Firstly, thanks to everyone who read/appreciated/shared my last article “Open Letter to Akshay Kumar: How #Padman Publicity Campaign is a big FAIL!” It has been a while but here I am with another blog post.
We live in times where men & women both are working professionals with careers & ambitions of their own. Our culture has always been one which gives respect to elders & takes care of them during their hard times, specially in their old age years. Abuse or mistreatment of elders would have been a non-issue or a non-event a few decades back. But it is a stark reality of present times. Remember Baghban? Four sons do not take care of their ageing father & mother. Do you remember the role of daughter in laws in the movie? May be not. One of them cooks a story that the mother is an attention seeker & another one says that father is good for nothing.
I repeat, “The daughter-in-law remains the primary abuser be it Youth Perception or Elder Reality.“
Many of us are aware of this reality, but we choose to ignore it. May be because we like to blame the sons all the time or may be because we don’t care till fire reaches our doorsteps.
Please watch the video below:
Remember the viral video of daughter-in-law named Sangeeta Jain who is brutally thrashing her mother-in-law Rajrani Jain. All major news agencies covered this including NDTV, Indian Express & even Dailymail UK. The Sansani guy at ABP News called the episode “Torture” and he is absolutely right. The video would give chills to any sane person.
Another video which covers a story of again, a DIL thrashing a MIL.
A research paper called “Domestic Violence against Elderly People: A Case Study of India” by Punita Govil and Swati Gupta, Aligarh Muslim University (A.M.U.), Aligarh, India presents the below chart:
Another report by Helpage India which presents similar facts needs to be read.
I came across a “Country Report for World Health Organization” prepared by Shubha Soneja & the report also bears Helpage India’s name. I will present some excerpts from the report.
I am not going to argue if daughter-in-laws & their involvement in elder abuse is a problem in India, because it is not an argument or a debate, it is a FACT.
Why is this problem not getting addressed on larger platforms or by Government officials? There are certain layers to this:
1. Misuse of laws and filing of #FakeCases
There are laws made by the Government which are ‘supposedly’ made for protection of women but this laws are grossly misused by wives to harass & torture husband, his parents & his relatives. False cases of domestic violence, dowry, abuse etc. are now a regular thing in courts & courts have gone to the extent of stating that “Misuse of dowry provisions is legal terrorism“. But there is no concrete punishment for such women who file false & fake cases. Barring a few instances, most of them are let to go free. Some of them want money, gold & property, some want dominance, some just want to harass. Till the time there is a fear of law & strict punishment among the serial abusers, this will not stop.
2. Role of Government
The Government of India has a Ministry called “Ministry of Women & Child Development” (The child part is a matter of an individual discussion altogether). When the Minister & Ministry get some time from calling men “haraamzaade ki tarah mote“, they don’t see any issues with the elder men/women and the abuse that they face. They are busy making more laws for married women rather than implementing the existing laws properly and rather than focusing on fixing the BIG loopholes in the existing set of #GenderBiasedLaws. A question to the Ministry: Are this elder women not part of your definition of women? When will you protect them?
3. Role of all of us
What are we doing against all of this? What do we do when we see such a video or read such a report? Probably nothing. So, this means we are part of the problem. Speak up, share, name & shame them. Most of the elder men & women do not share the abuse by daughter-in-laws with the fear of shame in society or fear of being laughed at. This elder men & women need our support. If we don’t support them, who will? The abusers have to be punished.
If you think that the problem is not as big, check the report by “The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Network for the Prevention of
Elder Abuse (INPEA) and partners” where they conducted research across many countries of the world & this is what they stated about India.
I am an optimist & believer that things will change & situation will improve. Laws will be made to punish the abusers & #FakeCases gang. Till then, support each other & support the needy.
P.S. THE UN celebrates “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on June 15.