The Stubborn Parasite : Sale of Grooms aka the system of Dowry

“Marriage”, is a word that brings joy and happiness, but it comes sounding as an alarm to any Indian Father who has a  daughter to be married off. 

The dowry system in India perpetuates the concept of the girl’s parents sending gold, money, vehicles, residences, and other material possessions to the boy’s family, in exchange for the boy’s family’s ‘taking care’ of their daughter. It promotes the long-held ‘belief’ in Indian society that girls and women are a burden to society. As a result, a girl’s worth in terms of money and material possessions is diminished. 

In India, the dowry system was abolished in 1961. The patriarchal society that privileges males above women continues to keep this custom in existence. In many Indian civilizations, boys have a rate card. This is the unofficial value of the boy. And a boy’s worth is determined by the amount of dowry he will receive when he marries. The pervasiveness of gender inequality in Indian society causes a bride’s family to suffer. The dowry system is so strongly ingrained in Indian culture that it is considered natural and immutable. Even today, when people are informed that dowry is illegal, they dismiss it as a fantasy that will not affect long-standing norms. Many educated families do it, voluntarily or unwillingly, to avoid being chastised for not adhering to tradition. After all, who will dare to deviate from the norm? The dominance of the institution of marriage is the third and most essential cause. In Indian families, a woman’s marriage is of paramount importance. It is never considered a crime if a woman’s marriage requires dowry in exchange for a secure married life, which is a difficulty in a world that is hazardous and discriminating for women. 

Women are perceived as nothing but a way to quick fortune by the patriarchal society in India. Better the Groom, higher the fortune and probably one of the remote causes of Brain Drain in India where the boys are sent abroad for higher education or job opportunities, in order to increase their monetary value. The parents of the groom are in a better position to demand more dowry for their sons.

The families of the Groom take advantage of the dowry system’s stronghold, which will eventually bring them fortune. They frequently ‘rightfully’ leave or abuse the wife for dowry because she and her family have failed to carry out their responsibilities.

This is a terrible reality that continues to haunt the lives of women who are striving for a more dignified, empowered, and self-sufficient future. This arrangement is one of the main reasons why daughters are regarded as a financial burden to their families. As a result, families either save aside money for the daughter’s dowry rather than investing in her education, or they kill her before she is born to relieve themselves of the burden for good. How much longer will patriarchal norms like this abuse women? When and how will the transformation begin?

According to NCRB data, a woman dies of dowry-related causes in India every hour on average, with the annual figure reaching upwards of 7000. No matter how many PhDs a woman has, her identity and right to live are determined by the amount of gold, cash, new cars, and appliances she brings in as dowry for her in-laws.  The dowry system’s terrible reality is not limited to rural communities. Even sophisticated families in large cities such as Delhi and Bangalore harass a woman for not bringing enough gold or money. According to The New Indian Express, Bengaluru, India’s Silicon Valley, reported 17 incidences of dowry abuse and death in the first  16 days of the year 2020. When it comes to the condition of women due to the dowry system, 2021 may be the worst year yet. When will the dowry system be abolished?

By Lincy Hepsiba

She is a pure Bengaluru breed, Engineer by education, Portfolio manager by qualification, Creative soul and artist by passion, Quit her 9 to 5 job to pursue her love for food. Currently exploring the zenith of Italian food and wine in Italy! She is delightfully chaotic, being her unapologetic self . She says..” She is perfectly imperfect and Loving her is a splendid journey”

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