Confidare Conference on Men’s Issues (CCMI)
Confidare is not only a platform for listening to men, here we see the larger aspect of the problem. Beyond the world of false cases and winning strategies there is a world called MAN. Man is a whole world in itself and this world is continuously ignored, bashed, battered by stereotypes and being judgmental. When a man connects with his feelings, he cares more, with this thought begun the conference. It was a perfect sunny day of 9 June 2016 at The Paul Bengaluru when all the enthusiastic men gathered to think about themselves. I and Bhuvnesh Sharma hosted the conference.
The conference was formally inaugurated by a retired judge (sessions) of consumer court Justice Sandhya Walimbe.
|Justice Sandhya Walimbe|
|Dr. Arvind Raj|
Our next Speaker and key note address were given by a senior Doctor of NIMHANS,Bengaluru. Dr. Arvind Raj deals with Psychiatry for social work and has a deep knowledge about mental health issues and well-being of men. He mentioned that suicide is a silent epidemic and every attempt of suicide is to bring attention. It is basically a person saying,” Please look at me I need help.” More men die due to suicide than women .Suicides of men are more successful because they have better access to lethal weapons (however it is US data ) .There is always a prior warning to every suicide but society ignores such warnings . Suicide wave is just like sea wave, it passes quickly. He said that nobody can have a stress free life, everyone has stress whether it is a baby. A dead body is free from stress which means any stress means you are alive. It is just how a person manages stress. Next he talked about drug abuse, he said women cry and men drink is the concept. When a man is stressed he drinks, smokes and this becomes habit. It is difficult to fight with addiction and people should not be shy of taking help.As there is a stigma with the phrase MENTAL HEALTH that is why men suffer in silence.
There was a tea break after this very interesting talk, in the tea time there was a little informal interaction among members from different places.
After Tea break Prof. Nagaraj of national law School of India University presented his views about the men and their legal issues. He talked about the psychological impact of litigations, criminal court and civil proceedings. He started by telling that there are challenges everywhere these days. Mental pressure is a common thing when you are fighting litigations. Any small marital dispute ends up in filing multiple cases by women. 498a is a vicious circle he said, there is no end to it sometimes it takes 7 to 10 years. 498s does not come alone it often comes with domestic violence, maintenance cases. If there are kids involved it becomes an emotional battle too, custody war becomes ugly at times. He pointed the role of media and feminist organizations in such issues. Media makes an issue out of nothing and nasty debates are invited on it. Involvement of feminist groups make it worse, he added that there is lot of foreign funding behind it. The foreign funding to these groups make them strong and they work not only against men rather humanity. Audience asked questions to Prof. Nagaraj which he replied patiently.
There was lunch break after this,people had a casual interaction with Professor Nagaraj. Lunch time was fun time for all.
Post lunch Mr. Virag Dhulia co-founder of Confidare explained what Confidare is and what it is doing in the field of men’s well-being. He told who the partners are and why it was founded. Also why such conferences are important from time to time. He elucidated how save Indian family Foundation was started and how concept of community center for men came into existence. Confidare prepares reports and researches to sensitize people about men’s issues.
|Dr. Pritha Dasgupta|
Dr. Pritha Dasgupta who is professor of sociology in Christ College Bengaluru presented her views. She has done a lot of research in gender issues and she is in touch with Confidare from last 6 years. She said in her dialogue that men are always expected to be tough and strong, society puts them in so much pressure to be strong always. Social isolation is mostly experienced by men she said but it is not talked anywhere. Because there is a lack of understanding in men’s issues, it has brought imbalance in the society. In a collectivist society like India men and women marry not only to a person they are married to a whole family which they are not prepared or trained.for And this creates rift in future. She added that India is not a patriarchal society it is traditional society and father’s role is very important in any society. It is morally wrong to accuse or alienate a father from his child due to some marital dispute but it is happening all around us. There are changes but very slow. She asserted that organizations like Confidare have potential to bring changes.
