A Mumbai-based gender rights activist will receive a national award from a confederation of non-profit groups in New Delhi next week for his work on gender sensitisation among men.
Harish Sadani, 43, who founded and runs the non-government organisation, Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), has been working with men on women's issues such as domestic violence, women's rights and matters of sexuality for the past 17 years.
The awarding body, The Indian Confederation of Non-Government Organisations (ICONGO), a national platform of NGOs, has since 2006 been annually awarding individuals 'Karmaveer Puraskaars' for work towards social justice.
"Harish Sadani has been spearheading a movement in India that explores the role of men as key partners and change agents in preventing gender-based violence against women," reads the citation letter. The other awardees will be formally announced on Thursday.
"Gender issues are normally seen as women's issues but just empowering women doesn't help," said Sadani. "We need to address patriarchy and ensure the active involvement of men."
Sadani began his work in 1993 after seeing an advertisement in the Indian Express that said "Wanted: Men who believe that wives are not for battering". Sadani was one of the 205 men who responded to the notice and later came for a meeting.
Sadani has been mobilising men and boys in different parts of the state to fight against gender violence through publications, a counselling service and an active awareness programme. The group's latest project has involved training groups of college students, all young men, as "communicators" to educate their peers on gender sensitivity.
"Men are slowly beginning to realise the evolving models of masculinity that are gender equitable," said Sadani.