Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nuptial Transactions

"On one hand people regard women as devi (goddess), on the other hand they burn them alive. This is against the norms of civilised society. It's barbaric..." (Former Justice Markandey Katju)

Photo: ALAMY
Hi Everyone,

In every person's life comes a very special day when he/ she gets tied in a nuptial knot with a hope to live a happy life with the chosen life partner. If it was that simple then I think the notion of 'happily ever after' would be far more prevalent in reality than in stories. There are so many other factors associated with a marriage than just getting married. These factors affect how good or bad the married life for the couple will be. One of the biggest factors in marriage is - dowry.

Dowry is not just an Indian concept as many people think. In fact dowry is prevalent dating back to 3000 B.C. and present in many countries like China, Japan, India, Turkey, most of South Asia etc. Also there have been many different forms of dowry which are much different from the form we have come to know and understand.

When the concept of dowry originated it was something that the groom's family paid the bride's family for the reproductive capabilities of the bride. Over time the concept of dowry changed and it reversed directions with the family of the bride giving money and material possessions to the groom's family. Even then it was not as crime related as it has become today. Originally when the concept changed directions the bride was given gifts from her family to start a new life with her husband in a place relatively strange and new to her. The purpose of these gifts was to make sure that the bride can easily acclimatise into the new environment and she does not has any shortage of necessary amenities. But do we still view it so? ? ?

Today dowry has become a means for the groom's family to squeeze as much money from the bride's family as possible - during the time of marriage and then consistently after that. Sadly the bride's parents are worried about the welfare of their daughter in a place away from their home and hence they acquiesce to the demands of the groom's family. Inability to pay the demanded price results in crimes. Also in many cases where the people feel that the girl is deficient as per society standards, a huge dowry becomes a means to get the girl married. But what people forget that every person is unique. Why demand and pay a price for as scared a union as marriage. It is an insult to this pure union of two people. The crimes related to dowry have become increasingly violent and more widespread. Here are some of the shocking stats for dowry related crimes** in India:
  1. One dowry death every 4 hours
  2. 8391 dowry deaths in India in 2010
  3. One of every 4 women arrested in India is responsible for harassing the bride for dowry (shocking to me at least)
  4. A bride is burned very 90 minutes for dowry
  5. In 2010 there were 8391 dowry death cases registered and its on the rise (there are many more that go unregistered)
** All stats as per census of 2010

Dowry was banned in India in 1961 but was never properly enforced just like many other laws. Over time the laws were changed to make it more bride friendly but then it led to another problem - misuse of of the 304B section which has caused a lot of problem for many innocent men, who were harassed by wives for various reasons. So in the end its a full circle and all problems are associated with dowry or the laws created to combat against it. So the best solution is to completely boycott the dowry. I will simply say one thing that by demanding dowry you are selling off your son and yourself - it no longer remains a nuptial knot, it becomes a nuptial transaction.

Don't depend on the bride's family to satisfy your needs. Be a man enough and have a spine to fulfil your needs on your own and learn to live with what you can afford and work towards what you can't. Dowry is the easy way out and not the right way out. And remember one thing - easy way out always becomes very difficult later on. When a girl gets married she expects a warm welcome in a new home and not incessant demands for more dowry, torture, humiliation, jailed in the home and disrespect. 

Sadly enough the elder generation in many cases is so deep rooted in their orthodox thinking that for them dowry is the right way but we as the current generation can do a lot to change things. We can start by saying no to the dowry completely in any form whether it be cash, consumer durables, jobs or what not. This silliness of dowry torture and deaths have gone on long enough and the change has to start somewhere. Why not us start the change.

To all the guys and men, don't become a commodity put up for sale to the highest payer. Be the change and become the SOLUTION to this vile and inhumane PROBLEM

Genie Signing off