Topics: Marriage, Dowry, Bride burning Pages: 8 (2998 words) Published: November 15, 2013



This research paper focuses on the dowry system of pakistan . It discusses how dowry is a common problem not only in pakistan but also in other South Asian countires . The main objectives of this paper were to find why people give dowry even though most of the people are against this evil system and how the concept of dowry has changed over the years . It highlights on the issues such as domestic violence and bride burning which are the common consequences of not paying dowry in pakistan and in also other South Asian countries such as India and Bangladesh . A few suggestions have been discussed in the end about how to put an end to this evil system of dowry . Research was carried out by reviewing various research papers which were previously written regarding the dowry system and various sources from the internet were used to provide a comprehensive discussion regarding the isssue of dowry . INTRODUCTION

A dowry can be defined as everything a girl brings with her in a marriage : jewelry , money , property or consumer goods. The root of dowry comes from several years ago , when the initial reason of giving a dowry was to help the newly married couple to start a new life (Dowry -Wikipedia , n.d.) It was more like a gift from parents to their daughters since the daughters did not have a share in the inheritance . But gradually , the concept of dowry changed and instead of 'gifts' for the bride , it became 'demands' of the groom and the in laws . The practice of dowry , which was once a voluntary act has now become a compulsory one (Chaudary , n.d. ) Dowry system is extremely common in most of the South Asian countries including Pakistan , India, Nepal , Bangladesh , Afghanistan and Vietnam . There are alternate ways in which dowry can be paid and it differs from society to society . It may include cash , money , jewelry , furniture , household appliances , property or anything which can help to set up the lives of the newly weds ( Dowry - n.d. ). However in Pakistan , the greed of groom's family does not end with these expensive gifts . An immense pressure is also applied on the bride's parents to spend lavishly on the wedding through designer clothes , expensive jewelry and grand decorations ( Gulzar et al, 2012). There is also a custom in some Pakistani families where the bride's parents are supposed to gift a house to the new couple , which is a huge burden on parents as there is only a minorty who can afford to give houses as dowry . Majority of the population struggles to own a house of their own hence its next to mpossible to gift their daughters a house , adding more burden on parents if they have more than one daughter .And the sad part about all this is that all classes are part of this evil system including the educated upper class. However the class which suffers the most is the middle class.

As soon as a girl is born , her parents start to worry about saving for her dowry . They start with holding back economic resources so that by the time the daughter reaches the age of marriage , they are able to provide a respectable amount of dowry for her . ' An average expenditure on dowry in a middle class family is above 0.3 to 0.4 million rupees' (Perveen et al , 2012 ) Research shows that parents who are too poor or who fear the burden of dowry may often abort their child if they find out the sex of the child . Hence one reason for dowry being a social problem in south asian countries is that it leads to female foeticide , another very important social issue ( Ghansham , 2002) . There is great pressure on parents to work hard and they are often forced to beg , take loans or keep their houses on mortage in order to collect money for their daughter's dowry ( Shaz , n.d.) Girls are deprived of higher education since parents want to save their educaton money for dowry . It is also a widely...

References: Anderson, S. (2007). The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(4), 151- 174.
Arunachalam, R., & Logan, T. (2008). IS THERE DOWRY INFLATION IN SOUTH ASIA?. Paper submitted to NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH ( Massachusetts) . Retrieved from
Chowdhury, A
Gulzar, S., Nauman, M., Yahya, F., Ali, S., & Yaqoob, M. (2012). Dowry System in Pakistan. Asian Economic and Financial Review, 2, 784-794.
Niaz, U. (2004). Women 's mental health in Pakistan. World Psychiatry, 3(1), 60-62. Retrieved from
Perveen, R
Perveen, R., Hadi, R., Moomi, Z., & Latif, R. (2012). Forgotten : Dowry: A socially endorsed form of violence in Pakistan. Retrieved from
Shaikh, N
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