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For better or purse?

In a commendable decision, the Delhi High Court has stated that people who give dowry should be prosecuted if they go ahead with the marriage despite recieving demands for the same (as reported in The Indian Express). I think this is a path-breaking judgement. No matter how much people brush it under the carpet, dowry in India is as real as cow dung on the roads (and whole cows as well) - you may look the other way, but it doesn't disappear - and it is as shameful.

I really do not understand the logic behind the custom of dowry. Is the man doing a favour to the women by marrying her? Has he been wronged that he is 'compensated' for it through money and other articles of no small value? Shameful...to say the least. And worse, even educated people see nothing wrong with it. Brides happily sell themselves for a bike, car, flat or furniture and grooms happily buy them.

For the sake of argument, I can understand the two families exchanging gifts or the bride taking stuff for her own use, but what's the point in giving a vehicle or house or furniture? If the guy can't afford it, why marry your daughter to him in the first place?

As a result of girls' parents quietly putting up with this, the in-laws have started seeing brides as cash cows, not women. They say education is important for the development of women in this country. But I think destroying the dowry culture is the real key to their uplift. After all, how has education prevented women from giving dowry? It is, after all, the custom of dowry which make girls appear to be a 'liability' to their parents. How would you feel if you planted a tree and had to pay to give the fruits of your labour to someone else? That's the way it is here.

Further, people are not happy just spending their often illegally-acquired money on dowry, they have to spend a visible fortune on the wedding ceremonies. They have to show that they have a lot of money to throw around on importing flowers from Poland, cooks from Paris, fireworks from US or stars from Bollywood. That just makes it worse for others who can't afford it. Why, I ask? What are they trying to prove? It's just a marriage, for God's sake! It's just another occasion to celebrate, and life moves on.

Unfortunately, despite the government ban, Indians continue to revel in this pitiful custom. I don't know when and how this degradation will end, but I hope that the generations to come succeed in eventually making dowry a thing of the past.
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5 comments

Adonis said...

While going through these blogs, I noticed that, whichever topic’s been taken, is expressed very beautifully. Its not just the result of tapping of fingers on the keypad but, the tapping of Phidias’s Chisel on the statue of Zeus, Praxiteles’s on Venus & Bernini’s on Apollo-n-Daphne; the Brush strokes of, Parrhasius’s on Thesius, Zeuxis’s on Helen & Michelangeo’s on Temptation-n-Fall-of-Adam

I hope this work on the net will soon be noticed by art lovers and the writer will soon share her fame with Homer and Shakespeare. Amen!

Adonis said...

You cannot completely stop this system. You can only limit it. Its not only snob that, causes it but there are many more reasons for it. And, the same holds true for all the ceremonies in families, rituals in religions. Home-sapien has a tendency of showing more than what he possesses. This tendency is natural like many more tendencies that are natural but harmful for the society (e.g. Shahrukh’s tendencies).

In my opinion there are many reasons for which people give dowry, like girl’s parents want their newly wedded bride to enjoy her married life by freeing her from worrying about household articles, some give dowry for security, some for expression of love through gifts, and there are lot more reasons, which can keep dowry system in practice.

These above reasons are okay as long as they do not go beyond a certain limit. But as you know that, the whole world cannot be free from diseases -- being in the state of show-off is also a form of disease which is not physical but psychological. This is so dangerous that, it can force the whole society to follow the second law of thermodynamics (when one society having X level of disorder is merged with the other society having Y disorder, the total disorder is greater the sum of X and Y).

Society cannot change spontaneously, there is a great need of education and great need of the New World Order!!

Dowry is not practiced in US, you can find the reason on their Dollar Bill. (Don’t mistake me for a freemeson)

Adonis said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention the solution.

The solution is,

Allocation of higher funds for mental health from the government.

Amodini said...

Tarana,
Dowry exists and will exist until the social status of women improves. A woman's worth is judged by her marital status. A single woman is considered up for grabs. In Indian society a woman must be attached to a man (preferably her husband) to have her say, to be "respectable". Until it is considered OK for women to want to be single, to not want to be mothers, or to live life on their own terms (whatever those are), they will be pushed into marriage (as the "only" respectable way) and subject to "dowry".

You write : "If the guy can't afford it, why marry your daughter to him in the first place?"
Even for the sake of argument, that's skewed reasoning - if you don't want your daughter's worth measured in terms of money (dowry), why judge a man based on his material possessions ?

atifdear2001 said...

unless girls stand up against this and say no to any such thing, it will not stop.after all boys need girls for marriage.education and standing on her feet is another thing that will go in long way to stop.
i have been discussing in various forums and telling the girls to flatly say no to any such proposal.if a boy does not have the guts and needs her money for his comfort, it's better to be stay away from him.any girl will be far happier alone than be with this kind of man.

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