There are many social evils in our country. Dowry is one of them. It is a curse to our society. It has degraded Indian womanhood and has tarnished the image of mother India.
Dowry means the goods and money paid by the bride’s parents to the bridegroom’s family at the time of marriage. The dowry system is as old as the institution of marriage itself.
Dowry was not a curse in the beginning. The parents of the bride intended to help the newly married couples to settle in life. Indirectly it was a share of the daughter in her father’s property. Dowry was the outcome of the parent’s love for their daughter.
In course of time, like many other customs, dowry became an evil. The bridegroom’s parents began to consider it their right to get dowry in their son’s marriages. Dowry is being demanded these days, and the parents of bride settle marriage based on the value of dowry.
Thus the institution of marriage has been reduced to a naked commercial transaction. Dowry does not pinch so much when the parents of the bride happened to be rich and well-to-do. They can easily pay the price of the bridegroom bought for their daughters. But it is a curse to poor parents.
Currently, the evil of dowry system has assumed alarming proportions. Many cases of the disastrous consequences of the evil of dowry have been coming to light. Brides have been forced to get huge dowry- sums from their parents.
They have been tortured if the desires of the parents-in-law have not been fulfilled. The craze for dowry has been responsible for a number of murders and suicides recently.
We often read in a newspaper that young newly married women are burnt alive or forced to commit suicide. Our heads hang in shame when we hear a heart-rending tale of bride-burning.
Black-money is playing a very important role in encouraging the dowry system. The system of dowry and black-money have become Joint-friends, me one helping the other.
Money easily earned is easily given. Dowry is no curse to the black-marketeers and smugglers. But they make it a curse to poor and middle-class people who try to copy them.
Of late a number of measures have been taken by the government to Uproot the evil of dowry from the country. Dowry has been banned legally and it has been made a cognizable offence, but still, the Dowry Prohibition Act and Anti-Dowry cells of the government have failed to yield the desired results.
Dowry has not been completely exterminated. Dowry is still being given or received during marriages. The cases of bride-burning are still taking place, though their number may have gone down.
Mere enactment of strict laws against dowry can not solve this problem. What is most needed is the change in the outlook of the society. The society itself needs to be educated and awakened. The masses should prepare themselves mentally to oppose this evil with courage and conviction.
There should be a popular mass-movement against dowry. The society must create an atmosphere of understanding between young boys and girls, so that marriage may be based on love and mutual understanding and not on dowry.
The youth should come forward to oppose the evil and take a pledge to the effect that they will neither give nor take dowry during their marriage. The young should tell their parents boldly that they are not a saleable commodity. A responsible administration backed by people can go a long way in removing the evil completely from society.