Top 10 Ways in which Dowry Still Exists in India
“Her youthful pliancy and beauty is duly gifted to her husband. The quintessence of fortitude, that she is, is expected to serve him with unswerving devotion and fidelity. This impeccable wife is made to prostate her self-respect and identity before male chauvinism. She left her abode, her aspirations and her dreams, to join the life and family of her new companion. She isn’t rewarded, instead she is detested, she is made victim of the malady called ‘dowry’ for not bringing a comely amount of money to her new relatives.”
Marriages are made in heaven, they say. Weddings in India, on the other hand, ain’t considered auspicious enough unless a colossal amount of jewels come along with the bride, an ostentatious amount is spent on the wedding halls and one cannot imagine a marriage without car as a gift, sorry, the stars won’t allow! All the tall claims of parity of women stand falsified, as she’s still being treated as an encumbrance which must be compensated for sizeable amount of money. As long as this evil isn’t completely rooted off, the birth of a girl child would continued to be seen as unfortunate and the society would treat her as an inferior being. ‘Anti-dowry act’ came into effect in 1961 after incidents of domestic violence and a series of gruesome dowry deaths. Any form of dowry demand, by either of the family getting married is punishable by law. It might no more be asked for openly now, but the iniquity continues to plague the Indian society even today in its veiled forms. Read on to find out how:
10. Shagun or ‘sagan’ ceremony
Wedding families exchange gifts, dresses, diamond gold and hefty amount of cash as shagun, in a lavish ceremony. Started as a token of acceptance of the new relation, this was a way to start a wave of mingling in the bride and groom families. Supposed to be a friendly gesture, Shagun has turned into a way of showing off one’s wealth to society. The holy institution of marriage has become more of a trade market with every to-be-married coming with a price tag. An MBBS is worth Rs. 10 lakh, an MD/MS is Rs. 20 lakh, and a B.E/M.E and the like Rs. 5-10 lakhs. Where is the society heading to?
9. Working/IT professional required
The newspaper matrimonial sections are a true reflection of the way the society has started perceiving the prospective brides and grooms. A wife is expected to bring some wealth from her maternal home while also being able to feed her paternal side with her salary. She’s allowed to work post-marriage only if she agrees to spend her future earnings on her husband’s family even if she happens to be the sole breadwinner of her own. What do we call it – dowry in its mean and modern form?
8. Car needed as a parting gift
As a rule of thumb in almost every Indian marriage, a fancy car is absolutely necessary as a parting gift to the groom’s family. The heavily decorated vehicle is ironically parked in the wedding lawn itself for every guest to see. The brand new fancy ‘cars’ are the new ‘dolis’ for the Indian bahus. The family might not be able to afford one itself, but spending lakhs on one as a gift is just expected as a norm.
7. Wedding gifts for relatives required
Along with the pomp and show involved on the great wedding day, the family is supposed to get wedding gifts for every in-law who attends the ceremony. Chachis and bhabhis flaunting their recently acquired gold rings to their neighbor’s envy at the expense of the girl’s parents. Expensive sarees, silver dishes, diamond studded rings and necklaces, what else is it if not dowry?
6. Wealthy family girls required
As soon as the boy reaches 25, families begin hunting a suitable match for their most-eligible-bachelor son in wealthy aristocratic families with single daughter. Richer the family is more is the wealth they tend to spend on their dear daughters. Education and values are a second considerations, the former being the status of the family. This narrow-mindedness has driven to several girls from poor strata of society to suicidal attempts in absence of a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, dowry has become an essential prerequisite of a marriage. No dowry, no marriage, is a fear in India.
5. Share in property
A girl’s family in India starts saving for their daughter’s marriage right from the day she’s born. The responsibility of buying a home with assets is expected to lie with her parents. What you would do for your girl, they question. Looks like providing good values and education are not enough. Parents of the mighty groom ask for the boy’s share in property and money to get them settled after marriage. Why don’t the boy’s parent to start saving the day he’s born as well?
4. Are you a green card holder?
Dowry can be a lavish gift or an outrageous demand from either of the family. A new trait parents of prospective bride-grooms is the NRI status or if the person holds a green card. While it’s sensible to look for a partner who is well settled, demanding one with the green card seems like you are trading for a product instead of looking for a suitable match. A marriage is a holy bonding of two souls and in India they are majorly arranged by parents. Going materialistic while deciding the future of your child, might end up spoiling their entire lives.
3. Grand wedding halls
An ostentatious wedding hall, a grand feast for over 5000 relatives, is it spending of half a crore for a marriage ceremony to celebrate the union of two people or for showing off one’s child’s worth in the wedding market? The Indian parents need to realize that it is not money or jewels that would bring the couple a happy married life, instead true blessings from heart would rather do.
2. All that glitters
Point of dowry was to provide for the bride should something bad happens to the groom. Shaped today as a massive exchange of gifts and lavish ceremonies, dowry has become more of a curse for a girl’s father. The timid dame dressed in expensive attires and immense jewels is said to be eligible for marriage for her bank balance rather than for the person she is. Greater the dowry, the more the eligibility is. The bride does not need a Rs. 25,000-saree which she will wear only once in her lifetime, the weighty gold chains which she will put in the locker as soon as the marriage celebrations are over. The other side of the coin is that if a groom does not ask for any sort of money spending, the bride’s family suspect that something is wrong with him.
1. Travel tickets to wedding venue
With the advent of exotic location weddings, the bride’s family is automatically expected to be responsible for paying the to-and-fro charges for the guests and family. Why does a girl’s parent need to pay to get her married? A woman is killed over dowry ‘every hour’ in India. Aren’t every one of us who gives or receives dowry equally responsible for this? The change must begin from within us.
“Any young man who makes dowry a condition of marriage discredits his education and his country and dishonors womanhood”. ~Mahatma Gandhi