An Indian wedding traditionally brings an ensemble of ever-lasting memories where the typical Indian indulges in rich food, joyful dance, and vibrant music, but very few look inside the deep misogynist traditions behind the festivities. To point one out, the dowry system is a common custom where the groom’s side of the family demands money from the bride’s family to authorize the wedding union. The bride’s family, in turn, is forced to comply and pay up for the sake of their daughter’s marriage.
The mode of dowry could take many forms, such as under the disguise of cars, clothes, electronics, etc. Dowries are often cunningly taken in the name of gifts and the entire burden of it is always taken by the girl’s family. The dowry objectifies women as a property and demeans them to be perceived as a commodity for the groom.
Although we have come a long way since independence, and the very concept of dowry has been illegalized in the Indian law since 1961 and albeit there are some well-educated families who avoid it at all cost, unfortunately, this tradition still prevails especially in the rural areas. According to research, around 95% of marriages involve dowry in India. This is an indicator that our country still has so much more awareness to achieve. We could not go on the same track and consider ourselves developed in the future.
There are various negative effects of this system too, this includes:
In some households, the in-laws and the husband who still think that they haven’t received the right amount of dowry abuse the bride and force the parents to give extra commodities to satisfy their image in the society. Sometimes it’s an achievement to get a grand amount of money from the other side. In some cruel instances, they together threaten or even murder the bride for not getting the money. It goes as far as there being so much abuse that the bride is provoked to take her own life.
The birth of a daughter, though meant to be a blessing and a joyful event, unfortunately is considered a burden to families, owing to dowry obligations. The worst effect of dowry is the creation of this mindset in some parents’ minds. To avoid the birth of a daughter in their house, they resort to killing the unborn infant by numerous illegal methods.
The increasing rate of dowries has had a negative impact on the common lives of families. If a family has both a son and a daughter, the parents initialize the growth of domestic misogyny by favouring the son, because the son comes with no expectation of additional costs or societal expectations and hence, will not be a burden. This has led to a countless number of parents neglecting their daughter’s needs in society.
WE COME TO THE QUESTION OF HOW IT CAN BE ERADICATED.
It is true that it cannot be completely abolished. Education plays a major role in abolishing this cruel system. If people are educated and knowledgeable of their rights guaranteed in the constitution of India, they can rethink the marriage of their daughters to someone who unreasonably demands a hefty amount of money just for the sake of the outdated and cruel concept of dowry. This is why it is very crucial to give women the resources to be self-independent. If a woman is also financially self-independent and knows her worth, she can strongly say no to this appalling ritual and take society towards a more progressive direction and lead to a better future for India.