International Men’s Day, though yet to get official recognition from the United Nations, is slowly getting more votaries in its favour in India.
Sports icon and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra feels it’s a good idea, “not just to have another Day but if it is to deal with specific problems of men. Why not?”
Everybody has issues; men too have issues that are specific to them and we must be “sensitive to those”, he added.
Celebrated on different days in different parts of the world, it was the then Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev who first called for an international day to celebrate men in 1999 at the UN in Vienna.
In India, NGOs like Save Indian Family Foundation that advocate the cause of men — on a range of issues like false dowry claims, domestic violence, sexual harassment and torture — want to build international consensus for November 19 to be International Men’s Day.
Fashion designer Rohit Bal is all for it. “Men always get a raw deal, particularly in times of segregation and divorce. Custody of children go to women. I think, in any country, both sexes need to be treated equally.” He added: “This is not a demographic problem but a human problem. We should definitely have an International Men’s Day.”
Fashion designer Jattinn Kochhar said: “The Indian government should establish an International Men’s Day though the day and date could be decided. I will give it full support.”
“On the one hand, we talk of women’s empowerment which is very good. But then a small percentage of men get slaughtered as the government, police and law are with women,” he added.
This year, the day coincides with International Philosophy Day. Head of the department of philosophy at Hindu College, Devasia M. Antony, said: “An interesting but (un)welcome coincidence, one may think so! A glance at philosophical writings show most philosophers were and are men. A case of clear gender bias indeed! One hopes the emergence of more women philosophers would radically alter the way philosophy is taught and practised.”
UN Information Centre director Shalini Dewan said: “As far as the UN is concerned, men were not the discriminated gender.”