"Dowry" refers to money, goods or property that a woman brings into the marriage - it is paid by the woman's family to the man's family. Dowry is practiced mainly in South Asian countries, such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka. According to Goody (quoted by Ranjana Kumari 1989, p3), “Dowry can be seen as a type of pre-mortem inheritance to the bride”. Thambiah defines Dowry as “Wealth given to a daughter at her marriage for the couple to use as the nucleus of their conjugal estate, by and large we can say that dowry in India and Ceylon (Srilanka) the notion of female property (Streedhanam) which technically is her property and in her own control though the husband usually has rights of management”. (Quoted by Kumari 1982, p3) A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to a marriage. Dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well predate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected in some parts of the world, mainly South Asia. There are several possible functions for a dowry system. One function of a dowry may be to provide the husband with "seed money" or property for the establishment of a new household and to help feed and protect the family. Another may be to provide the wife and children with some support if he were to die. Another function of the dowry may be as compensation for bride price. This may be the case in cultures where the dowry and bride price are both customary. Many authors believe that the giving and receiving of dowry reflects social status and even the effort to climb higher in a social hierarchy. A dowry may also have served as a form of protection for the wife against the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family, providing an incentive for the husband not to harm his wife. This would apply in cultures where a dowry was expected to be returned to the bride's family if she died...