Dowry is a practice that requires the bride’s family to transfer durable goods, cash, and real or movable property to the bridegroom’s family in consideration of the marriage. This contentious issue that has persisted for centuries in Indian culture has an inextricable nexus with marriage.
In early days, dowry served as a grant of assistance for the newly married couple to embark upon the new journey of life with security. Pertaining to the modest economic stature of Indian families, dowry used to be a humble contribution from bride’s family with a solemn desire that their daughter must have all essential means to settle in her new home with husband. But today when educated families have amassed decent amount of wealth, spent loads on their children’s education and a hefty sum of money to throw a lavish wedding; continuing the practice of dowry is a sheer act of foolishness. Materialism has engulfed educated, self-sufficient rather rich, wealthy families to delude themselves into thinking that ‘dowry’ is another ‘protocol’ in marriage ceremonies for families to keep up their appearances.
When the social and cultural interests of entities; apart from the couple, attains consummation on the day of their marriage, its excitement depreciates from then onwards. The uneventful days after a brief period of time give rise to presumable expectations from each other to keep up the excitement index, whose pressure falls on the bride’s family. The situation becomes unpleasant when the bride’s financial gradient doesn’t equate with the groom’s family. Moreover, often as part of this mutual ‘give-and-take’, attempts are made by the groom’s family to dictate the quantum of each gift along with specific demands for dowry. In such circumstances, there is an element of exerting coercion on the bride’s family and this is what has come to be recognized as the menace of dowry in today’s times.
Dowry is considered a major contributor towards observed violence against women in India. These offences include physical violence, emotional abuses, and even murder of brides.
The predominant types of dowry crimes relate to harassment, domestic violence, abetment to suicide and death. Married women become vulnerable to dowry related violence because they’re tied economically and socially to the new husband; and emotionally to the child. The woman maintains composure despite her sufferings that cause her insidious anguish. It’s time that we pledge to end this practice for the sake of posterity to thrive in a better society built by us.