realize how life turns into hell when an innocent is charged under it…

      • xpressionsDeepika says:

        BTW…its an irony that we as a nation do not wish to accept the harsh truth. These khaki men are telling what they see everyday alrit. I wish the journalists had gone a little deeper into the investigation and asked them about the false cases that come to them on a daily basis.

      • Rohan says:

        @Sandipan Mukherjee, the mainstream media never tells you when men are tortured or brutally treated and even society is insensitive to the feelings and rights of men – men themselves are anti-men. You have been raised in an atmosphere where you are taught that women alone are victims and men are perpetrators. Time for you to introspect.

  7. shailesh says:

    this is very simplistic and flawed understanding of issues..what needs to be amended is institution of marriage instead of dowry act. In NDTV. your arguments are completely misplaced. There are various cases of various varieties so every progressive law can be proved flawed. Mixing gender issues with something undefined statistical data to support argument is highly unethical. One more point ..are you convinced with your own arguments? family is simply not an issue..joint families are no more visible..now nuclear families are emerging then single mother families are emerging. all these have deeper social-political-economic connotation. it is not just about families. in sociology/history/philosophy a lot has been written about family. I hope you are not against domestic violence act.

    • xpressionsDeepika says:

      Dear Shailesh. let me first come to the point of being misplaced. I really think i was not, however what i was saying is usually not appreciated by a lot of people because it’s bitter truth. What amendment of Institution of marriage are we talking about when there is no reinforcement even existing acts? Every marriage needs to be registered. However people don’t and only when they fall in the legal soup is when they remember it. Gifts and articles are easily turned into dowry. Please let me know a single father who doesn’t want to marry off his daughter beautifully? And for god sake please don’t attach it with patriarchy! In-laws also spend a lot on their daughter-in-laws. And that’s because they love the woman in their lives and wish to keep them happy with their means and wherewithal’s. What you are calling a progressive law is regressive actually. It’s breaking the family harmony. Each scuffle or an argument is not dowry torture alrit…women also beat up men, women ask men to leave their parents…women ask men to do so many things against their wish…what will that be called? Sir, I AM HUNDRED PERCENT convinced with my own argument. Cuz my fight is not against atrocities on women only…but my fight is against crime, punishing those who are innocent and this mindset that every man is a dowry seeker or an abuser. And one more thing…we will have to understand that these crimes are also because of the social changes that we are seeing in our society. India is not a country but a world in itself with so much of difference in education, cultures etc…can we put everything in a single lens? I dun’t think so….Biggest point…i have made a film on women empowerment…i know how these feminists gather women to talk about their success stories…reality things are different..open your eyes!

    • xpressionsDeepika says:

      I was hoping to hear a reply from you……

      • Surbhi says:

        I agree with Shailesh here.

        If you are fighting against “CRIME” [as you proudly proclaim] -why just stick to one law or gender.
        Your fight should be against misuse of ANY LAW irrespective of gender.

        Your comments were definitely misplaced, but I guess the channel needed someone with diverent/out of context views to conduct a debate, and you probably knew this would happen but still wanted the TV footage, else, well, I don’t know what to say!!!

        No one in their right mind would want to comment against “crime against women” – purely because it’s not RIGHT.

        Fight for your cause at the right place with right facts and arguments.
        Sincere request – please don’t do it for the sake of doing it…

        I don’t know if you allow this post of mine – but if you are really what you claim, you should be open to criticism as well.

      • xpressionsDeepika says:

        I absolutely am what I claim to be Surbhi. Thanks for taking time to read my blogs and posting comments. But sorry to say, I would have loved to hear your arguments in response to the arguments that I am making, rather than blabber in air just like feminists do. So, my question to you – how many times did you went out to help a man in need? How many times did you try and dig deeper into stories of so called violence against women? I have no doubts to agree that crime against women is an issue…but do you think making laws is a solution? Do you think your servant would have same understanding as you regarding these issues? Do you think India and its citizens have same mentality, cultures, values everywhere? laws of land are different everywhere Surbhi and we can’t make decision for everything sitting here in New Delhi. Do you know grooms are abducted in Bihar and forced to marry with girls? I know it’s a repercussion of demand of Dowry ..but is this going to end the menace? AND MIND IT …just because speaking out the truth is not POLITICALLY CORRECT, i would not succumb to it. I think you need to pay more attention to my points. I am not speaking against “Crime against Women’ but i am speaking against the bias that exists in the society as far as these crimes are concerned. There are ample cases where women are at fault but the only one accused is the boy. Why? Just because a woman has the right to do whatever she wants and whatever she pleases to? If a man comes home drunk, he is tagged as a bad husband, but if a woman comes home drunk, she is independent and woman of first century? I am not craving for footage. I am not one of those TV crazy feminists who term suicides by men as farmer suicides. I am not as heartless as them. But I understand your views. It’s difficult for a woman to see her own self. Men are being conditioned to feel guilty since they are boys. And Lady, family and marriage culture has been considered the most important thing in India’s cultural contexts. You wouldn’t get the pain of those families who have been at the receiving end of misuse of laws until it happens in your vicinity. But thanks to these laws Divorces have been incentivized. I would love to hear your views on a recent news article where the woman stayed in her matrimonial home for just two days, filed all false allegations against her husband’s family, SC accepted it’s a false case, but still granted 15L alimony….is this really a judgment for Crime against Women???? No wonder the judiciary and police is becoming apathetic to even genuine cases….it’s the false cases that have clogged the system. BTW see if you could solicit a response from Shailesh too whose points you agree to wholeheartedly. Would love to hear both of your views on punishing women for Crime against Men….

