Organising Strategies of the Indian Men’s Rights Movement

Gathering Steam

From faint beginnings in scattered solitary actions in the 1990s, the activities of men's rights activists have emerged in India as a well-organised social movement. They denounce feminists with a broad brush, portend the impending doom of the institutions of marriage and family, and particularly attack the simultaneous use of civil and criminal laws relating to marriage and domestic violence for alleged harassment of husbands. This paper uses an ethnographic account of one Delhi group to examine their political strategies and techniques of shaping community and identity. There are lessons here for feminist organisations: from understanding the varied anxieties that bring people to such groups, to identifying the conflation between specific weak cases and general castigation of wives, to studying the specific tactics of an energetic grass-roots contemporary movement.

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