Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 9

DOWRY SYSTEM

A Menace of Our Society

Ethics and Values Assignment II Submitted to: - Prof. Aruna R. Done by:Samridhi

10BIT0217(SLOT-B1) I. INTRODUCTION

Dowry system is as old as our epics. We have been hearing about it since we have stepped into this world and have begun to understand what is wrong and what is right. As we see today, giving and receiving dowry is considered as a status symbol. But in ancient times, dowry as we call it today was a gift to the daughter at the time of her marriage to help her set her new home. It was not compulsory and parents gave it to their daughter as a gift and that too within their capacity. But as times changed, the above concept was totally reversed and dowry was being demanded by the grooms family. Greed took its place and has brought it to its present form which can be called as the sophisticated version of the dowry system. It has become a social evil and it should be eradicated. Dowry system is against the equality of man and women. When only man and woman put together can make a society, not only man or not only a woman can do that. So how people consider that its only the girls familys burden to invest in the marriage. Isnt the boy also marrying the girl? When two people are togethe r going to start a new life then will it is the burden of one to carry on the duties and the responsibilities? No. It should not be. This is what dowry system has led to. It has imprinted this mindset among the people that the male race is superior to the females so its their burden to bring wealth and prosperity into the family when they come. Women are the most affected by this menace. This dowry system has led to other social evils like domestic violence, bride burning, untimely divorces and many more. It has made the marriage a commercial business in which girls and boys are the commodities for sale. Marriage has become a money making business. It has lost its importance and sanctity now in the modern scenario. Dowry system is a curse to society as a whole. Hence it should be fought on both the levels of rules and society equally.

II.

HISTORY

In India, dowry or DAHEJ (in Hindi) is payment of cash or some kind of gifts given to bridegrooms family along with the bride. Generally it includes cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that will help the newlywed set up her home. But this system puts a lot of financial burden on the brides family. This is why most people in rural as well as in urban areas prefer male child. This has led to poor sex ratio in our country and female feticide. Payment of dowry has been prohibited as per law but this law is limited to paper only. There is no effect on the people. Dowry System originated in wealthy families. Parents gave dowry as an insurance that she could take of herself and her children in times of financial crisis. Land and property was given earlier as gifts to the bride. It was considered as STRIDHAN or Women Wealth. It was a means to give girls their due in the ancestral property and the amount and the contents were decided solely by the parents of the bride. We all have heard that in the ancient Hindu marriage traditions, Swayamvar used to take place where the bride decided whom to marry. There was no such tradition for men. Instead they had to prove themselves worthy of taking up the brides hands for marriage. Even lord Rama had to marry Sita after participating in her swayamvar. There are no instances of dowry system and its related violence in our ancient literature. This Dowry System originated in the colonial rule of the British, who brought up the land reforms and also prohibition of property rights for women. This meant that all the wealth that a woman got from her parents would be owned by her husband instead. This converted the traditional dowry system into a menace, an institution of greed that oppressed, victimized and suppressed women. The groom and his family now started looking at the incoming bride as a source of property and wealth. Society became male dominated and they began to demand more dowries from bride and her parents. The social harmony and bonding created by the institution of marriage was lost. Marriage became a business where people

thought making money was easy. Male child was considered as a source of income and female child a financial burden.

