Dowry Continues To Remain A Menace In Indian Society

Despite the fact that dowry has been banned in India since 1961, a research found that it is still being given on a regular basis, with over 95% of weddings including the exchange of money.

Dowry is correctly represented as a societal evil since it is the practise of paying and accepting articles of worth (such as clothes, jewellery, furniture, cash, and other items) between two households. Typically, the bride’s family is obligated to pay these items to the groom’s family.

The World Bank carried out the study, which examined almost 40,000 marriages that occurred between 1960 and 2008 in 17 Indian states that account for 96% of the nation’s population.

Researchers calculated “net dowry” to study the difference as to what was paid by the bride’s family to the groom’s family and vice versa, and the results revealed that, in the vast majority of instances, it was the bride’s family who paid more compared to the groom’s family, rather than the other way around.

According to the estimated amount confessed by families, a groom’s family spends Rs. 5,000 on presents to the bride’s family on average. The bride’s family, on the other hand, pays about Rs. 32,000 on presents and other monetary contributions to the groom’s family, taking the net dowry to roughly Rs. 27,000.

It has also been noticed that the dowry value is typically 14 percent of the annual income and includes a significant portion of the family’s savings.

While much has started to change since 2008, experts think the tendency of dowry is still highly prominent in India, since the notion is quite widespread in all major religious groups, with Christians and Sikhs exhibiting a “dramatic increase in dowry.”

Dowry inflation was seen in certain states, including Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, and Gujarat, with Kerala having the highest average dowry in recent years. On the other side, average dowry decreased in states such as Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.

This venom affects people of all castes and socioeconomic classes. Neither the husband’s nor the wife’s educational background protects them from dowry harassment. Currently, dowry-related fatalities in Kerala have been documented, with the majority of victims coming from the upper strata of society. The culprits come from well-educated and wealthy families, and the victims are also well-educated. If this is the situation of women in a culture that was matriarchal a few decades earlier and claims of high social indicators in women empowerment, it’s anybody’s imagination how it will be in many Indian states that have numerous social indicators that are much worse than those of war-torn Syria or Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the NCRB study, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar top the list of dowry-related deaths, accounting for roughly 30 percent.

It is time to reform these retrograde societal standards in 2021. Receiving dowry should be considered a societal shame, and all generations should be taught. Young people should also make a stand. Women should explicitly refuse to pay dowry as part of a marriage , and men should also refuse to accept it in any way. Why should brides’ parents be obliged to give pricey “gifts” that are essentially a dowry by another name? 

The wider background for dowry is women’s low labor-force participation and, as a result, their lack of financial independence. Women should be encouraged to work and earn their own money.

Discrimination is present in all parts of life. To combat gender inequality, States should examine gender-disaggregated statistics across the life cycle — birth, early childhood, schooling, nourishment, employment, healthcare access, and so on. Teachers and textbooks shape students’ views and values. Children should be routinely educated on the fundamental ideal of gender equality.