As soon as I opened my eyes I saw the big and bold headline on the newspaper, “Dowry tales: Woman set on fire by husband, in-laws.”
According to reports, “24-year-old Jyoti died after she was allegedly set on fire by her husband and in-laws on Sunday as her parents could not meet dowry demand of 10000 dollars.” (live).
Day by day this dreadful evil is taking away so many lives. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes.(Sinha) Reading the Newspaper I remembered what Gandhi said,
“Any Young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and dishonors womanhood.” - M. K. Gandhi (Majumdar 79).
Womanhood is being dishonored by this heinous deed, especially in sub continental societies, who are suffering from this social evil at the moment. The dowry system is prevalent virtually in all parts of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Dowry has been defined by a young lady as "the price paid by the parents for getting their daughters the post of a daughter-in-law"(Gupta). Parents pay huge sums of money so that their daughters may secure a satisfactory and permanent post. Unfortunately, the whole affair has assured the proportions of a scandal. The groom's parents try to extract the maximum from a matrimonial alliance. They insist on receiving huge amount of cash, luxury items like television sets, VCR's, refrigerators, cars, scooters and in certain cases even houses. Cases of harassment exist where young brides are losing all of their savings on account of dowries multiplying during the recent years.
Giving away a daughter in marriage is called 'Kannyadaan'. Here ‘Kannya” means ‘Girl’ and ‘Daan’ means ‘to give away something permanently’. However people believe that woman and man are not equal, so when a woman is married she has to bring something valuable to adjust her weight/value with the man. Some people also think that it will help the bride-groom to ensure a better future for his family.
Nowadays people think that a dowry consists of articles of household utility, gold ornaments and some cash. Since a girl enjoys no right to the parental property, and the system carries some kind of a moral justification.
I’ve seen this felonious deed and its consequences with my very own eyes. I’ve seen how my beautiful cousin was humiliated and suffered from dowry system. Hoimonti, my cousin, is a 21-year-old modern girl raised and educated in Dhaka. Her parents are educated and they belong to the middle class of our society. She was the only child of her parents, so she is very affectionate to her parents.
Like every other girl, she has dreamed about her wedding day since her adolescence. She dated a guy and decided to get married to him with the blessing of both parents. Both of their families supported their decision. As she was their only daughter, my uncle spent almost all of his money on this marriage. Expensive ornaments were all over her body. She was full of diamond and gold ornaments and dressed like a princess. The matter of dowry was not discussed as the she and her parents considered it to be a vicious practice. But her husband’s parents were silent at that time as they were pretty much happy with the gold made ornaments. But the silence did not last very long.
Her parents sent her to her husband’s house with the conviction that their daughter will be treated like a queen. But the scenario was far more different then their imagination.
A week later, my aunt called Hoimonti, “How are you my precious daughter?” she asked.
“Mom I’m happier than I ever imagine,” Hoimonti replied. But her mom easily understood her frigid voice. She thought something was wrong. So she stormed to Hoimonti’s house and rang the bell. Hoimonti’s father in law opened the door with a sweet smile and told her to come inside. “I want to see my child, where is she?” aunty asked sternly. “She is in her room but she is not feeling very well” he replied...