DOWRY: INEVITABLE IN INDIA?

In a PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY such as ours that accords sub-ordinate status to women, the position of a GIRLCHILD is indeed VULNERABLE. In case of FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY, it is the GIRLCHILD whose education is sacrificed in order to manage the household and take care of the younger children at home. This has led to a situation where the GIRLCHILD is treated as a guest in her own home. The DOWRY SYSTEM deeply rooted in the CULTURE and CUSTOMS of most COMMUNITIES in INDIA is a cause of harrasment for most women.

DOWRY means “transfering WEALTH in any form from the BRIDE’S family to the GROOM’S! The DOWRY means the demand made by the bridegroom’s family from the bride’s parents for the payment of money as well as other costly gifts in the shape of land, house, clothes, and jewels, a condition precedent to the alliance. It is a way to showcase love and care and help the newly wedded couple start their journey without any difficulty. But with time, it has found different meanings, and as a result, young girls around the nation suffer from various crimes and domestic violence.

It is basically a HINDU INSTITUTION, which is now spreading to other communities. DOWRY, in fact, is not a recent development. History is full of examples where daughters have been, married off with immense wealth given away to them in the wedding. Gifts, presents, and things given to the daughter in marriage is nothing bad at all. It is more of a token of their LOVE and HAPPINESS. But, when the parents of the groom make demands in order to fulfill their desires at the expense of the bride’s family, it becomes not only a legal offence but a moral and ethical one too. When people try to extract the expenses made by them on their son’s upbringing and EDUCATION from the bride’s family, it takes the SHAPE OF DOWRY. DOWRY, thus, smears the sacred relationship of marriage and converts it into a base, mean, and cheap, financial deal!

The Dowry system has been in our country since ever, and even after the legal intervention, it is getting harder to eradicate it for so long. The simple process of transfer of poverty has become a deep-rooted problem for our society. And many tough girls and their families have to go through hardship every time in our country. Dowry is a punishable crime in our nation. To protect young girls from various dowry-related injustice, reports against dowry are given priority. But most crimes are never reported, the domestic violence is at an increasing rate. The lack of proper education and awareness is a major reason for these increasing crimes. Many young girls are even pushed to the face of death for dowry.

The dowry system brings a dark cloud above the heads of the bride’s family. Fathers of young girls fear the day of their daughter’s marriage and save money for that particular day. In the northern part of India, the dowry system is quite more prevalent, along with casteism. Dowry is nothing but a nightmare for women. Every woman goes through the ugly phase, where she is made to feel like she is a liability. The country is continuously fighting against the dowry system. Various NGOs have come forward and raised the issue by spreading awareness among the population. The beautiful gesture of providing a helping hand towards the newly wedded has taken an ugly turn. Dowry is a punishable crime, and anyone who is, by any means, tries to support or even hide the truth will have to face legal consequences. Both the parties, the giver and taker, of dowry will be punished under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

DESPITE many acts and provisions taken in favour of WOMEN, from PROTECTION against DOWRY, There have been still many active cases of DOWRY:. Bengaluru may be on the international map as an IT hub. But the city saw a rise in the number of dowry cases annually. In the first 16 days of the current year, 17 dowry cases were filed across police stations in the city. The number of cases filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act witnessed a rise from 690 in 2018 to 739 in 2019. The number had stood at 727 in 2017. The number of dowry deaths saw a jump from 48 in 2018 to 52 in 2019, with none reported so far in 2020. Though 2017, 2018 and 2019 saw an average of more than two cases a day, this year’s average for the first 16 days has been a tad above one case per day. Police point out that the nature of cases has become more disturbing and serious, often involving attacks on women who are victimised by the socio-economic menace.

Hence, it will be difficult to say that DOWRY IS ERADICATED FROM INDIA. Being a DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY, where we are developed so far, WOMEN in INDIA still faces the Problem of DEVELOPMENT. We put their dignity everytime at stake, whenever, wherever someone asks them for DOWRY, and successfully, the girl’s parents fulfill it. It’s high time that the SOCIETY should realise the DIGNITY of a WOMAN, the SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE, and UNITE to fight against the EVIL custom of DOWRY!