      • Rohan says:

        @Surbhi, the paid feminist media just wanted somebody with divergent view for the sake of it. Hardly any time is allocated to the views that are against mainstream feminist extortion. You claim that the blogger should attend to all laws that are misused. That is the choice of the blogger. There are billions of issues in this world. Can one person attend to all of them? Moreover, when you are so biased and speak only for women and do not wish to see the problems of men (because men are disposable atm machines and unpaid bodyguards) why do you expect others not to be selective? Look at yourself before preaching others.

    • Rohan says:

      @Shailesh, your arguments are completely false as you believe that women alone need protection and men don’t. You believe in the biased views of feminism that men are bad and women are good.

  8. mens.rights.activist says:

    we should start campaign against these kind of feminist Judiciary and lodge complaint against them to terminate from his post and take legal action him send him to jail.Now we have to stand against feminist judges and protest against them. Expose them in front of public.

  9. mens.rights.activist says:

    Very good deepika. We proud on you.Please keep it up. we are with you. From Indore

  10. Rohan says:

    Feminist often ask us why we need Men’s rights. Here are a few reasons: I need men’s rights because when she changed her mind the next day, I went to jail
    I need men’s rights because I was the victim of abuse but nobody believed me;
    I need men’s rights because I am less likely to go to college, and if I do, I will make less money than my female contemporaries;
    I need men’s rights because the president sees the shrinking number of men in colleges across America as “a great success”;
    I need men’s rights because people question if I am a predator when I am alone with my child;
    I need men’s rights because a man’s appearance, height, and weight has a greater affect on his income than it does for a woman;
    I need men’s rights because saying “it’s impossible to discriminate against men in our society” allows people to discriminate with impunity;
    I need men’s rights because traditionally masculine characteristics are virtues not flaws;
    I need men’s rights because the likelihood of my death coming by suicide is four times higher than it is for women, though I receive little support;
    I need men’s rights because it is not considered bigoted or sexist to deny me a male safe space at my college by those who have possessed their own safe spaces for decades;
    I need men’s rights because it is assumed that a meeting of men in a male safe space is automatically going to devolve into hateful sexism and violence;
    I need men’s rights because broad gender-wide slurs against men are socially accepted;
    I need men’s rights because my life, career, reputation and connection with my family can be easily destroyed by a single, false and anonymously whispered accusation;
    I need men’s rights because when women stumble blame rests on society, but when men stumble it is their fault;
    I need men’s rights because in my physically demanding career, I am expected to do much more work for “equal” pay;
    I need men’s rights because it is fine to call me a “dick”, a “cock”, or a “prick” on the street or on television; a woman must never be called a “cunt”;
    I need men’s rights because talk-shows think it’s funny if I am wounded or sexually mutilated by a woman;
    I need men’s rights because while the rape of a woman is properly regarded as a crime, the rape of a man is funny;
    I need men’s rights because mutilation of male infants is considered normal – and those arguing for the protection of male infants from mutilation are regularly slandered as anti-semites and bigots;
    I need men’s rights because my sexuality is routinely characterized as violent pathology, rather than as a natural part of my human identity;
    I need men’s rights because women assume it’s my fault if I am assaulted by a woman;
    I need men’s rights because people think it is irresponsible to have me work around children;
    I need men’s rights because I have the right to the same sexual sovereignty given to women;
    I need men’s rights because I believe that the feminist idea that a woman in the United States is equally oppressed as a woman in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia in cruel and insulting;
    I need men’s rights because I should not be ashamed of my sexuality;
    I need men’s rights because women who find me unattractive will shame me can call me creepy for politely interacting with them, and they will be praised for this cruelty;
    I need men’s rights because I was sexually harassed by several drunk women twice my age and everyone at the party thought it was funny;
    I need men’s rights because my size and strength is commonly used to pretend that I am violent, which I am not;
    I need men’s rights because if I am small or weak doesnt mean I have a Napoleon complex;
    I need men’s rights because the type of car I drive does not give you the right to shame me or belittle me;
    I need men’s rights because I have the right to associate with other men without legal action forcing me to allow women, too;
    I need men’s rights because if I am assaulted by my spouse, and I attempt to seek help, I risk arrest, imprisonment and life-long censure – even if I do not defend myself, even I am seriously injured while she is untouched;
    I need men’s rights because I earned my accomplishments; they were not given to me by a fictitious masculine conspiracy;
    I need men’s rights because I have a right to be a father for my own children;
    I need men’s rights because, as a man, I am much more likely to be physically assaulted than a woman;
    I need men’s rights because I will be chastised as a coward, and a failed man if I do not sacrifice my life to save a woman in a time of crisis;
    I need men’s rights because laws exist that demand harsher penalties for men for the same crime;
    I need men’s rights because I have no lobbying voice in congress;
    I need men’s rights because, as a man, I am more than 9 times more likely to be killed at work than a woman;
    I need men’s rights because I am more likely to die young, and much less money is being spent on my health problems;
    I need men’s rights because, if I am killed in an accident, people will care less than if a woman or a child is killed. News readers make this clear every time they utter the phrase “women and children”;
    I need men’s rights because society believes that my life is worth less than a woman’s;
    I need the men’s rights movement, because I am a human being.
    And finally, I need the men’s rights movement, because when I attempt to address any of these issues, my co-workers, my government, my media, my peers, my family, and the larger society I am a part of rises in unanimous voice to condemn me as a monster – simply for claiming my humanity.

