It took years for nations like France, the USA, and many others to get equal rights for women. This is not the case for India, soon after independence equal rights were given to all. Giving rights to people is not the only way to help. The power is useless until the holder comes up and uses it for betterment. This is exactly what happened to women in Indian society.
A major reason, people in India more often think not to send their girl child to get an education is because they think that their money's getting into the trash. The topic we are going to talk about is very common but still, people don’t like to talk about it. Dowry or in other ways, we can say an amount given to the groom so that the bride can live independently. The practise of dowry is not so new but a controversial subject for a long period. Even in the oldest manuscript, one can easily find a clear image of the dowry process in India. There are different ways to explain them. Some scholars have theories explaining that dowry was only a part of lower-class people where others explain different ways for lower- and upper-class people.
In the majority of medieval period dowry was considered as a gift given away in cash and kinds to the bride for a better future and happy life ahead. In the colonial period, it became a legal way to get married and a smooth way to live life ahead. Now in the current situation of Indian dowry, the demand increases at a higher price. As the economy boosts itself, demand increases for dowry and it feels like there is no stop to it.
This rise in bride price is having a direct influence on domestic violence. Again, domestic violence is not new in our society but in this case, it is forcefully done by husband or in-laws in demand of dowry. Demand for dowry at the time of the wedding directly shows the greed of the groom and his family. Later if there is more demand for that or if failure of dowry. The level of violence increased. This frequently translates into physical, mental, or sexual violence against the bride. The violence ranges from slashing genitalia or breasts with razors to burning her alive by pouring kerosene on her. In some cases, women are driven to suicide.
More than 8000 women die every year as a result of dowry demand. Even in some cases, women are murdered by husbands or by the in-laws when the family can’t raise the request of dowry. The highest cause of death due to dowry was reported in 2015 was in Uttar Pradesh with a total of 2335 cases.
Just a case happened with a friend of Nikkita Duggar, a law student, she lost her friend to her in-laws in a dowry case. ‘She had fallen from the 5th floor of a building and got a lot of broken bones and internal bleeding. On the fourth day after this accident, she died after having high fever and full body infection’. All this happened because her parents failed to fulfil the demand. These cases are not at all new to us.
In 1961, After 11 years of Independence the Indian constitution enacted on 1st May 1961 for Dowry Prohibition Act. Under this act, it is stated that dowry includes property, goods, or money given either party to the marriage by the parents of either party or by anyone else will consider it a serious act. Thereafter in 1984 and 1986, there were some amendments added to the laws. These amendments, notably of 1986, added dowry deaths to section 304 (b) of the Indian Penal Code which made dowry deaths culpable homicides. In 1983, another section 498 (A) was added to the penal code which further strengthened the anti-dowry provisions and obliged the police to arrest a woman’s in-laws in the case of harassment and/or cruelty.
The result of these dowry cases was that either parent is not letting a girl child born or married off her to an early age. Dowry is one of the major reasons for gender Inequality still exists in Indian, as women are seen as a burden on families. Dowry is keeping a girl child away from education as most of the families are saving that money to marry off their daughter instead of making her educated.
As initially dowry was given away for their daughter’s independence but now it is one of the major reasons to stop them from being independent. Dowry causes problems to two major groups first is to disable women as the dowry given away for them is more than normal. Another is for the major part of our population that is people with less income or poor as they are fighting for daily survival and above this, they had to save some so that they could marry off their daughter. There are a lot of issues or reasons why the female section is getting suppressed regularly.
Two ways and we can get out of this problem. First and foremost, we need to update people. There are a lot of people who are opposed to this ritual but because of society’s pressure had to perform such activities.
As Abraham Maslow said ‘You will either step forward to Growth, or you will fall back in safety’. It simply states that education will never harm anyone. It is the best way to grow and as educated humans, it is now our responsibility to update them. By taking a few small steps we can change our lives.
Official Writer - Honey Arora