III. THEN AND NOW


In todays scenario, dowry is demanded by the grooms parents and marriage takes place only if certain amount of dowry is paid by the brides parents. Today dowry is kind of a compensation to the grooms parents for the amount they have spent in educating and upbringing their son. It is also considered as a status symbol where items of dowry are flaunted by both the parties. Nowadays nobody approaches a girls parents for her marriage. Instead the girls parents have to move in search of a suitable groom for her. And in order to get a son-in-law suitable enough, they go to any extent. This encourages the boys parents especially the father to place a series of demands before the girls parents and they should be fulfilled in order for the wedding to take place. Today many educated men demand dowry. It feels like it is a kind of insult to our society, our education and our culture. This is a great curse because many handsome and brilliant girls remain unmarried, the reason being they are poor. No dowry, No marriage has become a widespread fear. The system has so much changed the mindset of the people that they dont consider people as human beings but as commodities. The price of the groom is becoming higher and higher. Dowry in fact has destroyed our economy. Today dowry rates have been fixed for boys of different categories-doctors, engineers, lecturers, businessmen, executives, administrative servants etc. Merit of the girl has nothing to do with the settlement of the marriage proposal. We generally see that ordinary parents especially the middle class finds it quite difficult to select a boy who is well settled in life, for their girl who is well educated, well qualified and well versed in household activities as well. According to one survey conducted by reputed Indian news magazine India Today, over 90% of government servants actively seek and get dowry in marriage. It is a common feature for unmarried government servants to seek dowry relevant to the

market rates of their post. These rates are sky-high, with an estimate of dowry rates for a bachelor IAS Officer being as high as Rs 50 Lac to Rs 5 Crore. These high rates are one of the primary reasons for corruption as young IAS officers after marriage are forced to take bribes to maintain their new lifestyle and match the financial status of their wealthy in-laws.

IV. CRITICISM OF THE PRACTICE


Today with the concern for womens rights, the dowry system is widely criticized both in India and abroad. One of the problems that has emerged with the dowry system is that it is traditional in India for a girl to marry a boy with more education. This situation makes it difficult for more educated girls to marry, as the more educated a boy is; higher the requested amount is. The practice is also criticized because instead of providing the girl in case of unforeseen circumstances, today it is regarded as appeasing the greed of the grooms family. The above criticisms are secondary to the primary issue surrounding the dowry system of womens rights. It is commonly said that the dowry system contributes to the degradation of women and damages the status of women in the countries that accept the practice. It is also suggested that that the dowry system hurts the brides family as they are forced to part with valuable resources to provide for their daughter in the traditional practice. Many cases have also been heard of and been seen where if the amount given is insufficient to the grooms family, then the bride is even treated with cruelty.

V.

SOME CASES

The dowry system in India is a heinous tradition that is followed officially or unofficially and women are always the victims. We came to know the plight of such women and what they had gone through in Aamir Khans show Satyameva Jayate. It was shocking fact that every hour one bride in the country dies due to dowry harassment.

Lives of many such women were shared with the viewers and they courageously spoke about their torture. Aamir khan through his show encouraged all young women to have the courage to simply say no! And his message for his male viewers was to stand on their own two feet. In 2001, nearly 7000 dowry deaths were registered in India over inadequate dowry, apart from other mental trauma cases. Bride burning, suicides, physical and mental torture by their husbands and in-laws is sometimes found to be done if bride fails to bring sufficient dowry. Most of the tomes it is disguised as accident to avoid criminal charges and punishment. The Indian police say that they receive over 2500 reports of bride burning alone every year while the number of dowry deaths is about 9000. These numbers increase at the rate of 1-2% every year. . Dowry rituals have now spread even to communities where they were unknown. It has gone to different castes, crossed the boundaries of provinces and education and religion. Muslims and Christians, such as the Syrian Christians of Kerala and the Roman Catholics of Mangalore have started demanding dowry. Official statistics show a steady rise in dowry crimes. More than 9, 5000 women are killed every year in India over dowry. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still record the maximum number of dowry crimes, but Bangalore, India's fastest growing city also shows an alarming rise - four women reportedly die every day because of dowry harassment and domestic violence. The cases of dowry torture are the highest accounting for 32.4% of crimes against women in the country.

