Dear Dowry-Seekers, Are You Selling Your Sons?

Sweet savouries, new clothes, charming kids dressed up in lehengas for Kanya Puja, and mesmerising vacations! Are you reminded of Durga Puja? It wasn’t long back when we spent hours worshipping Goddess Parvati, is it?

But at the same time, won’t it be shocking if I state that two out of 10 amongst us may have ill-treated a woman, or ended up inflicting pain upon our wives, daughters and daughters-in-law? ‘Hilarious’ are our Indian ways! On the one hand, we worship female deities – and simultaneously, on the other, we criticise feminism!

Well, we Indians have our own unique ways to execute this criticism. Most commonly, it comes disguised as bride-burning and dowry. Bride-burning and the dowry system are two crimes that are prevalent mostly in India. Most countries do not suffer from such heinous crimes fuelled by greed. It is sad that marriage, which is supposed to be a holy ceremony, is getting more commercialised these days.

I want to raise a question to the people who at this moment are chalking out plans to gather the dowry amount. “Do you find your son incapable of earning the luxuries you are demanding? Or are you ‘selling’ your son to his in-laws?” That might sound harsh, but it is pretty true!

When the bride’s family is unable to pay adequate dowry after marriage, the groom’s family often sets the bride aflame and may even watch her burn into ashes. Most of us may have witnessed such episodes only on our television screens. This is because many of these cases are reported as either accidents or suicides, while several others go unreported. According to the stats from a few years ago, there is one death due to dowry-related reasons per hour in India. Perhaps, another bride has already been burnt, while I am jotting down my points on dowry deaths. Shocking, but true!

Although our Constitution has banned dowry, and those found guilty under the Dowry Prohibition Act are condemned to severe punishment, it has never been implemented properly in India. People still continue to help the dowry system grow secretly, away from the legal eyes. In my opinion, not only are the people who demand dowry criminals, the ones who support the system by fulfilling their demands are also equally guilty. So, a question to the families of the brides – “Are your daughters in peace with such in-laws, for whom you have sacrificed every penny of your savings?”  No, right?

You might be sighing a silent ‘no’, for you are afraid to voice out such cases to the relevant authorities.

You might be sighing a silent ‘no’, for you are afraid of being accused of demanding a similar dowry on your son’s marriage.

Local and international bodies have come up with many laws to curb such heinous crimes. However, these laws will not be effective unless we raise our voices and take the perpetrators to the courts.

We should not forget that human life is precious. Instead of suffering in silence, survivors should fight for their rights and protect the sanctity of marriage, which is slowly getting eroded in the face of commercialisation. We can’t change what’s going around us, unless we change what’s going on within us. So, to all the grooms out there – do not sell your sovereignty for a dowry!

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