THE DOWRY SYSTEM
THE CURSE OF DOWRY
Essay No. 01
‘Dowry’ according to the dictionary, means the property which a woman brings to her husband at the time of her marriage. Originally, it must have meant property represented by the voluntary gifts given to the girl by her parents, relatives and friends out of love and affection, at the time of her marriage. May be these gifts were given to the girl in order to enable her to set up a new home out of a sense of social responsibility. The system of dowry must be as old as the institution of marriage itself. It must also have been a universal practice. Every father wants to give some presents to his daughter when she is leaving his home for good and starting life afresh. There is nothing unusual, bad abnormal about it.
But as time passed, the system degenerated into an evil custom. It came to be looked upon as an evil and a curse. The dowry became an all- important and a primary factor in marriage. It became necessary for the parents of the girl to give a good dowry to her whether they could afford it or not. Worse still, the married life of a girl came to depend upon dowry. Marriage became impossible in the absence of a handsome dowry. Several girls, whose parents could not afford a good dowry, had to commit suicide as their greedy in-laws made their lives miserable. Newspapers are full of reports carrying harrowing tales of brides being burnt to death or driven to hang themselves because of constant nagging by their in laws. Some of the step-daughters of fortune choose the hangman’s noose while others consume poison or jump down the multi-storeyed buildings to deliver themselves from the clutches of the inhuman dowry seekers.
It is really tragic that in the progressive world of today, the evil of dowry continues to exist in all its horrid forms. Many homes are broken and several families are driven to ruin only because they are too poor to afford a rich dowry. Previously, in the selection of a bribe, her family background, education and her intrinsic worth used to be the primary consideration. Now, dowry is the first and the only consideration in a majority of the matrimonial alliances. As a result, dowry, which was at one time a token of love and affection, has become a cause of oppression and exploitation of the worst order.
Some parents have to incur heavy debts for giving dowry. At times, they remain under debt for the whole of their life. Sometimes, the girl’s parents fill to raise the necessary funds for marriage. They are compelled to commit suicide in disgust and despair. No wonder, therefore, that the birth of a daughter is looked upon as a bolt from the blue.
In the recent past, the Government of India and many states have taken some anti-dowry steps. In some states, dowry has been made a cognizable offence. But legal steps are not enough. We have to create a social climate which does not favour giving and taking of dowry. Dowry seekers must be singled out and condemned. The Government should implement the anti-dowry bill strictly in the right spirit Nobody, however highly placed, should be allowed to violate the law. Expenses at the marriage celebrations should be cut down. Needy married couples should be given loans and grants to help them set up their homes. They can be asked to refund these loans in easy installments. Voluntary social service organizations and religious heads should encourage dowryless marriages in large numbers. Girls should come forward to raise a banner of revolt against the dowry seekers. They should refuse to marry such boys as expect a dowry.
There is another dimension to the anti-dowry act promulgated by the government. This law is being exploited by some girls or their parents to blackmail the boys or their families after marriage. On threat of charge of prosecution for asking for dowry, husbands are being forced to shell out huge sums of money to get a divorce. This practice must be looked into and steps should be taken to see that no family is unnecessarily harassed or exploited. Divorce should be made easier to obtain. Boys and girls should both be given equal rights in the matter of obtaining a divorce.
In order to root out the evil of dowry from the society, we shall have to build up a strong public opinion against it. Boys and girls in schools and colleges should be made to take a pledge that they would neither seek nor give dowry. They should be educated through films, television plays and talks, slides camps, lectures and radio talks. Such boys as refuse to accept dowry in their marriages should be honoured in public. If we succeed in removing the evil of dowry, it will be really a praiseworthy achievement.
Essay No. 02
The dowry system is an age old system and a peculiar phenomenon of the Indian society. It is, as today, a curse to the society.
Dowry is the name given to all that, the parents of a girl give to her when she gets married. At the face of it, the system seems quite appropriate, healthy and logical, for in this simple way, the parents of the girl help her in setting a new home. So far, so good and, originally also the purpose of dowry was very justified and understandable.