VI. LAWS AND INSTITUTIONS


Laws have been quite ineffective in tackling the dowry menace. But certain organizations are there which are putting efforts to change the way of thinking of the people. Efforts by organizations such as Tanzeem Khuddam E Millat from Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh are impressive. It started a heartwarming movement in the 1950s wherein weddings would take place only in the early evenings so as to avoid any

extra cost on the brides part and where ceremonies are held in a simple manner without any hooliganism. There are laws like Prohibition of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 that help reduce domestic violence and to protect womens rights. Dowry became prohibited by law in 1961 with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry, to stop the offences of cruelty by husband or his relatives on the wife. Section 498-A was added in Indian Penal Code and section 198-A in the Criminal and Procedure Code in the year 1983. The government has taken many steps to stop the abominable practice of dowry. The Dowry Prohibition Act, passed in 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of dowry, where dowry is defined as a gift demanded or given as a precondition for a marriage. Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs.5000. many anti-dowry legislations have also been made to tackle the dowry system. The media has also done its bit by showcasing the cases of dowry and its ill-effects. In 1980 the Government set up a committee which recommended amendments in the Dowry Prohibition Act and also suggested expanding the definition of dowry and instituting family courts and National Commission for women. Many parliamentary debates led to some amendments in 1983,1984 and 1986.To stop the offences of cruelty by husband or his relatives on the wife, Section 498-A was added in the Indian Penal Code and Section 198-A in the Criminal Procedure Code in the year 1983. The Dowry Prohibition Act clearly stipulates that a person who gives or takes or helps in the giving or taking of dowry can be sentenced to jail for 5 years and fined Rs.15, 000/- or the amount of the value of dowry, whichever is more. The Act also prohibits the giving and taking directly or indirectly any property or valuable security, any amount either in cash of kind, jewelry, articles, properties, etc. in respect of a marriage. The control is provided by stating a limit and names of gifters and their relationship to the married couple to be signed by both sides of parents. In 1986, the Act was amended again, empowering State governments to appoint Dowry Prohibition Officers, who not only had a preventive role but also had powers to collect evidence against people who took dowry.

The proclamation of national emergency had given this social evil a death blow. The government seemed to be determined to root out this growing evil. Our late Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi had asked the young boys of the country to come forward to fight this social evil. She herself had set the example by marrying her son Sanjay to Meneka in a very simple ceremony without any dowry. Her call received a warm welcome. Millions of young boys had taken oath not to accept any dowry. Similar thousands of girls had decided once for all to marry those boys who demand no dowry. Many state governments took bold step at the call of the Prime Minister. They amended the old Anti dowry Act. They also made new act. Dowry was restricted to Rs 3000 to Rs 5000/-. Punjab and Bihar came first in the fight followed by other states. People have been asked to celebrate marriages in the day time with ordinary decoration. This will reduce the expenses of the marriage. Road blocking and fixing Shamiyanas on the public places has been banned. Number of Baratis (members of the marriage party) has been restricted to 25. Government servants, officials and ministers have been asked not to take part in any marriage in which dowry is taken or given.

VII. A SUGGESTED SOLUTION


This is high time that we have sitting mute and blind to the menace of dowry. This is the right time when we should help the government to eradicate dowry from our country. The youth should spare no effort to break the bond which have slacked our minds and souls. We know there is a law in India which makes taking dowry illegal and a criminal offense and yet we keep coming across so many dowry harassment cases in the country on a daily basis. I propose a simple solution to practically end the menace of dowry in the modern Indian society. The law which is present should be made stricter. There should be a law which would state that upon marriage all the property of the husband would be automatically owned by the wife, so there would be no property rights for married

men at least for a period of 10 to 20 years. This would make dowry meaningless because whatever wealth the bride brings in will still belong to her and also does the wealth of her husband. So this would be helpful in discouraging all those men who marry merely for the sake of dowry. There are pros and cons of this law. And it is only a suggestion. If people gradually change their mindset then there will be no need of such laws. One thing people should understand that when a parent spends equal amount of money on the education of a girl or a boy so they are able to stand on their own feet, then why it is the burden of the girl and her family to pay that extra amount to boys parents. In fact it should be the other way round; the girls parents spend almost all of their fortune in bringing up their daughter, giving her good education. And in return they send her to another house by marrying her. They plant a seed, the tree from which will serve others, the fruit from which will be eaten by others. IS IT NECESSARY???THINK!!!