The ritual of ‘pind daan’ is performed by Hindus for the salvation of departed souls. Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghaat sees hundreds of men performing it every day.
But on the third Monday of the month of Shrawan (Savan), the ‘pind daan’ that 160 men performed was for their wedlock which had reached a dead-end.“It was a group of harassed husbands who have become victims of the laws that were framed to protect women against dowry and domestic violence,” said one of the 11 priests who performed the pind daan puja. The maximum number of these harassed men was from Madhya Pradesh, followed by Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Delhi.
The event was conducted by an organisation named ‘Save Indian Family’. “We fight against gynocentrism (exclusive focus on women). The pind daan was a just way of making a statement on the prevailing gender bias and ‘feminism’ of which a considerable number of men become victims,” says Anupam Dubey, secretary of the organisation.
Dubey claimed the organisation’s helpline for men has received over three lakh calls from across the country since its inception. He claimed the helpline receives 35 per cent more calls from distraught men than the calls received on 181, the helpline for women. “Even IAS officers, DRDO scientists, doctors, engineers and pilots complain of harassment at the hands of their wives and often feel helpless.”
“Men falsely implicated by their wives in cases of dowry and domestic violence hardly get an ear. Along with Daman Welfare Society, we are trying to raise awareness about problems faced by husbands,” he explained.
Mohit Pandya (name changed on request), a scientist from Ahmedabad, performed the pind daan of his marriage of six years. “I am a victim of harassment by my wife and her family. It started the day I got married. My wife is a spendthrift and takes away every single penny of my salary. If I object, she threatens to implicate me in a dowry case,” said Pandya.