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.


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