Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Rights & Laws Dowry is prohibited in India; but is it really?

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  • Adrita Chakraborty

    Dowry is a social evil in society that has caused unimaginable tortures and crimes towards women and polluted the Indian marital system. Dowry is payment made in cash or kind to a bride’s in-laws at the time of her marriage. The Government of India has long ago prohibited this act and also launched many schemes in order to uplift the girl’s status. But the desired result has not come even after the various laws and regulations.

    History of dowry system in India
    The earliest recorded mention of dowry dates back to the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures, which prescribed gifts and payments to be made to the bride’s family during marriage. In the early days, the dowry system was considered a way to provide financial security for women, who were not allowed to inherit property and were dependent on their husbands for support.
    However, over time, the dowry system took on a more sinister tone. As the patriarchal system took root, women were increasingly seen as financial burdens on their families, and dowries became a way to offset this perceived cost. In some cases, the demand for dowry became so extreme that families resorted to taking out loans or selling property to meet the groom’s demands. Dowry is now termed s ‘gifts’ to the groom from the bride’s family. The dowry system continued to grow in prominence in the 20th century, and in some cases, it became a major source of tension between families.
    In the 1960s and 70s, the Indian government attempted to address the problem by passing laws that made it illegal to demand dowry, but these laws have been difficult to enforce. Today, the dowry system continues to be a contentious issue in India. While many families see it as an essential part of marriage, others view it as a form of exploitation and discrimination against women.

    Effects of Dowry System
    These widespread causes are enough to cause extensive and irreversible effects. Some of the effects of dowry system are mentioned below-
    Dowry Related Abuse- At present India has the highest number of dowry-related deaths in the world with an average of 1 death due to dowry violence per 90 minutes. Dowry-related abuse includes mentally or physically harassing women for the demand of dowry. Torturing her to death has become a common practice in society. Although this abuse has reduced to a great extent but is majorly present in rural India where people are more unaware.
    Female Infanticide- Female infanticide is related to the deliberate killing of girl babies by their parents or family members due to the threat of giving dowry at the time of her marriage or also in a threat of killing of their daughter by their husbands if they failed to give dowry.

    Since all of these law and acts are failing to stop the dowry system; it is important to take every necessary step even at the individual level to stop such harassment on women. Spreading awareness among people who are unaware of their rights at the individual level will also help.

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