SIF was ready to file a complaint to stop the Ponds ad by HLL that promoted the controversial Domestic Violence Act in a surrogate way that even Supreme Court has called clumsily drafted . I was about to write this in SIF but did not react immediately. But something told me that the ads would stop, though the communication in meeting was of 2 years campaign later max upto 1st week of Jan 2007. But in retrospect the effect was immediate.
So I decided to wait and watch for the ad or more reports from anyone anywhere. SIF Vanarsena was already deputed for this Job from that day. But repeatedly I was told by deputes “Uncle where is the Ad these days, shayad vapas le li?”. And then on 28th Dec 2006, DNA confirmed the news. But what mattered was the purpose of SIF, which was served, as this ad otherwise carried a risk of “Kan Bharnewali Saheli” (a she friend provoking another to provoke to workout such a situation) instead of a guide to the real Victim Women as intended.
Though this was a genuine attempt of HLL-O&M in selling by promoting awareness as they were focused on the victimized women but they missed out on realizing the side effect of misuse as highlighted by SIF. But I would say that the beauty of statistics represented by Women Empowerment Organisation have misled and claimed many victims to it, one of them is the corporate sector who generously donates for the cause without even contemplating or questioning the statistics. HLL was one of them as they too realized it. Just like Nobel invented dynamite with good intentions but it is largely misused.
Next point presented was the one that no one has been able to answer (Not even the Human Rights Commission) as to why there is no provision for the males to register complaints based on truth if against females and wife. Unlike the wife who has provisions, but is still supported by ever cribbing mahila sansthas who talk about rights but not the responsibilities. Leaving poorly drafted laws, which act as fatal VIRUS (DV Act and 498a) in the system.
HLL and O&M did give me a fair chance to talk to being with. They were surprised with the statistical argument. This was just 2 days before the Washington times correction else it would have been an easier task for both of us. They did work pretty hard for this poorly researched campaign with good intentions as I was told that they had signed an MoU with UNIFEM who would use the 2 rupees donation by ponds on every pack for counseling before using the law. This was actually very utopian and impressive but bookish in front of what has been prevailing since 1983 with 2% conviction rate in 498a.
But SIF argued and they were left thinking, when doubts were raised on a situation where if a girl is motivated by this ad planning a misuse in silligudi (where as on date, there is no judge for past 3 years in the matrimonial court) what would she do? Would she go to the UNIFEM? No!!! Would she go to the dowry prohibition officer or Protection officer (now what is that) ah if the case is genuine she may look out for this fictitious character that exists in the law books. Well otherwise she would go to the police.
And even the police have agreed that once they intervene even for good, the matter is never resolved in reconciliation but has always landed up in divorce, on taking complaint they have called themselves helpless in front of Women Organisation who threaten a complain against them affecting their Job. so overall it would do more harm than good to the society. I think all this must have stuck them the most. (there were more discussions, debates and exchages of thoughts but I am responding to the contents of article that has come in DNA)
They did their job of justification and I did my job of preventing misuse. They sure realized what they missed out. Henpecked-Handcuffed, Nobel, Zidane has been a great examples that explains the plight of similar kind that traps the Indian Husband and misuse of laws. Even HLL and O&M realized. They also took a note of Domestic Harmony Ad instead as suggested by SIF. We parted peacefully but on a polite disagreement as I walked out of the room. With an option of filing a complaint with ASCI open. But the ads never went on air since that day. They also said that we would take care of this aspect too henceforth which was relieving.
I am quite thankful to Katyayani to point this news out, and Rakesh to initiate the whole process of meeting with the ASCI. Special acknowledgements to Mr Guilbert Pariera Secretary with ASCI who did a wonderful job of a fair mediation. And definitely HLL and O&M has set up a good precedent by not pretending sleep and following my favorite words of Mahatma...
“A devotee of truth may not do anything in deference to convention. He must always hold himself open to correction, and whenever he discovers himself to be wrong he must confess it all costs and atone for it.”
I very Humbly Thank YOU, Ponds (HLL) and O&M,
My Googly Woogly Woosh to HLL, O&M and ASCI,
Thank You God for giving us this strength,
Happy New Year to all of you.