N D Tiwari’s Right to Reputation, in a Patriarchy losing its power to ‘silence with shame’.

Why is bastard a dirty word?

Because it implies that the mother had sex with a man she was not married to.

Discussions in some comments sections on the internet indicate that some Indians think one way to insult men is to tell them they fathered them.

How is having fathered someone an insult to that person?

Because it implies that the one intending to insult had sex with the mother of the person they are insulting.

Difficult to understand?

Some people see sex or relationships with female-relatives-of-men (mothers, sisters, wives, daughters) as means to insult men.

(Doesn’t it make a man with female relatives easier to insult? And are such men able to have healthy relationships with women in their lives?)

But what happens when the child a man has fathered refuses to see shame in being born to a woman who was not married to that father?

That’s N D Tiwari’s story.

Rohit Shekhar refused to be ashamed of something he had no reason to be ashamed of. And I am glad to predict that we will see more such stories in future.

Rohit Shekhar fought a long court battle (time line) to prove that N D Tiwari was his biological father. He also made it clear that he wasn’t desperate to be a ‘legitimate’ child or to add the biological father’s name to his name.

He says,

‘You Are My Illegitimate Father’

I am probably the first person in the world to fight to be proven a bastard. People seek to be recognised as legitimate heirs. People seek dignity. But I want the world to know that I am the illegitimate son of Mr ND Tiwari.

Justice JS Ravindra Bhat wrote, ‘The court is of opinion that “legitimacy” and “paternity” are both valid interests of the child that may be accorded recognition under Indian law without prejudice to each other. While “legitimacy” may be established by a legal presumption, “paternity”has to be established by science and other reliable evidence.’

What will become of feudalism and patriarchy without it’s power to ‘silence with shame’?

“Shekhar said he would also pursue a case filed before the Supreme Court seeking that words like ‘concubine’, ‘bastard’ and ‘illegitimate’ be struck off from the law books. “In a century where we have legalized live-in relationships there is no room for such words in our law and they should be removed,” Shekhar told TOI …”  [link]

Here are three interviews (in Hindi) which give a detailed picture of this case.

Video 1
Interview with Rohit Shekhar: He says he was not fighting for his father’s name, he was fighting for his right. (the news channel seems to insist that Raj Shekhar was desperate to add his biological father’s name to his name)

Video 2

Interview: Ujwala Sharma

Video 3

Interview: Rohit Shekhar’s grandmother
According to this interview, Rohit Shekhar mother was living with his grandmother (nani). N D Tiwari ‘chased’ her, sent her notes and told her he was childless and would adopt the child born out of their relationship.

This case also reminded me of Imran Khan’s daughter Tyrian.

I think, first contraception, and now DNA testing and paternity suits are going to change the way women (and men) have sex. Technology seems to be making us more civilized.


13 thoughts on “N D Tiwari’s Right to Reputation, in a Patriarchy losing its power to ‘silence with shame’.

  1. Feel really good after reading this. Amen to your prediction. Wishing Rohit Shekar’s endevours all the very best. It feels really good to see someone fight for a cause. The future feels brighter,


  2. This is great. Words like Bastard, concubine etc. indeed have no place on the law books. The law should not care a person’s parents are married or not. There’s no such thing as “legitimate children”…there are only children.


  3. I have always interpreted the word “bastard” as something which shamed the kid because he/she wasn’t born in the confines of marriage. So that people (women?) would think twice about giving birth when not married. By associating social stigma, they wanted to make sure that the institution of marriage remained.
    That is how I interpret it, atleast.


  4. I have never ever understood our society’s calling children ‘illegitimate’ and penalizing them for being born out of wedlock. Really, was it in their hands in the first place? In the second, so what? I agree with Bhagwad. There are only ‘children’!


    • Seconded! I always felt so even when I was very small. I have a friend who z adopted and other children used insult (calling her bastard & the likes) her during games, which made me fly at them and fight… but she used to say, ‘so what… I am a bastard’.
      Then even I started using abusive words… mainly to gropers… Yea I call those horrible ppl MFs, Bastard etc etc… without even registering the full extent of those words…
      Strange double standards!


  5. A woman is the family’s honor. Her character is of utmost importance when it comes to family’s reputation. That is the reason a girl is subjected to so many restrictions. Some erring on her part brings the family total shame and disgust. She is always an object that needs to be protected, not an adult who can make her own decisions.
    If you want to attack anybody, attack their woman first. That is what epics, wars, and even Bollywood movies tell us.

    Even on roads, any sexual remark on a woman is supposed to bring her utter shame. That is what I don’t understand. Out of all emotions, why shame??


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