Let us now analyze how and why this system took birth at all? In the earlier times of Indian society, the daughter had no share in the father’s property so, by way of dowry the girl would get at least some portion of her share. Besides this, in those days, the girls were not educated so, this dowry could serve the girl as a back up support system in case of any emergency after her marriage. Seeing this as the ground reality and the reason for the system for having taken birth, no right thinking people would call the system wrong or unjustified. However, with the passage of time this same fine system has taken the ugly shape of begging for dowry, bargaining for dowry, auctioning the boy to the highest bidder and finally suicides. This is because, taking advantage of the system, the parents of the boys, have Started demanding dowry. This was never done in the original shape of the system. The girl’s parents would give whatever they could and, there would be NO – yes, No demands from the boy’s side. Besides demanding items of dowry, now parents of the boy’s family keep items of the dowry for their own use. This was also not in the original system for, whatever was given was for the girl only- and never for the boy’s family. These two additions in the original system have converted the blessing for the girl into a curse for her. The parents who cannot afford to meet the demands of the boy’s family are forced either into taking loans that they can never return, or use unfair means of corruption to make money to meet the demanded expenses In turn, this has led to even committing suicides by the girls murders of girls by the in-laws. At times even before the marriage, the girl is led to kill herself to save her parents from the trauma of collecting money for her marriage.
Thus, we see that, a system that was at one time very wise and discreet, has taken an ugly shape just because of the deed of men and women in today’s world. This system of dowry has become a slur on the Indian society. Besides being a shame, in today’s scenario, the system as it was even in the initial stages of its existence, has become quite irrelevant. This is because, both the reasons for its birth are now not in vogue. These days, girls are usually educated and can earn a livelihood if need arises, and, they now also have a share, an equal share as the brothers have in the father’s property. That means the necessity of the girl having an amount to reach out in the days of crisis or emergency does not hold good any more. So, when the very basis of the system does not exist, the system should be scrapped altogether. This is because; the system instead of bringing solace, only generates greed and even crime in several cases
My view is that, the system as it exists should be put to an end and all those who indulge in it should be punished severely.
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Dowry is basically the cash, jewellery, furniture, property and other tangible items given by the bride’s family to the bridegroom and his parents during the event of marriage and this system is called Dowry System. It has been prevalent in India since centuries.
Dowry system is one of the evil systems prevalent in the society. It is said to be as old as the human civilization and is rampant in many societies across the globe. Here are essays of varying lengths on the Dowry System to help you with the topic in your exam. The language used in these dowry system essays is very simple. You can select any essay on dowry system as per your need.
Essay on Dowry System
Dowry System Essay – 1 (200 words)
Dowry system entails giving huge amount of cash, jewellery and other gifts to the groom’s family by the bride’s parents as a condition at the time of marriage. The system was put in place due to a reason in India and that was that until a few decades back the girl child did not have any right over the parental property and other fixed assets and was given liquid assets such as cash, jewellery and other goods to give her a fair share. However, it has turned into an evil social system over the years.
The wealth and property that parents intend to give her daughter as a part of the dowry so that she can be self sufficient at the new place is unfortunately, in most cases, all taken by the groom’s family. Besides, while earlier this was a voluntary decision of the bride’s parents it has become more of an obligation for them these days.
Many cases of brides being tortured physically and emotionally for not bringing enough dowry have come up. In many cases, the bride turns to her family to meet the demands of her in-laws while others end up giving their lives to end the torture. It is time the government of India should take strict action to stop this evil practice.
Dowry System Essay – 2 (300 words)
The dowry system, that includes the bride’s family offering gifts in the form of cash and kind to the groom’s family, is largely condemned by the society however some people argue that it has its own advantages and that people are still following it only because it does hold importance for the brides and benefits them in certain ways.
Are There Any Advantages of the Dowry System?