Next talk was by Arvind Krishnan who is founder and CEO of Fuller life . Fuller life is an employee engagement company and his topic was, “Sports as stress Buster “. He gave us a new concept that sports is not only about playing games or going to a gym, even walking with your Dog is a sport. Take up any activity as a sport, which keeps your mind calm. A calm mind makes a calm body. It is important to reward yourself when you are able to fulfill that activity, this will keep the morale going. He showed pictures of normal men and women who were able to become runners. He made everyone set a goal for next year and seriously start working for that goal. It was a session full of energy and everyone felt motivated,inspired.
|Dr. Vikram Rajpurohit|
After this, Dr. Vikram Rajpurohit who is an Ayurveda MD gave an oration about, “Ancient wisdom Of Ayurveda “. He started with that stress is what our body is responding to any demand or threat. Threat triggers stress hormones and our blood pressure, heart rate rises. Stress helps us to remain focused, energetic and alert. But the overloaded stress create problems. Massages with different kind of oils,pranayama, Yoga helps us to fight with the over stress. Ancient Ayurvedic techniques are very conducive to lead a healthy and stress-free life.
Next was a prominent member of Confidare Mr. Poornalingam Subbaiah who is a techie by profession and expert with data,statistics. He elaborated how Indian feminists present fudged data and statistics in front of the world to gain more sympathy and funds. He explained how dowry death,dowry, girl education data is manipulated (it will be covered separately in my next blog). This session was an eye opener for many who thought that Government of India does not lie to its citizens.
After this brainstorming session, the conference closed for day one. Day two started with different topics.
Another techie closely associated with Confidare Mr. Vivek Ganesan started the second day with talking about our international collaboration. Men’s issues, by and large, are same all over the world and time has come when we must think beyond caste,creed,race,religion,country etc.Mr. Ganesan told us about A Voice for Men AVFM ,which is an international online magazine and it talks about men and their well-being. Mr. Ganesan added that we have a collaboration with it and he handles AVFM India. He further added how AVFM India publishes articles in different Indian languages because communication in local language helps people to get connected. AVFM India has a vast reach of audience and it helps Indian men internationally. He showed us some interesting moments of AVFM India where people have contacted them for weird reasons and it showed the power of their presence. In last year AVFM India published 48 articles in 4 four languages. He ended by urging people to write more articles in different languages for AVFM India.
Our next Orator was Mr. Puneet Manuja who is co-founder Your Dost. Your dost is a personal emotional wellness coach whom people can talk to for their issues. Mr. Manuja articulated that he started it when one of his classmates committed suicide. He gave people a card and asked everyone to write about 4 things which make them happy and what will be the title of their autobiography. It was a fun exercise which brought smiles on faces. He explained the power of being happy and the power of the smile.
|Adv Mahesh Tiwari|
Our next speaker was Mr. Mahesh Tiwari who is a Supreme Court lawyer and is associated with the cause of men for more than 10 years. He told us how Confidare is helping men to do homework before a case is filed. The activism of members made Supreme Court reject the transfer petitions filed by wives 99% time. As he is a lawyer people had many questions for him which he replied one by one.
Mr. Deepak Mawandia was the next one to give a presentation out Right to Information act. Mr. Mawandia is a known men’s right activist and a techie by profession. He elaborated what is RTI, how it helps in cases filed against you. It was a very knowledgeable and interactive session where everyone gained something.
Our last speaker was Mr. Rohit Girdhar, he is a businessman and heads the Father’s right wing of Save Indian Family Foundation. He talked about plight of fathers in India. How a father suffers and struggles to see his children in a matrimonial case. He cited the US data how parental alienation effects children. He analyzed that there is dire need of data in Indian context. As there is no ministry and department for men we do not have any statistics regarding men and fathers.
Mr. Virag Dhulia presented vote of thanks to the organizing team who did preparations for months to make this a successful event.
After conjuring about men for two days it was time for entertainment. All the members were distributed in four groups and each group was given one situation. They had to perform a small skit in each situation. The situations were –
11. How do you break the news of your wife of having an extra marital affair to your parents ?
22. You have child visitation order and you go to your wife’s place to execute the order and there is resistance, how will you handle it?
33. There is police in your office campus and they want to arrest your team mate, how will you handle it?
44. Your wife has thrown you out of your house and occupied it while you are paying the EMIs for same, how will you handle the situation?
By these four skits the hidden talent of many members came out. It helped them to portray their pain in a light manner. It was the most enjoyable session where the whole hotel staff enjoyed with us.
Time had come to say good bye but there was the lot more to come. We planned a party at the bar of the hotel, there was DJ night too which made people more enthusiastic. So, the party continued post-midnight. People explored their dancing skills and had a lot of fun together. It was a lifetime experience for all to come on one platform and enjoy in spite of having troubles in their lives. The smiles, the laughter, the emotional good byes and hugs depicted what we have achieved in all these years.