Dowry System in India
Dowry System is the one of the worst problem in Indian Society. It does not only affect the individual victims, the brides, but the entire social fabric which was created to help realize the aspirations of both the individuals and the collective. The brides as sacrificial goats only show the canker that spreads all over this social fabric.
Dowry System has its root in the attitude of Indian society towards women. However reverential we may be in our references to the women, our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives, the society has done very little to end the servility of women to men. The Indian women do not really have any will of their own, nor do they have any aspirations beyond serving and humoring their men. In spite of the social bonds the women are treated, even today, with pity and nobody thinks of giving them equal status with men.
Sometimes people talk about social injustice of dowry system but there are just like many of our annual rituals and exercises in futility.
When the question of marrying the girls comes, the parents are the unhappiest creatures on earth. The only problem is not to find a groom suitable for the girl, but to meet demand of dowry. Even after the marriage the bride’s parents have to shut their mouth in front of the groom and his family. Many times often girl is tortured, slighted and humiliated for no fault of hers but because the dowry she brings is not rich enough. The custom is that the bridegroom’s parents would be made richer and the bride’s the poorer, so the bride must suffer if the dowry fails to make the bridegroom’s parents rich. At her in-law’s place, she must be prepared to suffer silently and stoically. She knows well enough that the women are born to suffer and it is a sin to protest against their destiny.
However, in a civilized society it is a shame that the happiness of our women are dependent of the quantum of dowry and other valuable materials that she brings from her parents to her husband’s home. When almost every day we read in the newspapers the news about bride-burning, we cannot but find our civilization to be a fake one, all those stories about our progress seem to be told by an idiot and they mean nothing.
It appears that brides are not humans, they do not have the feelings or dreams or natural desire to be loved. The husbands and the in-laws treat them as mere bundles of rich dowry. Unfortunately this attitude to the brides has proved demoralizing enough to have their hopes withered and the dreams blighted. Today many of the grooms only dream of netting of the bigger fish and if the brides are found to be bringing with them a small fortune they feel deceived and frustrate. The wedding does not create a bond of love for them. Sometimes the brides may refuse to be servile and to submit without protesting. But that only leaves them involved in some sort of scandal, which even the organized movements cannot bust, and consequently very often they are made to commit suicide.
Legislation and pious words cannot put an end to the evils of dowry system prevailing in India. The status of women in Indian society must be raised by educating them and ensuring economic independence, so that they can cease to be mere instruments for house-keeping and breeding children for men. When the women themselves rise against the ignominy of dowry, the society would be forced to change its attitude to them. If, instead, they resign to their fate, they will go on suffering for the sins of Eve.