Many couples these days choose to live independently and it is said that dowry that mostly includes gifting cash, furniture, car and other such assets acts as a financial support for them and helps them to begin their new life on a good note. As both the bride and groom have just begun their career and are not that sound financially they cannot afford such huge expenses all at once. But is it a valid reason? If this is the case then both the families should invest in getting them settled rather than putting the entire burden on the bride’s family. Moreover, this should hold good if the families can afford to offer financial help to the newly wed without coming under debt or lowering their own standard of living.
Many also argue that those girls who are not good looking can find grooms by meeting the latter’s financial demands. It is unfortunate that girls are seen as a burden and marrying them off as they enter their twenties is the priority of their parents who are willing to do anything for the same. Providing huge dowry in such cases works and this evil practice seems as a boon for those who are able to find (buy) groom for their daughters. However, it is time such mind set should be changed.
The supporters of dowry system also state that providing huge amount of gifts to the groom and his family raises the status of the bride in the family. However, statistics reveal that in most cases it has worked against the girls.
The advocators of dowry system may come up with various unreasonable reasons to support the system but the fact remains that it does more harm than good to the society as a whole.
Dowry System Essay – 3 (400 words)
Dowry System that initiated as a decent practice to help the girls financially as they took on the new phase of their life has gradually turned evil. Just as child marriage, child labour, caste system and gender inequality, dowry system is also one of the evil social systems that needs to be eradicated for the society to prosper. However, unfortunately despite the efforts made by the government as well as various social groups, this heinous system is still very much a part of the society.
Why is Dowry System Still Intact?
The question remains that even after making dowry a punishable offense and spreading awareness about the ill-effects of this system through several campaigns why do people still practice it? Here are some of the main reasons why the dowry system remains intact despite being condemned by the masses:
The system of the bride’s family giving gifts to the groom and his family in the form of jewellery, cash, clothes, property, furniture and other assets is being practiced since decades. It has been given the name of tradition in various parts of the country and when the occasion is as pious as wedding, people cannot dare to neglect any tradition. People are following it blindly even though it is a burden for the bride’s family in majority of the cases.
For some, the dowry system is more of a status symbol. The bigger car they give and the greater amount of cash they give to the groom’s family the more it boosts the status of both the families. Hence, even though they cannot afford many families end up throwing lavish wedding functions and giving numerous gifts to the groom and his relatives. It has become more of a competition these days. Everyone wants to beat the other.
While the government has made dowry a punishable offence, the law has not been implemented strictly. There is no check on the exchange of gifts and dowry given during marriages. These loopholes are one of the main reasons why this evil practice still exists.
Apart from these, gender inequality and illiteracy are also major contributors to this heinous social system.
It is sad how even after completely understanding the ill effects of the dowry system people in India still continue to practice it. It is time people in the country should join hands to eradicate this problem.
Dowry System Essay – 4 (500 words)
Dowry system has been prevalent in our society as well as many other societies across the globe since times immemorial. While it started as helping the daughters to be self sufficient and financially independent as they moved to the new place over the period of time it has turned into a heinous practice that rather than empowering the women has turned against them.
Dowry is a Curse to the Society
Dowry, the practice of giving gifts in the form of cash, property and other assets by the bride’s family to the groom and groom’s family, can actually be termed as a curse to the society especially to the women. It has given rise to several crimes against women. Here is a look at the various troubles this system creates for the brides and their family members:
- Financial Burden on the Family
The parents of a girl child begin saving for her ever since she is born. They keep saving for the wedding for years as they are responsible for conducting the entire affair right from decoration to catering to renting the banquet. And as if this wasn’t enough, they also require giving huge amount of gifts to the groom, his family as well as his relatives. Some people end up borrowing money from their relatives and friends while others take loans from bank to meet the demands.
- Lowers Standard of Living
The bride’s parents end up spending so much on their daughter’s marriage that they often end up lowering their standard of living. Many end up in debt and spend the rest of their lives repaying it.