  11. UNDERGROUND ARMY says:

    @Deepika, @Rohan and others.
    Finally, I see senseful talking.
    Indian legal system : “Everybody is equal in the eyes of law and Law does not favor anyone”

    As soon as, a male is brought to the court, he is already considered a criminal.
    If you want to get rich in India use all kind of lies , the ill legal system will buy it for sure and the innocent will spend ages to proove the lies.
    And what do you get in the end : A big hole in your pocket paying the lawyers, bribing the babus to present your own file in the court, a big dent on you and your families social standing.

    Ha ha ha.
    Yes, any person outside India will perceive India and the Indian Legal Framework as the screwed up sytem, where laws are made to exploit and not to impart justice ( Rarely Done).
    Even, after spending Lacs of rupees in Lawyers fees, if approach the HIGH COURT in most of the states with all the proves in support of quashing of the false 498a FIR.
    The court simply says to present the proves in the lower court as evidence and MAKE YOUR LIFE PRODUCTIVE BY FIGHTING YOUR CASE FOR YEARS.. Thats the great truth which every bitter half is exploiting.

  12. UNDERGROUND ARMY says:

    Yes, after reading the above comment, I think I have your attention.
    Now, my story,
    A scholarship holder, throughout his study term. A NRI.
    Comes to India gets married to the girl selling her story : 1. Dad too Poor. 2. Three more sisters.
    You go and marry her out of your MIDDLE CLASS ATTITUDE , HELP EVERYONE , IT IS ONLY THE DAUGHTER AND HER FAMILY VALUES THAT ARE REQUIRED.

    Boy goes back to apply PR and Girl continues with her X Boyfriend.
    Boy comes back since parents are keeping too ill and decides to spend about two years in India.
    Catches the girl having the fun of her life.
    Talks to her FIL, the family comes and takes the girl on pretext that they will brain wash her and send her back.

    Boy and her family gets the FRUIT instead. Boy sitting in India for 2 years without any hope or job.
    Yes, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL but WHEN , MY QUESTION IS WHEN?

    If they have put Rape trials on Fast Track, why these law makers feared to make 498a on fast track too.
    Coz, coz………. Yes, say it my friends, the RAPIST IS A MAN, THE ACCUSED IS WOMEN and in 498a the VOTE BANK gets to enjoy and have all the money by claiming maintenance,even she is able bodied and educated girl….

  13. suresh chand says:

    Hi Deepika,
    Yesterday I herd your address on occasion of retirement party of my colleague. Through it I came to know about the work you are busy with at present. My best wishes are for “all of your endeavour “.

  14. subratopatna says:

    My dear Deepika, We are a senior citizen couple and parents of two sons. Going through some of your blog posts, I’m divested. We practically have no savings (except for a small pension and a flat to live) and hope our sons will be of our support. If we get a daughter-in-law as you describe, what is going to happen to us?

    • xpressionsDeepika says:

      I am at loss of words what to advise you sir. I would say please do a thorough back ground check of the girl, give at least 6 months to the couple to understand each other, make sure every gift exchanged/accepted is documented and signed by both the parties, get the marriage registered and no dowry exchange papers signed. Even after all this, if things go bad between your son and daughter in law, she can file a case sir. Sorry but that’s the way things are right now in India. Please watch this promo of a documentary i am making on this issue, you would understand what’s happening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjXyb8rLRU4

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