Dowry System in India
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
People in India give much preference to family relationships and most of them follow arranged marriage system .According to this system there is no possibility for separation and marriage is forever. As divorce is not acknowledged amongst most Indians it is vital that the marriage choice is wisely thought and carefully planned and is one of the significant choices a person will ever take. Usually the parents and family members look for certain attributes in spouse. The marriage partner is selected from their own religion, caste and to their matching social or economic status. The two families after marriage come into a common relationship and try to work out the marriage if any problem arises among the couple. Initially in the marriage process both the families exchange the pictures of bride and groom along with their bio-data. If the family doesn’t find appropriate spouse for their children they take help of marriage brokers or matrimonial classifieds in newspapers by providing them the necessary information. Preparations will be made to meet bride and groom along with their families if everything meets with an agreement. In a traditional way the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other till their wedding day but now-a-days they are catching up and getting to know each other before their wedding.
If either one of them thinks that they are not compatible with each other the marriage gets cancelled. After marriage the bride is supposed to leave their parent’s house and live with their in-laws. In this modern society with IT revolution, globalisation of economy, urbanisation and liberalization there are few places in India where people didn’t change and doesn’t want to adapt any change. The time has neither changed them nor moved them forward and they want to lead and carry on their lives as their parents and grandparents did. Surprisingly, there are still child marriages and forced arranged marriages. In child marriages, children who don’t even know about marriage and even before their puberty, at an early stage are given in marriage. The main intention of child marriage is to avoid the children when they become adults from searching by themselves someone from lower class or lower caste for marriage. It meant to control their children from getting married outside their religion and social status. These child marriages are still taking part in rural places. This arranged marriage system is purely based on caste and has developed to encourage classism and racial discrimination. India is respected and appreciated all over the world for its mythological culture and it is the land of gods.
The deep faith in god, the religious environment and the mythological thinking has made Indians well cultured. Unfortunately dowry is one of the stained systems in our country which is like a dark spot in our image and is one of the biggest threats of the society. Though the role of women in all paces of life is increasing in this contemporary society the value of dowry is growing day by day in India and the dowry practice is becoming extensive. Every citizen in this modern culture criticizes this system and yet it still expands at a very large scale which indicates how deeply this dowry system is rooted in the society. The bride will be treated by the in-laws harshly and in most cases will be burnt to death if the bride’s family is unsuccessful in paying the dowry amount demanded by the groom’s family. Dowry has become one of the most important evils and is commonly practised all over the country. Dowry is paid to groom’s family from bride’s family at the time of marriage in the form of cash or property. In the beginning, the purpose of the dowry is to support the groom financially for the formation of new household. The parents of the bride also help her to settle down in the new house with furniture, crockery, Motor vehicles and electronic appliances like Television, Refrigerator, Washing Machine etc.
They also give gifts such as jewellery and accessories. Good alliance cannot be made when the groom’s family is not provided by the above stated gifts and the dowry value depends on what kind of job the groom is holding ranging from thousands to million rupees. This dowry system has become a social practice and most of the parents think the birth of a female child is a curse and financial burden on the family because at the time of marriage the bride’s parents needs to give huge amount of money demanded by the groom’s family. If the new-born is a baby girl parents start worrying about the dowry from that moment and they make extreme sacrifices to save money for their daughter’s marriage. The groom’s family demands a lot and at times people reject to go over and done with the ceremony if they don’t receive the amount demanded by them and create lot of unpleasantness in the marriage. In the arranged marriage the bride and groom’s approval is not much important but what matters is the amount of dowry given by the bride’s family. The girl’s parents face great problems in finding an appropriate match for their daughter and without a decent dowry it is quite difficult to get her married to a respectable and rich family in the society. Girls from poor family who cannot afford dowry cannot be married to rich guy though the girl is beautiful and educated.
I would like to mention about my Uncle’s family who faced this dowry problem at the time of their daughter’s marriage. After searching vigorously for about one year they finally found a perfect match for their daughter with a respectable job and good family. The groom’s family demanded dowry and gifts for marriage based on the groom’s professional job. Though the bride is well educated and working the groom’s family demanded more as the marriage is approaching. The girl’s parents offered the amount demanded by them thinking that their daughter would enjoy a better life and live happily in a higher status family. Even after the marriage for not bringing sufficient dowry the girl is often tortured and sometimes forced to commit suicide by the husband and in-laws. Among the dowry deaths most of them happen to be young women who are not able to bear the torture and persecution. They commit suicide by fire, hanging oneself or by poisoning. At times they kill the women by setting her on fire and create it as an accident to escape the punishment and criminal charges. Bride burning take place when a women is murdered or set to fire by her husband or his family for not getting additional dowry demanded by them.
