TW: Mentions Of Domestic Violence
Kerala has witnessed several Dowry deaths. From the death of Anliya, a nurse by profession up to the death of Vismaya, a BAMS student. The surge of protests in social media has already subsided. But the teeming question is, when will we as a society ever learn our lesson?
The menace of dowry is deep-rooted in Kerala, Every Tom, Dick, and Harry can accrue 100 sovereigns of gold, property rights, and even a brand new car in the name of Dowry.
The collective consciousness of our highly literate society fails to address the issue constructively. The reason? Almost half the population in Kerala are the beneficiaries of this God-forsaken system. If in the ’90s or the 2000s an average middle-class man could afford to buy a car only during his middle age or walking 40’s, the situation has changed drastically over the years. A 24-year-old professional with a day job would get a Maruti Swift Car as Dowry. If you go further up the ladder, Bureaucrats, Bank officials, government servants, businessmen, Data Scientists, and Professors would ask for SUVs.
Though the counter cry may be “not all men“, there is a glaring disparity between the small populace who don’t ask for dowry and the ones who do. While some comply with the system because of societal pressure, others take it to be their birthright. Even worst are those who feign innocence, they won’t ask for a penny during the marriage deliberations, Their matrimonial profiles would come out clean, still, they shamelessly demand dowry a few weeks after marriage. Only then will the bride and her family realize that it was a façade all along.
100 sovereigns of gold are the mark and if a woman’s family doesn’t have the means to pay it, they will face grievous consequences ranging from the threat of divorce to physical, mental, emotional, and psychological abuse that often result in death.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have men and women enjoying the fruits of dowry. Don’t get me wrong but this is a harsh reality. This group of young men and women never voice their protest against dowry deaths. They are advised by the elderly to sell the ornaments and to invest the money as a fixed deposit. They go on honeymoons in their newly gifted SUVs. Wait for their investment to grow to buy a prime property or villa in the city. They are forever indebted to the dowry for it enables them to lead a luxurious lifestyle. Will they ever be able to understand the pain of a woman who was battered to death by her in-laws and “beloved“? I highly doubt it.
Each time you congratulate a colleague on that brand new car he brought by torturing his wife’s family, you aid and abet dowry deaths. Each time you buy a gold ornament for your daughter and make investments for your son’s education in the hope of securing their life’s you are supporting this system. If you are educated, why ask for dowry if you can eke out a living on your own?