Dowry system, practiced in every section of the society is one of the social evils. It is the worst possible problems in India. What does dowry mean? It is cash or goods given by the father of the girl to his son-in-law. The amount of money and goods given vary. It depends upon the economic, social and educational status of the bridegroom and also the girl’s father.
Often we see and hear news of dowry deaths in the news paper and on the television. Almost every day we hear of punishments given to a daughter-in-law by her mother-in-law. It appears that there is no end to this. On many occasions the woman’s husband and father-in-law become helpless. Sometimes both her husband and mother-in-law jointly punish her and ultimately pour kerosene on her and burn her.
When did this evil system start? It is impossible to give an exact time or date. Anyhow, it is a very old system. In olden days parents provided their daughters with some wealth at the time of their marriage. Then it became obligatory on the part of the parents in certain communities. The parents gave dowry according to their will and wealth. There was no force and it was not claimed as a matter of right. Even the poor parents were obliged to pay dowry.
Now-a-days it has become an integral part of the marriage and a custom. As already mentioned, dowry includes money, vehicles (two-wheeler as well as four wheeler), land, sites, ornaments and other valuable things .It depends upon the educational qualification of the bridegroom. The price tag depends from person to person. If the bridegroom is an engineer and that too a software engineer, the rate is more. Suppose he is an officer like the I.A.S or a doctorate degree holder, it is more or less an auction. The parents of the boy sell their product and parents of the girl buy that product by giving money and materials. If the parents of the girl fail to give these things, the girl would be harassed for no fault of hers. These days, even the groom is comfortable, the recipients of dowry demand dowry as a symbol of status. If the dowry is more, there shall be more respect. Suppose the dowry paid is less or not upto the standard of the groom, the bride suffers much in her new place. In many cases, people resort to inhuman acts of killing their daughter-in-law, by burning her alive. And in certain circumstances, the young girl commits suicide and kills herself, not wanting to give any trouble to her husband and his family. Such deaths are known to be dowry deaths, the result of the dowry devil.
The dowry devil has become a menace. It is a social evil of the worst kind. More or less, the educated class has kept the system going. By this act of utmost cruelty a new market has emerged, that is the marriage market. The sacredness of performing marriage is lost, only the money plays. People who believe and speak philosophy behave as if they have neither minds to think nor hearts to feel when it comes to actual following what they preach with so much of confidence .
Though the dowry prohibition act has been formulated, it remains only on paper. Every now and then few women’s voluntary organizations agitate over the dowry system, but all in vain. Until and unless, the educated young men decide not to accept the dowry, the devil cannot be vanished.
The dowry system has grown beyond limits. Nobody suggest that this evil should remain forever in our society. Definitely it should be vanished. But how? The legislation alone cannot eradicate such evils. People should also introspect and think what they are doing is wrong or right. Young men and women with progressive outlook should curb the dowry system and bring about a change in the society. Equal status should be given to a child, whether son or daughter. Educated girls should be given chances to earn and be self-sufficient. Inter caste marriages should be accepted peacefully and minimum resistance should be shown to it. A bride should decide not to marry a groom who demands for dowry. But in our society, even the employed young woman marries a person even though his parents demand for dowry. The only person that can do something to eradicate this dangerous dowry devil is the bride herself. Innumerable films have been produced in different languages on this subject and screened. People have seen them. But the realization is supposed to be zero. Many a times, the culprits are arrested and punished. Even then, the dowry system exists.
The solution lies in educating the people and young men more and more, till they realize.Strict laws have been prescribed to check dowry system. But nobody looks at it. Rich people are giving heavy dowry to their daughters. They do not feel unhappy at such crime. Dowry system continues in spite of all steps to check it. However, it can be completely checked if the awareness against this system is created among the girls. If they vow not to marry greedy men, if they become economically self-dependent, then this ugly system will automatically disappear. The evil effects of the dowry system have derived the conclusion that accepting or giving dowry is a sin.