Over the past few years Indian women are facing problems and trapped in the deceitful marriages with the NRI (Non Resident Indians). The boy comes to India only for a short period of time to marry an Indian girl and the parents of the girl don’t have enough time to enquiry about the boy and the family. They get their daughter marry to him and arrange a lavish wedding thinking that their daughter would have a bright future and lead a happy life in abroad. The common issues with these NRI marriages are most of the women are victims of phony promises, cheating, deception, desertion, huge dowry demands and quick divorces and most of them are abandoned by their husbands within months of their marriage. Almost 2 in every 10 NRI marriages end up deceiving or in divorce. In these cases usually the men go to India enjoy the royal treatment in their wedding, take the dowry given by the bride’s family and leave the country saying that he will send the visa. Then after there will be no phone call or message from him.
The hopes and dreams of the newly married bride are shattered and the bride’s family are devastated. Even if they manage to take their wives along with him then after short period of time they are isolated and are not allowed to speak with their parents and family members. They are abandoned and treated badly like servants and they make their life miserable in continuous fear and pain. Few years back there is a case which came up in news and the women committed suicide after marrying an NRI. He used to work as a Software engineer in USA and the bride’s parents offered him huge amount of dowry demanded by them. After marriage the women was taken by her husband to USA. One year later the husband started harassing and tortured her. They came back to India and the husband and her in-laws asked her family to give extra dowry else take her daughter with them. She was sent to her parent’s home and the guy left to USA. This made the women broken-hearted, miserable and thought she was a burden to her parents and finally hanged herself and died. A number of NRI’s who married the Indian girls have been charged and arrested with crimes for demanding extra dowry.
Many of the charges are for those who are unable to provide visa for their spouse to travel to the United States. The men have been charged by the court to pay huge amount of money for their spouse and sometimes the court seizes the U.S passport and he should stay in India until the case is settled. Dowry deaths have become severe in Indian society and the total number of bride’s death for not getting sufficient dowry is increasing. The Indian police say that every year they receive about 2500 reports of bride burning and about 9000 dowry deaths. The number of dowry deaths reported in 2010 was 8391 by National Crime Records Bureau according their statistics which means that a bride was buried for every 90 minutes. The government has taken several steps to eradicate the evils of the dowry system and the dowry prohibition act was passed in 1961. According to the act it prohibits giving or accepting the dowry directly or indirectly and demanding for extra dowry after marriage from bride’s family. It is liable and the person gets punished and imprisoned for six months and may also prolong to two years with a fine of Rs.5000 which may also extend up to ten thousand rupees.
In 1986 they made some modifications in the dowry prohibition act and sections 304B and 498A of the Indian penal code were passed. In section 304B the law defines the death of the women as a dowry death if there are any bodily injuries or burns and which doesn’t take place under regular conditions within 7 years of her marriage. In section 498A the law states that the husband or his family shall be imprisoned and fined if the woman is harassed cruelly. Conclusion:- Dowry which is an old social practice in India became an evil degrading the respect and status of women in the society. It is a sign of male domination and women’s deprivation due to which the birth of women is regarded as a burden to their parents. Though there are women’s organizations, legal improvements, media support and keen awareness about the dowry being a crime the practice still continues and has become a signature of marriage.
Laws alone cannot help to control the risk of dowry deaths. To get rid of this social evil I personally believe that both women and men should reject to get married if dowry is taken or given. Especially women should stand against this practice and focus on their education and career relatively than concerning marriage as their only way of redemption. If the parents of the girl don’t meet their demands women are the one who are being tortured, harassed and killed and this evil is responsible for the degradation of women in India. Instead of the girl’s parents looking for a man of higher status women should stand on their feet and increase their own status so that men start looking for women. Social awareness should be developed among the young men and the women must also be encouraged with economic individuality and education. With modernization and the cumulative role of women in a creative economy they should be empowered to make their own decisions and with their contribution to the family economy one would expect support for this social evil to disappear.