Dowry system entails giving a huge amount of cash, jewelry, and other gifts to the Groom’s family by the Bride’s parents as a condition at the time of marriage. This ill practice is now ages old in India. It is not yet completely demolished hence being outlawed by the government and is officially a punishable offense. Many cases of the bride being tortured physically and emotionally for not bringing enough dowry have come up. Either the bride turns to her family to meet the demands of her in-laws or end up killing themselves to end the torture. The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 was laid to restrain the giving and receiving of dowry by either party in a marriage. The act applies to all persons of any religion in India.
Official figures from India’s National Crime Records Bureau reveal that on an average about 10,000 women are killed or have commit suicide because of dowry tortures. Each year thousands of dowry deaths are reported in India. Despite the application of IPC Section 498A and 113B in the Indian Evidence Act, this social evil has still not completely ruled out of our society. Even today, dowry deaths are being reported in several parts of India.
Recently, a 4-month pregnant woman was set ablaze by her husband for dowry in Odisha. A farmer along with his 65-year-old mother was arrested for murdering the 4-month pregnant woman for dowry. The complaint was lodged by the victim’s widowed mother. She reported to the police that her daughter’s in-laws were demanding Rs 80,000 and tortured her daughter for not being able to fill up their demands. Previously, Mamali’s (victim) mother fed her husband Tukuna with Rs 40,000 and some gold ornaments in the name of dowry. A case of dowry torture has been registered against Tukuna and his mother and investigation is still in process.
Likewise, in Hyderabad, a woman recently committed suicide hung herself to the ceiling due to alleged dowry harassment. Belonging to good educate families, Shivani (victim) worked at a bank and married a software engineer in 2014 against the will of her parents. But later her family accepted their marriage. Shivani hung herself after bearing so much torture from her husband in demand for dowry.
Newspapers and news channels are loaded with such cases of dowry deaths even today. May it be in rural areas or educated families of metro cities, dowry is still part of our societies. Women have committed suicide because they could not face harassment over dowry payment. Others have been murdered by their husbands or in-laws for not meeting their dowry demands.
It is such a shame that Indian society still upholds such cruel practice and has failed to realize that this is, in fact, a serious violation of women’s rights. Parents to every girl need to understand and stop trading their daughters in the name of marriage. They should do their best to provide good education to their daughters. They should make sure that their daughters stand tall on their own feet and should be able to feed at least their own selves. Due to dowry malpractice, we ourselves are belittling our daughter and putting them behind our sons. When on one hand we talk about development and cyberage, on the other, we are taking away the rights of our daughters.