Deepika Bhardwaj : Crusader for Gender Equality

There were days when I used to call myself Feminist because, just like everyone, I’ve had witnessed instances where women were subjected with utmost humiliation, devoid of basic fundamental rights to education, freedom. I read many articles, seen documentaries and testimonies of rape, dowry victims on either net or new channels on how badly they’ve suffered in the name of culture & how patriarchal mindset has been at a disgusting low.

This notion got fueled overnight by the fateful Delhi gang-rape in December 2012 that had not only shook the entire nation but also created hysteria and paint the entire country’s image as ‘rape country’, and New Delhi as ‘Rape Capital’. The media went berserk post 16th December and men of India were suddenly seen as potential rapists and the source of all problem, yet I overlooked it and thought it must be true, I was ashamed of the fact that entire Indian male population was let down by the rotten pervert minds.

However one incident where one of distant cousin was falsely accused of dowry changed my perception forever. I personally witnessed an evil side of woman never thought I would ever come across. When I researched a bit more into this with the help of his lawyer, I came to know 90% of such cases are false with 10% genuine; and that 90% is more because most wives try to settle scores with her husbands and his parents (even includes relatives and their toddlers)  From thereon, I realize not all men are perpetrators of crimes and not all women are victims and it was shattering.

Let me take a clear stand, I believe not all women are law misusers and male bashers but there are unscrupulous individuals who needs to be deterred. A year later, Rohtak sister‘s hogged the limelight – when a video of them thrashing their alleged molesters in a moving Haryana bus surfaced- and became the ‘champion of women empowerment’. While many were going gaga over this bravery, there was a woman who had an eye for detail and didn’t let the ‘celebration’ defeat her purpose.


Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj

This woman named Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, based in Gurgaon, released two shocking and eye-opening YouTube videos that revealed Rohtak Sisters had an argument with the guys over a seat. According to the witnesses, boys didn’t even once got violent, on the contrary it was the sisters who end up thrashing them for no concrete reason.

With more deep research, truth was exposed: Rohtak sisters were actually infamous for extorting money from men in the name of sexual harassment, using blackmail as a tool – and had recorded statements of eye-witness and disclosed the notoriety of the sisters.

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is a software engineer turned journalist and documentary filmmaker who decided to take a stand for innocent men legally terrorized by Section 498A (Dowry Act) and Section 354 (Sexual harassment Act) of Indian Penal Code. (Currently filming ‘martyrs of marriage’)

Many would be wondering what compelled her to choose a path route less traveled in the time when ‘feminism’ is blooming? She was forced to act because she had witnessed her one of her friend and cousin suffer in the past, who were given two choices by his wife : Either divorce with hefty sum of amount or be accused of dowry and see their family behind bar while the lady in question would enjoy having an extra-marital affair. These events were enough to help her take a step and fight for men.

“After my cousin’s case, suddenly I saw it happening everywhere. Or perhaps what I had ignored for years was now staring me in the face. I started researching dowry cases and realized that what the media had told me wasn’t the only truth. The deeper I went, the uglier the reality was behind these cases. The other side of 498A left me utterly confused as a woman: How can I use a law when I am wrong? How can it allow me to play with anyone’s life? How can it be used as a weapon? How can “she” always be right and he “always” be wrong? How can it allow a woman to get away with so many lies? One night I stumbled upon a suicide video of Syed Ahmed Makhdoom, in which he described false 498A and his ordeal as the reason behind his death. It changed my life.”

– Deepika Bhardwaj

I have been following her account in Facebook (Now, part of her friend’s list) & Twitter, regularly been updated with posts about cases in print media that never make it to news channels regarding Misuse of Section 498A (Non-TRP content?). She isn’t popular amongst women right activists as her definition of gender equality is far different than theirs. Deepika is more often abused, character-assaulted and mocked for being a voice for men-in-distress but these harsh criticism never deterred her, in fact has only emboldened her spirit and keeps fighting against wrong.

She may be perceived as Men Right Activist (MRA), but in true sense, she is a social activists, an average human being, like us, capable enough to see rather both sides of the coins before jumping on conclusions of one-sided judgments.

She believes everyone deserves the equal right to opportunity and equal right to justice. I had once personally emailed as a gratitude for standing against innocent men and she did reply me much to my happiness and have treasured it.

Deepika has seen cases where broken marriages turn into dowry cases, failed affair turns into rape cases, street fight turn into molestation just because a verbal complaint by a woman in any of these above-mentioned cases are enough for men to get arrested. Men are turning victims of systematic abuse of law, their innocence have no value anymore. The gender biased law of Section 498A and Section 354 has only strengthen some women to do what they feel because they wouldn’t be questioned.

She cannot let atrocities meted out at men in the name of justice of women in India. Having seen the trend of genuine feminism movement turning farce, She understands that the battle she has chosen is not easy, will make her face worst of the worst opponents, yet she is ready to tackle it and How? with dignity

Unlike what others might say about her, Deepika is not a misogynist. She just wants the perpetrator to be brought to justice not on the basis of ‘gender’ but keeping in the mind the gravity of crime committed and seeing both sides of the coin. She wants law to be gender neutral where not only women but men gets the right to be served justice.

In my eye, this is what Gender Equality is.


Many feminist boils everything down to ‘Patriarchy’, what they fail to realize is patriarchy has been a harmful paradigm not only for women but also for men. Things would remain the same even if the society is ruled by matriarchy. Like Human right activist Kamla Bhasin once said ‘Equality is the only solution for progressive and stable civil society‘.

I recall my healing teacher telling me once that why do men have to always apologize for small things like ‘not able to call, meet up or spend time‘. I responded saying, maybe because they do it out of love, to which she said,

‘We know they love us, but they often forget that we understand them too, it’s okay if they don’t call us or meet up all the time. In the end, they have their life to focus on as well. These girlfriends have really made some weird rules ha’

I am certain that feminist movement have’d made a good impact in the past, enabling many women and girls to conquer cultural, societal, educational restrictions, unfortunately it all seem to fizzle now thanks to radicalization associated with it.

Men and Women are differently equal and are made to complement each other, not to compete or complete each other. If there is mutual trust, compassion, admiration, love and equality between two human beings; there wouldn’t have been any need of women, men or for that matter LGBTQ rights crusaders to begin with.

You can follow Deepika Bhardwaj on Facebook, Twitter.

{Deepika’s documentary film “Martyrs of Marriage” (that documents Misuse of Section 498A Dowry law) is currently being screened in various cities and will soon reach Mumbai in the month of December. The film is receiving rave reviews and applauded for exposing the other side of the crime against women.}


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