Dowry, the devil
Say no to dowry

Marriage as a social institution is recognized as a civilized social order where two individuals, capable of entering into the union, have pledged themselves to the institutional norms and values and promised to each other a very strong bond to sustain and maintain the marital obligation. Despite all the promises made at different occasions of marriage ceremony that the individual incompatibilities and attitudinal differences for non-adjustment or refusal for adjustment may come to an end, but certain circumstances occurred where the husbands and his families demand i.e. Dowry which is not fulfilled and sometimes a perverted sense of revenge occurred.   

dowry is a transfer of parental property, gifts, or money at the marriage of a daughter (bride). Dowry is a payment of cash or gifts from the bride’s family to the groom’s family upon marriage.

The Status of Women in Ancient Indian Society

We have the ancient scriptures which talk about women with such high respect. We only hear about Swayamvar in the ancient Hindu marriage traditions where it was the bride who decided whom to marry. There was no Swayam Vadhu, the groom could not hold beauty contests to decide which bride to marry. Instead it was the girl who in a Swayamvar, would put all the competing potential bridegrooms to different contests and then select the bridegroom whom she liked. In the Swayamvar of Sita in Ramayana, Rama had to lift the Shiva’s bow to prove that he was eligible to marry Sita. In the Swayamvar in Mahabharat, Arjuna had to hit the eye of the fish rotating above by only looking at the fish’s reflection in a pool of oil below.

So if this was the importance given to women in our tradition, then when and where did this contradiction of the menace of dowry enter our society? We don’t find any instances of dowry related violence in the literature of ancient times. Not even in the literature belonging to the pre-colonial era of India. So when did the Indian society adopt the evil version of dowry which has created numerous social problems in the Indian society ranging from female foeticide, violence on married women, financial stress on parents of girl child, imbalance in male-female ratio, broken marriages, mistrust between families, etc.

Pakistan Bans Dowry, Becomes First Muslim Country to Ban Dowry

The custom of dowry is deep-rooted in Indian society over the years, it has turned into a social peril, too entrenched and devilish to be tackled by reformers and law-makers. Though the efforts for the eradication of the dowry practise go back to more than a century, it has perhaps become the most alarming social issue during the last two decades or so as manifested by the growing violence against women emerging from matters relating to dowry. It is generally understood that dowry, in its original form, was not based on greed and extortion as it quite often the case today but present a token of love and regard for the bridegroom. The term Varadakshina, mentioned in the Hindu Shastras, was a Dakshina of a purely voluntary nature without which the meritorious act of Kanyadaan would not be complete. The role of the bride’s parents was to provide security and compensation for inheritance rights to the daughter in order to enable her to lead a dignified and harmonious relationship with her husband and his family.

Dowry death basically means bride’s suicide or killing a bride by her husband or by family members after the marriage because of dissatisfaction with the dowry. Dowry is a matter of concern nowadays in India as most of the bride die because of dowry as her father and family members unable to fulfill the demand.

In last 5 years as many as 715 cases of dowry death has been reported in national capital and crime rate has been increasing in every passing year. According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau every day at least 20 women become a victim of dowry death and the annual figures go well above 7000 deaths. As per experts several cases are not reported and the actual death could be three or four times the official statistics.

As the number of cases are rapidly increasing the act for the prohibition of dowry was made in 1961. “ DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT 1961”. This act prohibits the payment or acceptance of a dowry as consideration of marriage . after the enforcement of this act dowry becomes illegal in India .

The brutal reality of the dowry system is not the story of rural areas only. Even the educated family sitting in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Bangalore is harassing a woman for not bringing enough gold or money.  Bengaluru, the silicon valley of India, reported 17 cases of abuse and death of women for dowry in 2020.

Ample opportunity has already past that we need an adjustment in the mentality and demeanor of the individuals about dowry . Teaching youngsters since the beginning about the significance of gender equality could be an important beginning toward that path. We should treat our girls similarly with no segregation. Teach and urge young ladies to seek after a vocation of their choice as opposed to giving immense dowry . This is the best blessing any parent can give their daughter . Make mindfulness among young ladies to imagine that they would not permit their folks to languish tremendous obligations over their marriage. Youngsters should take a choice that they would not live on target of another people efforts and furthermore take choice not to become marketable products sold by their parents.

