This essay on Dowry System is sub-divided into the following parts: introduction, status of women, dowry laws, main culprit of dowry system and solutions.
Dowry refers to the valuables, money and other assets brought by the bride to her husband’s home on their marriage.
Dowry system refers to the customal or cultural practice that involves giving away of a large sum of cash, property and other valuables at the time of marriage by the parents of the bride to the family of the groom.
“Gods reside there where women are worshiped”. Though we know from one ancient culture and quote the above quotation, but things are quote different in our society.
Dowry system is among the major social issues in India. The legislative measures against the system are in place. However, all these efforts have failed to effectively eradicate the social evil.
Women in India are great victims of dowry system in our society, the male-dominated society. Dowry is illegal only on paper, in judiciary, or in legislature benches. Practically the daughter-in-law is generally treated as the goose that lays the golden egg. Once they stop laying egg, they are tortured both mentally and physically. Also those victims are driven out to leave the house or commit suicide.
Status of women in the society:
Females in India are numerically fewer than the males. In practical field the plight of women in India is pitiable now-a-days. Girls and women constitute Indian’s largest oppressed section. Indeed they are some of the staunchest upholders in a family set-up where not only women but girls are expected to bear the entire domestic drudgery, perform most of the parental duties as mother and sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their offspring.
Section 304-B of the Indian Penal code lays down that where the death of a women is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage, such death shall be ‘dowry death’, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.
It is very good that the law has been imposed to protect the victims of dowry system but in adequate practices strengthen the oppressors. As for the parents of the girl, their guilt in marrying off their girl child to a dowry-hunter and thereafter shut their eyes to the plight of their daughter in her husband’s home is not punishable in law to some extent.
But who is the main culprit and why Dowry practice is still prevailing in the Indian society?
From ancient time we are seeing that the Sita, the Savitris etc. of this country are brought up from their infancy as second rate citizens who are inferior to their brothers. Now-a-days we are also observing the same, the different status of boy and girl in a family. When a boy is playing with machinery toys, a girl is playing with house-hold utensils-toy. When the boy reads story books, plays cricket, the girl of the same parents assists her mother in house-hold works. When the boy thinks about his futures that he would be a doctor, or an engineer or a magistrate, the girl thinks that how will she is married, how will she look after her child and so on.
More than four decades have passed, but the position status of women remains in a stagnant position. It is that we had the great personalities like Raja Rammohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar who did enough for the sake of women. In present time the leaders often cry for the plight of women for their voting purpose only.
Dowry and marriage system:
It is a shame that reaching at modern age, the dowry system is still prevalent in our society. Like untouchability and caste system, dowry system is not only a mere evil but also a criminal offence.
The marriage contract today is entered into more autonomously by both men and women. The character of the marriage contract has changed even more than in outward from. The traditional marriage ceremony in civilisation was based on the principle of male dominance and female obedience. But when the wife premises to ‘obey’ where this world remains in marriage ritual, she and her husband alike are aware of the ceremony is for the most part relic of the past. Choice of mate by mate and mutual determination of the relationship that hinds them have replaced the older external and one-sided control. In our male-dominated society, women basically depend on male-domination. They have an economic dependence on the male-spouse. From here dowry-system has come.
Solution for Dowry System:
To eliminate the dowry system people have to take massive steps against this system:
Firstly, illiteracy must be eradicated from our society;
Secondly, female members of our society be treated as like male members. They are the part and parcel of our society;
Thirdly, destruction of daughter foetus in the mother womb immediately be stopped and accused must be punished;
Fourthly, the women are to be introduced in every field of work not only in the house-hold work;
Fifthly, education to be imparted equally to the female like male;
Sixthly, working opportunity is to be given the competent female candidate. If economically they are self-sufficient, the problem will be solved partly. Now-a-days unemployment problem is also a criterion to accelerate this curse;
Seventhly, law related with marriage-contract must be amended and women have to give unconditional intention to marry like male. Their intentions have to be given great importance.
Eighthly, it is to be granted by the parents that a daughter is equal to a son. She has same right as son. Moreover, the female has to be conscious about her rights, necessities and urgencies in this society. Only some reservation of seats in railways compartments and buses will not solve the problem of women. The women have to capture their rights forcefully uniting against their oppressors. Otherwise, the problems will remain in the same position as before and as present.
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Marriage is such a happy occasion that everyone looks forward to it. But it is a shame that the dowry system widely prevalent in India mars the happiness of this occasion in many cases.
Since ancient times, the parents of the bride have indulged willingly in the practice of giving money and gifts at her wedding as a token. The serious form of so-called dowry system in India had developed into a full-fledged bargaining today and become the main issue of a girl's marriage whereas all other considerations of much more real value and importance like girl's family background qualifications, merits, etc. are altogether set aside. Due to the varying reasons such as status of boy's family, qualifications, merits, etc., the increasing demands made by the boy's parents are proving to be of a great burden to girl's parents, resulting into very late marriage, suicides by the bride or deaths due to bride-burning.
It is high time the present generation, young boys and girls as well as the society opposed this system and stood up for equality of both sexes to remove the blot of dowry system from the face of our society.
Dowry is a good custom and practice for those who can afford it. But for the poor, it is a curse. The government has enacted many laws to check its misuse. Officially speaking, no parent or family can demand dowry. But still it continues to cast its baneful grip on society.
The young men and young women should rise to face this malady and root it completely. Mere laws cannot wipe out this slur on fair name of mother India where the women occupy a place of pride. Education has already weakened its vicious hold. More and voluntary organizations should come forward to better the lot of women in India. And the removal of dowry system should be the top on the agenda of social reform both in cities and in villages.