Dowry system is a great evil that afflicts India. Even after seventy three years of independence and freedom, the evil and menace of dowry system prevails and the parents of a bride are forced to give money, jewellery, costly articles etc in dowry to the bridegroom and his family. It has become very difficult to find a suitable match for a girl without payment of huge dowry. The parents of well educated and highly placed boys demand large amount of dowry both in cash and in kind. Brides are burned alive, tortured, harassed and abused to bring more and more money. In many cases a girl commits suicide to escape this devil of dowry.
Dowry is a crime against women and humanity and severe punishment should be meted out to all those who indulge in it. It is an extreme example of greed, selfishness, degeneration and social sin. It is an old, dead, useless and rotten system that should be done away with in one go. It reduces the status of women and girls to that of commodities which can be easily bought and sold. It is a great curse especially for poor parents. They have to borrow, beg or indulge in corrupt practices to have huge amount of money to arrange dowry for their daughters. That is why people feel sad, unhappy, miserable and unfortunate at the birth of a baby girl. That is why many baby girls are killed before or soon after their birth.
Such a social evil on such a vast scale is to be found nowhere else. It is a matter of great national shame and social decadence in this age. This immoral and vile custom has turned us all into an object of ridicule in the eyes of all other civilised nations of the world. People use double speak and double standards. They often condemn dowry in public in no uncertain terms but in practice and private life they demand dowry, arrange marriages purely on the basis of dowry. In ancient days it might have been relevant to some extent as the girls did not inherit property or were confined to the hearth and home. Therefore, to compensate this loss, a girl was given several gifts in cash and kinds by her parents, relatives and well wishers in dowry. These gifts ensured a sort of security to the newly married girls. New women have equal rights. Now giving and receiving dowry has no relevance, no meaning and sense.
Now, it is a cognizable offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act under which if any person who gives or takes dowry is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both. Now, apart from the parents and relatives of the bride, the police and the registered social organisations can also lodge a complaint against the party demanding dowry. Moreover, there is no time limit for lodging such complaints. But laws are not enough. They are being violated blatantly and with impunity. There are over seventeen dowry deaths every day in the country and yet very few offenders are caught and punished. Besides these legislative measures, we need other meaningful and effective social measures. All out efforts need to be made to generate an effective public opinion against the evil. More and more heads of panchayats, priests, social groups, women organisations, leaders, elders etc should be involved in the agitation against dowry. The movement should be taken to villages and far flung areas of the country. Social boycott of those indulging in the evil custom can work as an effective deterrent. Group and mass marriages can also be a very useful in this respect. More and more girls should be made to enter schools. They should be trained to stand on their feet. They should be made aware of their social, family and conjugal rights and privileges. They should never feel weak, helpless, inferior or incapable. They should revolt and expose such antisocial elements who demand dowry. They should refuse to marry when dowry is demanded or given. They should wage a relentless war against all sorts of discriminations and unjust male domination.
Three new deaths in a row in Kerala; all three tortured for dowry. Link below:-