One of the biggest menaces of the Indian society is the dowry system. This fact that it is condemned by every modern citizen of this country and yet it still flourishes at a very large scale in our society is a testimony of how deeply rooted this system is in the Indian society.
Dowry (dahej) is one of the most ancient practices of India and Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘an amount of property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage’. But the origins of dowry are far nobler than we imagine. Dowry was started by wealthy businessmen, kings and other influential people of the society as a means to give girls their due in the ancestral property as in those times, even till recent times, all the money and property went to the sons only. Later on it was used to provide “seed money” or property for the establishment of a new household. Till then the amount and contents of dowry were decided solely by the parents of the bride.
But now dowry is demanded by the groom’s parents and marriage takes place only if a certain amount of dowry is paid by the bride’s parents. Today dowry is given as compensation to the groom’s parents for the amount they have spent in educating and upbringing their son. It is also considered a status symbol, especially in the high class, and generally the items of dowry are flaunted and hyped by both parties.
The effects of dowry system are many and varied but in almost all cases it is the girl’s side which has to face the repercussions while the boy’s side walks away from the issue unharmed, with their heads held high. When demands for dowry are not met, the bride is subject to torture, and often even killed. Most of the dowry deaths occur when the young women, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commit suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging oneself, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting her on fire which is known as ‘bride burning’ and is disguised as accident to avoid...
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