Mumbai-based women-rights activist Harish Sadani is an inspiration for many. From being unaffected by neighbours who taunted him for helping out his aunts with domestic chores to deconstructing the myths that hold India’s patriarchal society together, Harish has been there and done that. He currently runs an organisation called Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), a one-of-a-kind organisation of feminist Indian men.
Since its inception in 1993, MAVA, led by its 20 volunteers, has worked with men of all ages and economic classes, counseling them against patriarchy, and explaining how such societal structures not only deny women of their rights but also burden men with an unhealthy pressure to succeed, accomplish, and not show any signs of weakness. In an interview with livemint.com, Harish said, “You have to dispel the notion that feminism targets men. You have to convince men that they will also gain from gender equality.”
Since 1996, MAVA has also been publishing Purushspandana, a Marathi magazine for men. “Maharashtra has a culture of bringing out special magazines during Diwali. These Diwali ank (issues) are very popular. We thought why not bring out a magazine for men during Diwali. Each year, we choose a theme — caste, class, religion, etc. to explore deeply. Masculinity is not a unitary construct but is shaped by different factors which have an effect on relationships,” Harish told The Hindu.
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