If You Were Wondering Why #JusticeForKirti Was Trending, It Is Because She  Was Killed By Her In Laws For Dowry. This Is Alarming | Hauterfly

Why The Dowry System Is Still Prevalent

We are in 2020. Dowry system was abolished in 1961 in India. The reason for the prevalence of this custom is the patriarchal society that values men over women. In India boys have a rate card in many societies. This is the unofficial price the boy is worth. And that worth is measured by the amount of dowry a boy will get upon marriage. The stronghold of the gender inequality in Indian society makes a bride’s family feel obliged to meet the dowry demands of the man who has ‘agreed’ to take care of the daughter. The second major reason is that the dowry system is too deeply rooted in the Indian culture that it is seen as normal and unchangeable. Even today, if people are reminded that dowry is a crime, they ignore it as an alternate reality which cannot change the age-old customs. Many educated families practice it, willingly or unwillingly, to avoid being criticized for not following the customs. After all who will dare to change the traditions? The third and most important reason is the dominance of the institution of marriage. A woman’s marriage is of the paramount importance in Indian families. If a woman’s marriage requires dowry in return of her secured married life which is a challenge in the world that is unsafe and discriminatory for women, it is never seen as a crime.

Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and dishonours womanhood. 

-mahatma gandhi
Watch: These are the laws in India against domestic violence | The News  Minute

Dowry death is a social curse which is a burning issue in Indian society. Organized approach by women welfare organizations, police, public servants and judiciary by applying deterrent punishment for dowry deaths culprit. It can be observed that government of India along with Indian judiciary makes co-operative and supportive law to safeguard the life interest and dignity of women and provide further justice to the victim of harassment or cruelty by husband and his relatives. Change in education system led to an improvement in the education status of female and door to door employment service will lesser down dowry deaths. Still, certain corrective measures need to adopt to eradicate or at least curb this social menace of dowry death, but most importantly it needs a public will and commitment to shun away materialistic greed of dowry demands.

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Elimination Of Violence Against Women.

500+ Free Violence & Abuse Images
“Stop Violence Against Women”

Violence against women and girls is a major health and human rights issue.United Nations General Assembly defnes Violence against Women as “Any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.

Violence against women is a global problem occurring in every culture and social group. Now a days violence affects the live of millions of women and girls in all socio-economic classes around the world. It cuts across cultural and religious barriers and take a variety of forms, from domestic abuse to the child marriages and female circumcision. Violence against women is largely unreported. Fear and stigma often prevent women from reporting incidents of violence or seeking assistance.

Film marks 16 Days of Activism to curb gender-based violence – Centretown  News

In fact, 80 percent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have been never informed the Police. In December 1999, at the 54th session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring that November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.

Every year, 25 November and the ensuing 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow (ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day) are commemorated around the world, providing individuals and groups a chance to mobilize and call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.

This is the Shadow Pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis and we need a global collective effort to stop it. As COVID-19 cases continue to strain health services, essential services, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines, have reached capacity. More needs to be done to prioritize addressing violence against women in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown once more that for some women not even their home is a safe place.

16 Days of Activism: resources to get involved

Theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.

Figures show that violence against women and children has increased since COVID-19 lockdown measures started. Some Member States have introduced gender-sensitive response measures, such as special alert mechanisms in pharmacies, to protect women and children from all forms of violence.

Incidents of violence against women, children grew amid pandemic | The  Business Standard

Gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG), is a global pandemic that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.By September 2020, 48 countries had integrated prevention and response to violence against women and girls into COVID-19 response plans.The numbers are staggering:

  • 137 women are killed by a member of their family every day.
  • Adult women account for nearly half (49 per cent) of all human trafficking victims detected globally.
  • In 2019, one in five women, aged 20–24 years, were married before the age of 18.
  • At least 200 million women and girls, aged 15–49 years, have undergone female genital mutilation in 31 countries where the practice is concentrated.
  • 15 million adolescent girls worldwide, aged 15–19 years, have experienced forced sex.
  • School-related gender-based violence is a major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls.
  • One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, 40–60 percent of women have experienced street-based sexual harassment.
  • Across five regions, 82 per cent of women parliamentarians reported having experienced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms.
WHO | QUIZ: Preventing violence against women

Prevention of Violence

  • Perception of Society to be changed.
  • Education and Awareness among all.
  • Developing Programs.
  • Setting up Family Counselling Centres.
  • Implementing Laws Strictly.
  • Effective Cooperation between NGOs and Police.
Domestic violence: clear, ugly picture | Deccan Herald

“Break the Silence when you Witness Violence against women and girl, Do not step back, step forward and Act on it”.

Violence against women is a chosen action against a women or a girl child simply because of her gender, simply because she is female. Change is possible, but it requires action, commitment and determination.

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