- Gives Rise to Corruption
Giving dowry and organizing a decent enough wedding function is something that cannot be escaped for those who have a girl child. They need to accumulate money for the same no matter what and in the event many give in to corrupt means such as taking bribes, forging tax or conducting certain business activities using unfair means.
- Emotional Stress for the Girl
The in-laws often compare the gifts brought by their daughter-in-law by those brought by other girls in their vicinity and pass sarcastic remarks making her feel tormented. Girls often feel emotionally stress due to this and some even undergo depression.
- Physical Abuse
While some in-laws make it a habit to be sarcastic with their daughter-in law and leave no occasion to humiliate and bad mouth her others take to physical abuse. Several cases of women being hit and burned because of their inability of fulfilling the huge dowry demands keep surfacing every now and then.
- Female Foeticide
A girl child is seen as a burden for the family. It is the dowry system that has given rise to female foeticides. Female foetus is aborted by several couples. The cases of girl child being abandoned are also common in India.
The practice of dowry is strongly condemned. The government has also passed law making dowry a punishable offence however it is still being practiced in most parts of the country causing agony for the girls and their families.
Dowry System Essay – 5 (600 words)
Dowry System has been a dominant part of the Indian society. In many parts it is known to be embedded in the culture and has become more of a ritual. This undue custom of the bride’s parents giving away expensive gifts in the form of cash and kind during her wedding started as a way of empowering the women as they began their new life at a completely new place. Initially, cash, jewellery and other such gifts were given to the bride however the sole purpose of the system has deviated over the period of time and the gifts are now given to groom, his parents and relatives. The jewellery, cash and other stuff given to the bride are also kept in safe by her in-laws. A number of factors such as illiteracy, gender inequality and lack of strict laws against this system have given rise to this evil practice.
Laws against Dowry System
Dowry system is one of the most heinous social systems in the Indian society. It has also given rise to several issues such as female foeticide, abandoning of girl child, financial problems in the girl’s family, unfair means to earn money, emotional and physical abuse of the daughter-in-law. In order to curb this problem, the government has come up with laws making dowry a punishable act. Here is a detailed look at these laws:
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
By way of this act a legal system to monitor the give and take of dowry was put in place. As per this act, a penalty is imposed in the event of dowry exchange. The punishment involves a minimum of 5 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of INR 15,000 or the dowry amount based on whichever is greater. A demand for dowry is equally punishable. Any direct or indirect demand for dowry could lead to 6 months of imprisonment and a fine of INR 10,000.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
Many women are abused emotionally and physically for not meeting the dowry demands of their in laws. This law has been put in place in order to empower women against such abuse. It protects women from domestic violence. All forms of abuse including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual are punishable under this law. The punishment for different types and severity of abuse vary.
Possible Ways to Eradicate Dowry System
Despite the laws inflicted by the government, the dowry system still has a strong hold in the society. Here are a few solutions for eradicating this problem:
Lack of education is one of the main contributors to social practices such as dowry system, caste system and child labour. People must be educated to promote logical and reasonable thinking to get rid of belief systems that give rise to such evil practices.
- Empowering Women
Instead of looking for a well-settled groom for their daughters and investing all their savings in the wedding, people must spend on the latter’s education and make her self-dependent. Women must continue to work even after their marriage and focus their energy on productive things rather than succumbing to the sarcastic remarks of in-laws. Women must also be made aware of their rights and how they can use them to guard themselves from any kind of abuse.
- Gender Equality
Gender inequality that exists at the core of our society is one of the main reasons for dowry system. From a very early age, children must be taught how both males and females have equal rights and are not superior/ inferior to each other.
Apart from this campaigns should be held to sensitize the issue and the laws set by the government must be made more stringent.
Dowry system is the cause of agony for the girl and her family. The solutions mentioned here must be taken seriously and incorporated in the system to get rid of this problem. The government and general public must join hands to eradicate this system.