In the fourth standard, I was asked to write an essay on the dowry system. I didn’t know how to write. I just documented all the crimes that I had come across in my locality related to the dowry system on my notebook. To my surprise, the teacher was very impressed with me. That was perhaps the first appreciation I received for my writing. But that was also the first time when I expressed my anger on the criminality of this so-called social norm. I was assured by the teacher that this norm won’t be there in the society ten years down the line. That year was 1989. Twenty-four years have passed till then. And recently, when I browsed through the Internet, the news items that caught my eyes were:
Today is the time when our fight against female feticide has become stronger. We take pride in taking action against people who get involved in gender identification in the womb. However, the root cause of female feticide is not in gender identification in the womb. It is in the brain. It is formed in the brain when one comes across facts about atrocities against women like sexual exploitation, torture for dowry, etc. that say how difficult it is to become a woman. Therefore, while we are fighting to make every girl child in the womb see the world, we will need to make the world secure for them at every stage of their lives. Demand of dowry in marriage is one such insecurity.
We have ambassadors for polio eradication, breast cancer care, going green, etc. We need ambassadors for abolishment of the dowry system as well. We need long-term campaigns till this social injustice (norm) is uprooted and erased from our brains forever and for never to come back.
People who accepted or planning to accept dowry in marriage tend to give one or other excuse for accepting dowry. All that is crap. The way you cannot justify any injustice, you cannot even justify accepting dowry.
From my experience, I can give you some popular excuses. Feel free to add to the list below:
- I didn’t want dowry. My parents wanted it. (Answer: You are getting married, not your parents. You can definitely stop them from having such illegal demand.)
- We never demanded. But they just forced us to accept. (Answer: You are not a child. Nobody wants to give you anything free of cost. You must have showed the greed in your eyes. There are many shameless people who don't demand dowry these days, but expects it to be given as a right.)
- I had given dowry to my sister. Hence, I demanded too. (Answer: Then, you take back from your sister. Why do you take it from someone else's sister.)
- I spent so much money in my marriage for my in-laws’ pride. Hence, I had to accept dowry. (Answer: Who asked you to spend it. Don't give such crap. You spent it for showing off. And you want your parents-in-law to pay for it.)
- That’s why I preferred an arrange marriage. Otherwise, I would have gone for a love marriage. (Answer: Greed is not restricted to arrange marriage or love marriage. No girl would have loved you when you had so much greed.)
- My wife will not demand her share from her parents' property. Dowry is a form of that share. (Answer: Rather you don't take it as dowry and ask your wife to legally demand for her share of property.)
- I wanted to start a business. This was like the capital amount. It is for their daughter only. (Answer: Wait. Your son-in-law will ask you for the same. Save for the capital amount of your future son-in-law's business.)
- This is a tradition. We need to follow it. (I am sure you wouldn't have followed the tradition if it was inconvenient to you. You need not follow the age-old traditions that has no relevence in today's time.)