The Sanctity of Marriage in Hinduism
Indian women tolerate abuse and subsequent death because they do not provide a sufficient dowry at the time of their marriage. In a culture that is male-dominated, women are raised to be the servants of their future husbands, and are often forced to marry a man that they have never met. Women that are treated poorly must suppress their feelings in order to keep their husbands happy, or to avoid being disowned by their very own families.
The women's household must pay the dowry for the privilege of marrying a man with social status. The dowry is often made up of money, merchandise, or gold, and is often displayed at the time of their marriage. (Hegde) Women are constantly mistreated because the dowry becomes insufficient later on in the marriage, and the groom's family demands more from the women's family. If the women's family cannot provide another dowry for their in-laws, the bride is usually killed. The groom keeps the dowry from the marriage, and then moves on to marry another woman, and then collects another dowry. (Hegde)
The price of the dowry is determined by the perceived value of the husband's hand in marriage. If the husband is very desirable, then he commands a high dowry. If a money offer is too low, the groom's family will not accept it because they are insulted.
Women in India marry people within their social caste. Female babies are often viewed as a burden to the father, because he must work harder to save money for her future dowry. Thus, male babies are preferred. (Hegde) This seems to be the contributing factor to female infanticide in India. Marriages can take place at any age. Brides can be married as early as six years old, and can even take place in the bride's early adulthood. (Women in Hinduism) Children are often married early to avoid any scandals regarding whether or not she is a virgin. In rare cases, the woman can choose who she marries, but is not exempt from the dowry. Parents often...
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