This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Samim Mollah. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Opinion: Women Need To Unite To Get Rid Of The Barbaric Tradition Of Dowry

More from Samim Mollah

Your elder cousin is an Army Officer. He will have a huge amount of money when he gets married,Arshad Ali, my uncle, opined while we were resting, having lunch at our elder stepsister’s marriage. I was thinking of how mean-minded he was, and the same for all my family members. Because it is, expecting a “handsome amount of dowry” from the parents of the bride is very a shameful act and practice.

marriage
Marriage is a union of two families.

Dowry means gifts in the shape of money, ornaments, luxurious goods, etc. to be given to the bridegroom by the parents of the bride. Marriage means a union of two opposite sexes, a union of two unknown families. Now, sacrificing her family, an unknown girl enters a new family, a family full of strange people. Is her sacrifice not great enough? Why can we not marry a girl perceiving her sacrifices only?

As an act, dowry has always been a weapon for wealthy parents and a cause for inferiority and frustration both for the parents who are weak economically and the ones with the responsibility of marriage. As is the trend and necessary, when her friends from wealthy families get married giving huge amounts of money to the bridegroom, she starts thinking of her family’s economic problems which may lead to stress.

If we take a look at history, in India, there was a time when worthiness of a woman was scrutinised on how much money she would bring to her in-laws’ house. And burdened with this insult, she had to get ready, with tears in her eyes at the thought of her poor bankrupt father. In such a situation, how can it be possible for the girl to have respect and honour for her new family? How can they expect it?

Parents start planning for the future as soon as a girl child is born. They start saving money for her marriage too. And if the money does not meet expectation, the girl in her in-laws’ house gets beaten and tortured. Some families go beyond the limits and kill her for not bringing enough money, or they make a way that leads to her death.

How heartless and mean-minded they are. They don’t think twice before taking a life for a monetary cause. And if the poor parents are not able to satisfy his claims by instalments, the rule is that the daughter must go back to her own house. And the person whom she was married to can marry another woman and no one can utter a single word against him. Why do the bridegroom and his family need money? Is it not shameful to lie to her, torture her?

Dowry deaths in India
Source: NCRB

The Hindu Code Bill was passed in Lok Sabha in 1956. It deals with marriage, divorce, the succession of daughters property, maintenance, adoption and guardianship. It included prohibitions on polygamy too. But it did not say anything about dowry. 5 years later in 1961, The Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in Lok Sabha by the Congress Government.

Many meetings were held and signatures were collected during the debate on Anti-Dowry Law. The orthodox members fought tightly against the Bill. There was a difference of opinion among the members of the Congress Government. Women’s organisations started campaigns in favour of the Bill. But many housewives in towns and villages spoke against the Bill out of fear of not being able to get their daughters married. Among the ordinary people the Bill was unable to spread its impact rigidly. Parents did not dare to refuse to pay dowry.

The only way to get rid of this degrading custom lies in the hands of women. As long as they do not unite against dowry this practice will not diminish. Those ignominious boons who want to thrive on dowry can be brought to their senses if the brides force them to change their ways (as we cannot imagine a world without a woman). If women themselves do not stand up against such men and families, neither the society nor government can protect their honour or their lives. Hence the movement against dowry must be an essential item on the agenda of all women’s organisations.

Yes, marriage must be reformed. Conditions of marriage must be rearranged. Dowry, a barbaric act must be thwarted.

You must be to comment.

More from Samim Mollah

Similar Posts

By Javed Jaffri

By Reetam Singh

By shana singh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below