Dowry –The Black Face Of Indian Society

Despite how far human civilization has come, there is still some evil that continues to persist in our society. People and communities have, over time, making this world into one where we can see the devil making a place for himself. One of the prime causes – the dowry system. And this dowry system is still largely prevalent in our country – in our beloved India.

In recent years, dowry has taken on many different forms and identities. Some label it as a ‘gift’, whereas some people call it a tradition and part of the system of the society, and yet others describe it as customary rituals and a mark of respect. World Bank has studied a report on the number of marriages that happened between 1960-2008 and how much dowry had been given in those marriages. India, since 1960, has had laws against the dowry system. And these laws clearly declare that receiving and/or giving dowry is a punishable offense. Despite this, 95% of the Indians continue to credit this dowry system, treating it as perhaps the main issue at the time of marriages.

It is also an unstated cultural rule that the bride’s family has to pay and spend more money on the wedding than the groom’s. Statistically speaking, in India, a family with a daughter generally has to conserve 14% of their saving from the beginning so that they are able to satisfy the dowry demands at the time of her marriage. This does not just happen among the Hindu community but also among other communities in India including Sikh, Muslim, Christian, etc. The giving of dowry is treated as the gift of the bride’s family.

Some families even resort to taking loans from the banks to meet their financial needs at the time of the wedding. Many of these families end up losing lives, unable to shoulder such heavy financial dues. Many brides in India face domestic violence, injustice, and even verbal and mental abuse, at the hands of their in-laws; leading to some even losing their lives due to this dowry. The system of dowry was in place as a way for the girl’s family to ensure she lives a comfortable and happy life in the future. But many of the groom’s families see it as a gift to them, a mark of respect, and even obligation and duty on part of the bride’s family. Often, the brides are made to feel ashamed that they have received ‘less dowry’. Society has changed the system in such a way that people are simply greedy for money.

According to research, 21 females in India are killed for dowry every day. This dowry claimed the lives of 7166 females in 2018. In addition, only 15% of recorded incidents of females being exposed to injustice in India have been identified. The rest are in the hands of those with financial clout. As per a survey done by an NGO, 60 percent of Indian families borrow money from banks to finance their daughter’s wedding. Unable to pay their debts, several families chose to commit suicide. Marriage is not less than a festival in India but no one recalls or understands the difficulties that a family faces during the marriage process. The majority of dowry instances occur in rural regions, where the girls are unprepared to file a complaint against them. And even if they file a lawsuit, they will not receive justice since they are ignorant. 

There have been multiple T.V. shows, articles, etc. focusing on the central idea of eradicating the social evil of dowry from society but unfortunately, no results are obtained as such. It’s because the problem lies in the minds of people who believe that without dowry a girl can’t lead a happy married life.

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