Insight Mahiprasad

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Discard the Dowry Demon

Dowry is a disease more lethal than even HIV-Aids in India. In the case of HIV-Aids, it is presumed that one has made at least one error to bring the disease to its fold, or may be due to someone close did a vital mistake. However, in the case of dowry, the unfortunate daughter and her selfless father die gradually because they had seen a dream of life.

A society is measured by how it values its women. Making dowry an illegal act, became a law in our State long ago. In these previous years, numerous committees and laws have been enacted in order to curb the hostilities caused due to the existing social system of dowry during marriages. If committees and laws could have solved social problems, India would have been a paradise on earth, which it is not. It's true that it takes decades and even a century to wipe out certain social evils.

Believe it or not, dowry deaths, violence and dowry demands are as common in India as the presence of mosquitoes during the rainy season. No place, no community, no religion can claim that they are above this nuisance. No community or religion has ever pronounced any serious dictum to its offenders. In reality, this is one of the characteristics of a poor nation.

If it is discussed frankly, we find that most people feel pride in exchanging dowry during their marriages, and some do this giving and taking of dowry in the forms of gifts e.g. jewellery, vehicles, new house, furnitures etc. in a courteous way. How many of us honestly ridicule this heinous crime deeply? May be a few in number. Do we condemn our friends who exchange dowries during the marriages in their family? Don't we attend many marriages of our relatives knowing very well that they are part of it? On hearing aspects of dowry violence, how many of us extend offers of help to our neighbours, in reality? No, we don't do all these things. We only brag when we discuss this crime with our friends and relatives in our drawing rooms.

There is another aspect. When a man moves on to arrange the marriage of his daughter, he often looks down as a victim of dowry. When the same man takes charge of marrying his son, his concept of dowry differs and he is seen, giving a somersault from his previous stand. Not only a father, even the females of the house do not behave differently.

Then how to resolve the crisis? Is there any way out? Or do we have to sit and wait, until men turn themselves from savages to saints, or our police force become so agile that no single dowry case is left unnoticed? It is difficult indeed because the problem is centered around a fine web of deception. To get rid of this unwanted social enigma, we have to work diligently and force the perpetrators to bury the hatchet.

The women are often seen fighting their cause, only when they were victimized. This is wrong. They have to prepare themselves from childhood, so that they do not become a prey of this misdeed. Instead of dreaming of a good marriage, each female child must dream of fighting cleverly against this crime, if it happens to her. All parents of a girl child must teach them, how to handle the crisis, instead of moaning how they would live when their daughters get married.

But the real solution lies elsewhere i.e. in the attitude of our womenfolk. They need to exhort themselves by maintaining four basic tenets of women life.

All girl children must be educated more than their previous generations;
All girl adults must earn for their livelihood;
All girls must marry those boys who are inferior to them in respect of education, earnings and properties; and
The girls must be involved in the discussions over all kinds of issues at home, and outside, by their parents as much as possible.

If they follow these norms truly, it would invariably be difficult for any groom or his family to persecute or extract dowry from the newly wed bride or her parents.

Where is the Sun?

The sun lies in the youth. The youths of India are the real sun of India. It is the youth that belongs to 16 to 25, can change the real picture of our country. During the last 60 years, our ambition, perseverance and tenacity put the country on a right platform. It took time due to many deformities, yet we managed to stand before the world. Thus, we can be proud of ourselves. The last 60 years have not gone to waste. And now, we may put forward our youth to the front, so that they by virtue of their candidness, place India on the top of the world.

There is a Ministry in the Central Government named Ministry of Youth & Social Welfare. It is not lucid to most of us, what this Department really does, apart from involving in the matters pertaining to the social affairs. There is virtually no government department or Ministry that really works for the youth.

If India dreams of becoming a real developed country and a great nation, we need to change our mindset from now. We have to create a Ministry of Youth first which should be given the status of a Cabinet rank a la Ministry of Home, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Defence. It would be a Ministry for which senior politicians would vie to get hold of.

The coveted Ministry would be a transparent one, and deal with the youth of India in all respects. Primarily they would give priority to the youths between 16 to 25. All kinds of resources would be made available to the youths. We have an abundance of youth wealth, and we must not let it go wasted. Not only the meritorious and brilliant youth would be taken care of, all youths would be shown numerous prospects so that they can achieve a goal in their life. The Ministry would see the aspect of the youth till they are of 35 years. This would surely invigorate the youth, and the policy would definitely put India on top of the world order, in every respect.

And if that happens, the young married couples would aspire for the coming sun, and not a son.

Where Aamir is Different

Then I was not a fan of Aamir Khan during the 90s. Though I saw his films, but to me, he was like any other film star. Then came Lagaan, and the whole concept of a film star to me changed. He became different, he looked a prodigy. By producing Lagaan, he exalts himself from a mere film star to a patriot.

There are many film stars of repute. Stars like Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Hrithik and Abhishek can be called commercial entertainers. Though Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are not only superstars, but they are eminent personalities, having a vast number of fans. Yet, Aamir is different.

There is no doubt that AB and SRK have enormous talents to their credit, and by virtue of that, they have always been at the helm of glamour. But these two have always prioritized money. Often we see AB crossing SRK by crore, and vice versa. But only once we read that Aamir became dearer. AB and SRK can sell anything in the world from cold drinks, cars, tvs, fridges, computers to toothpastes, detergents, chyawanprash, sona chandi, everything. They are competitors between themselves. They have their wax-idols in Madame Taussaud. Aamir has none of these qualifications. But who has enthralled us more but Aamir, by the advertisements of Coca Cola by showing 'Meri Bindu re Bindu', 'Madhu Makhkhi ka Chatta' and 'Dakar inside a flight'. Unmatchable adverts! This is the difference.

AB joined politics in 1984 by associating himself with the Congress to become a help to his childhood friend Rajiv. But he jumped off from the Rajiv ship when it took a volatile turn. After few years, he was sitting along Mulayam & Amar. After the UP debacle, he is not much seen with them. And SRK? He is a bit cleverer. He does not work for Congress, though in 2004 general election it was heard that he would campaign if Rahul Gandhi took on Vajpayee from the Lucknow constituency. He often visits Priyanka and Vadera and takes them to show a premiere of his film. And Aamir? He had once gone to accompany the then PM, Vajpayee, to see his film Lagaan. But then it was a call from a PM and a person like Vajpayee whom we call modern day Vishwa Pitama, and it was a film of the stature of Lagaan. This is the difference.

Aamir is a patriot. It's not that he doesn't understand politics. He doesn't enter into politics, as much as he doesn't walk up to the stage to accept awards. He is a well-versed person having a strong opinion about the key issues of the country. He makes films so that India could clinch Oscar awards. He visited our soldiers when they felt lonely at the glaciers border, only to boast their morale. He sits beside the Narmada Andolankaris to bring smiles on their faces, never caring what would the Narmada beneficiaries would say against. Aamir has his clear opinion on the issues like poverty, education, reservation policy, minority problems, terrorism, child abuse, even Tibet. Reading out his blogs is effervescent.

The day hundreds of Aamirs are born in India, it would indeed be an amir state in all respect. Hats off!

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