Selling and buying is a process where both the seller and the buyer are happy after the deal. This deal can include any object, but what about selling and buying a boy? Yes, a boy. Dowry is nothing but buying a boy for the amount written on his price tag. In the dowry system every boy comes with a price tag which depends on the designation he holds.
Let’s say a boy is a government employee with a good salary and position, his price may reach 1 crore which may or may not be inclusive of all the taxes, where taxes are the things the boy’s family demands. This price decreases with what people deem to be “desirable”. Only the seller is happy and not the buyer because buying a groom almost always becomes expensive for any bride’s father (the buyer).
The dowry system has been followed in India for a very long time. It was started by our ancestors for valid reasons but now is leading to issues and problems in society. In those days, dowry was not considered as a ‘fees’ or ‘price’ one had to pay to be a bride’s parents. The idea behind this system was to make sure that the bride would be financially stable after marriage. It used to be a gift to the married couple from the bride’s side to have an assurance that their daughter would remain happy and independent after marriage.
But after the British came to India, they restricted women from owning any property. Hence, men started owning all these gifts as if they were for them. The picture changed, and brides were treated as a source of income. Due to this system, parents started hating their daughters and treated them as a burden. They only wanted sons so that they could earn money rather than pay it.
The dowry system has become a social problem. Poor parents who are not able to pay the dowry take loans just to get a groom for their daughters. A number of injustices are taking place due to this system. The killing of a girl child in the mother’s womb is the one of the many injustices. They cannot afford to have a girl child and hence are killing them either during pregnancy or after birth. It has also increased violence against women.
If the bride’s family fails to fulfill the demands, the girl is brutally beaten and told to bring more money from her parents. Many times, this violence results in murders and suicides as well. The groom’s family demands things they wish to possess. The girl’s parents do not protest against a variety of abuses as they regard the union as a stepping-stone towards a higher social status and better matches for their remaining children.
It’s not only the fault of a boy’s family who demand dowry but the girl’s family who willingly or unwilling fulfill the demands.
The Dowry Prohibition Act, in force since 1 July, 1961, was passed with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry. To stop the offences of cruelty by a husband or his relatives on the wife, Section 498-A was added in the Indian Penal Code and Section 198-A in the Criminal Procedure Code in the year 1983. There are many more preferences given to girls to oppose this system.
These acts are like weapons for females to protect themselves, but nowadays, a new trend has also begun where many females are misusing this power to drag their husbands to court proceedings and earn money or take revenge. The men are wrong when they demand dowry, but at the same time the women who are misusing these acts are also wrong. In this modern world, there are many families who do not support the dowry system and are doing good for society by bringing a change. If we stop this system, then many more heinous crimes which are an outcome of this system will stop.