Daddies denied: CRISP bats for Fathers
ALL too often, fathers get the fuzzy end of the lollipop — slaves to their jobs, chauffeurs to their children and incidental to their wives. This Father’s Day, fathers and many father figures will be honoured. Many men will get gifts, ranging from pens to mugs that say ‘World’s Greatest Father’ or ‘I Love My Dad’. However, the day will also bring pain and sorrow to many households, which have divorced or separated fathers.
CRISP activists receive calls from hundreds of aggrieved fathers each year, many of whom are ‘falsely’ charged by their wives with taking dowry. There are others who are unjustly booked under the draconian Domestic Violence Act. Their lives are in tatters when they approach CRISP. On the one hand, there are the mounting court cases and, on the other hand, there is total alienation from their children. The insensitive Indian courts take ages to hand out verdicts. The hapless fathers have no choice but to put their lives on hold and pray for divine intervention.
Anil (name changed to protect identity), a SIFF activist, has had to put his life on hold for the past few years ever since his wife told him she wanted to have nothing to do with him but that she was not willing to go in for a divorce either. After exhausting all means for a reconciliation, Anil suggested to his wife that they divorce. However, she responded by filing a false case under the Domestic Violence Act against Anil and his father. `A0Anil has not stopped paying for her upkeep or for their two children even for a single day. Unfortunately, he has not met his children for the past two years or set foot in his own house, which his estranged wife is currently occupying with their children after throwing him out along with his belongings.
"It comes down to the simple fact that we face a Herculean struggle. The politicians are not dealing with this with the degree of urgency this matter deserves. Fathers are forced to support children`A0even when mothers are not being forced to allow those fathers access," says Jahgirdar. He wants fathers and grandparents to be given a legal right to see their children and grandchildren.
According to the members of CRISP, couples contemplating divorce should be counselled on the benefits of shared parenting. This will eliminate unnecessary child custody battles, stress caused to both the parents and the children and save the precious time of the already overburdened courts. `A0Jahgirdar wants the law changed so that equal parenting is presumed, whereas at present the pendulum swings in favour of the mother. "All we want is equality between the genders, equality of treatment," he adds.