Humanity Cannot Be Vindicated Unless Ills Like Dowry Persist
The Dowry system still poses a big hindrance in the emancipation and equitable development of women. It is the manifestation of barbarianism. Society should hold zero-tolerance against its practice in any form.
As the human got civilized, it carried barbarianism along with. The primitive human society was based on equality. There was no gender bias. Men and women worked together for subsistence without any distinction. But in a matter of time women began to be labeled as secondary, without any firm scientific basis. And today the psychological evil of treating women as inferior has percolated with institutions like dowry.
Dowry is basically any gift in cash or in-kind given to brides-in-law in law at the time of marriage. This has evolved out of the practice of Kanyadaan where the bride's father gives certain resources as the right of daughter in his property.
Although the practice evolved with some pure intentions gradually it took horrible form. It has fully percolated in some societies of India. Dowry, absolutely has the direct consequences on the married woman and her parents, but it has innumerable indirect impacts as well.
Today it is well understood, if a society has to progress and prosper, women must not be left behind. As a bird cannot fly with its only one wing, similarly society cannot move if women are neglected. But women are neglected on large scale and a large number of platforms.
And this neglect has its links with the ills of dowry practice.
Have we ever thought why, there are lesser no. of girls in schools than boys, why there are lesser no. of girls studying technical courses? Why are girls always obstructed from spending as per wishes and asked by parents to be thrift? Why are they not fed well? This is because parents are reducing their expenditure on girl's education so that they can save enough money to pay their dowry. Hence, there is a direct link between women's low literacy rate and poor health with the dowry system.
The government and its institutions are working tirelessly to improve the child sex ratio, but schemes and policies won't fetch the desired response if the root evil is not addressed. Female foeticide has a deep and prominent connection with the dowry system. Girls are killed to get rid of their dowry. They are treated as liability and nothing else.
Not only this, to ease the burden of dowry women are even asked to be beautiful and appealing so that they can get a better match, as there is a notion that women with fair skin will have to pay lesser dowry.
In most of the rural households, people wait till the marriage of their sons for devices like TV, fridge washing machine even sofa and bed.
Bidding happens for the groom. It is exactly like a sale of fruit at the vegetable market. Grooms are sold in thousands, lakhs, and crore rupees according to their social status and merit. A daughter's father has to beg, borrow or steal to pay the dowry. This system has further pushed rural households into the vicious cycle of poverty. Some people spend their lifetime and all earnings just to get their daughters married.
Post marriage, women are demanded more dowry and if parents cannot afford it, women are tortured, killed, and sometimes forced to commit suicide. Isn’t it the big question mark on human development? Isn't it barbarianism in its worst form? Dowry has snatched the opportunities of education and health from women. It has also taken away her right to life with incidents like dowry death and female foeticide.
Dowry happens because society silently accepts it. Even the officials and bureaucrats who are there to stop the menace are following it. This leads to its wider acceptance. Low conviction rates, socially regressive values, the prevalence of corruption adds to its practice.
But above all society needs to come forward against this barbaric practice. Parents must educate their daughters for real empowerment. Women must come forward to fight for their rights and sons must refrain from being sold like commodities in exchange for gifts or cash. Women's real empowerment can happen if fundamental issues like dowry are taken into consideration and eradicated at war footing mode.