We the Siffers

The origins of Save Indian Family (SIF) movement can be traced back to the year 2000, with a few men writing about the injustice they were facing due to the misuse of anti-dowry laws (like IPC Section 498A and Dowry Prohibition Act) by their estranged wives. Soon, many more “victims” of anti-dowry laws followed suit, writing on the internet, using pseudonyms, to create awareness about their plight. Later, like-minded individuals started a yahoo mailing group called “misusedowryact”, where members shared their experiences and knowledge, thus helping each other to deal with their individual cases, and transforming each other into “fighters”.

In the year 2003, motivated IT professionals in the group, who saw the potential of the internet, started several websites to spread awareness among the public regarding the misuse of anti-dowry laws, thus attracting many more victims towards the movement. In the same year Non-Governmental Organizations like Sangyabalya and Asha Kiran were born through the initiative of members from Bangalore.

In March 2005, the SIF yahoo group as well as the SIF blog were initiated, to serve as the collective voice of all the people who are tormented by all anti-male, anti-family laws and their misuse. This SIF yahoo mailing group grew rapidly within a span of two years, and currently has over 2000 members. It brought together victims from all corners of the world to share their woes and victories with one another. Members who were passionate about fighting injustice turned into activists. Many regional mailing groups were also started both in India and abroad.

In the last two years, we, the “Siffers”, have conducted conferences and seminars, press meets, protests, and awareness campaigns. We met with politicians and bureaucrats soliciting their attention to the blatant injustice being done to innocent men, women and children. We have been able to generate active debate in the media (newspapers and TV) regarding anti-male, anti-family legal provisions being stealthily passed under the label of “women-protection” laws.

SIF became the only Indian forum that unified individuals who were not only falsely accused of dowry-related crimes and domestic abuse but also presumed “guilty until proven innocent” by the severely conditioned legal system, media and society. SIF served as a platform for such people to vent their anguish and frustrations, obtain advice, and form bonds with fellow sufferers. It nursed the wounded spirits of victims, and revived many into unrelenting soldiers who fight against the gross violation of their human rights. SIF is the cradle that gave birth to many activists some of whom are excellent thinkers and writers. Through their writings and constant debates with netizens, “Siffers” have become a force to reckon with on the internet.

Often dismissed by the feminist driven media as a group of disgruntled men, Save Indian Family is now the largest Indian group (of men and women, including senior citizens) fighting to ensure gender equality under law, to promote family harmony and to protect Indian families from legal terrorism. The idea of starting SIF Times as an alternative media to create more awareness among the public about the issues that concern us has been informally discussed by a few activists like Gokul, Vina Raj and myself for over seven months. Finally, after the long gestation period, Niladri and Sudhir helped the idea to fully develop, patiently bore the pangs of labor, and gave the final push. Here’s to our new baby!

– Uma Challa


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