Dowry A Social Stigma!

Dowry is one of the social evils which has become a barrier to lead a normal life for women. The average growth rate of dowry related violence in society is equal to that was during the time of Liberation War in our country. Dowry system has become a social norm and it is a great problem for society and also for women. The evil is always evil. The dowry system is the evil which killed and crippled many helpless women and also many women committed suicide.

The dowry system is the oldest social malady in Indian sub-continent. Now, dowry has become a serious disorder in society which is being deeply ingrained in the blood of people. Many people consider giving dowry as a symbol of social status and recognition for themselves. This fanaticism turns into an anathema for their sisters and daughters. Not only uneducated or illiterate families follow the dowry system but also educated families follow this social evil practice.

What is dowry? The answer is straightforward. The money, goods, or estate that the bride or her family pays to the groom in marriage is dowry. It considers the women as products. As the price of products is determined depending on products quality, the amounts of dowry is determined depending on the beauty of and other quality of the bride. The dowry system has destroyed morality, humanity and conscience of people.

On other hand, if the family of the bride does not pay the fix amount of money to groom family in time, the family of the groom family starts torturing physically the helpless bride. Sometimes, the dowry-greedy family tries to burn alive the ill-fated bride by pouring fuel like petroleum and sometimes they also throw acid on the bride. Due to the cruel dowry system, many women lost their lives and some became crippled for life.

Poverty plays an important role in dowry system and daughters of poor families suffer sufferer more than those of the rich families due to dowry related domestic violence. Poor families are unable to meet the demands of the family of the groom because they have no adeqaute capacity or estate. A young 27 year old PhD scholar from Delhi committed suicide because her in-laws were not happy with her continuing studies.

Parents of a flight attendant Anissa Batra from Delhi who jumped off her terrace, said that she was tortured emotionally for dowry. India has an alarming trend that sees 20 women die every day as a result of harassment over dowry, either murdered or compelled to commit suicide. In first two weeks of this year, Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, reported 17 cases of abuse and death of women for dowry. In one of the cases reported in Bangalore in January 2020, a few weeks after marriage, a husband demanded cash despite receiving 1 Kg gold in dowry.

When the extra demand was denied, he burnt his wife. In some cases, to escape the punishment by law, the husband and his family do not kill the woman directly but harass her mentally and physically forcing her to commit suicide. A similar case was reported in Kerala last year when a 27 years old woman was starved to death by her in-laws because their demand of Rs two lakh as dowry was not met. National Crime Bureau of India during 2017, recorded nearly 700 dowry linked deaths.

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 , though 2017, 2018 and 2019 saw an average of more than two cases a day. Social awareness is very important for tackling dowry related violence.

The government and NGOs or Social Organisations should arrange various programmes to make people aware about the bad effects of dowry system in urban and rural areas. Creating social awareness is mostly needed for reducing dowry related violence in society.

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