Over 50 men's rights activists from various parts of Maharashtra gathered in Pune City to observe International Men's Day on November 19. They chose to honour the lives of police personnel dedicated to serving society. Activists from the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) visited all 50 Police Stations in Pune City and the Pimpri Chinchwad area in a day. The theme declared for this year's International Men's Day by SIFF was "Let’s eliminate the empathy gap."
Highlighting a concerning trend, the SIFF pointed out a significant increase in suicides among married men, rising from 68,815 in 2019 to 81,063 in 2021—an alarming surge of 12,250 cases in two years. In contrast, suicides among married women remained relatively stable at around 28,000 per year for the last 15 years. Family reasons were identified as the primary cause of suicides among married men, followed by health reasons, with almost 51% attributed to family issues.
Anil Murty, Co-Founder of SIFF said, “If men are so privileged over women, then why there is such a huge gap in suicides rates between men and women? In fact, this gap is widening fast and if this continues, then in next few years married men’s suicides will cross 100,000 per year”.
Mental health issues among men
Rajesh Vakharia, SIFF Co-founder, noted the increasing mental health issues among men due to stress during marital problems and court cases, resulting in job losses and career setbacks. Sameer Goel, SIFF Coordinator, cited the example of cricketer Mohammad Shami, highlighting the struggles he faced in his personal life and the importance of mental and moral support.
The International Men's Day celebration included a bike campaign, distribution of gender-neutral cups, and pamphlets to police personnel to raise awareness about the lack of gender-neutral provisions in Indian laws. The cups aimed to inform unmarried men about laws before marriage. The Maharashtra MRA Team intended to spread awareness and celebrate the occasion with a bike campaign and an evening event during the World Cup Final Match.
The Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) is a pan-India men's rights NGO founded in 2005, advocating for reforms in dowry laws, section 498a, false rape cases, marital rape laws, alimony, child custody laws, and judicial and police reforms.
SIFF's demands include equal treatment by courts for both genders, maintenance and alimony based on the duration of marriage, the appointment of visiting psychologists and psychiatrists in every court, a special commission on rising suicides in India, inclusion of family-related suicides in political party manifestos, and a constitutional amendment to prevent gender-based discrimination.