In India, dowry (Hindi: दहेज, Dahēja) is the payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to a bridegroom's family along with the bride. Generally, they include cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newlywed set up her home.
Wedding gifts of the son of the imam of Delhi India with soldiers and 2000 guests The dowry system is thought to put great financial burden on the bride's family. It has been cited as one of the reasons for families andwomen in India resorting to sex selection in favor of sons. This has distorted the sex ratio of India (940 females per thousand males) and may have given rise to female foeticide. The payment of a dowry has been prohibited under The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Contents
3 Social factors
4 Economic factors
5 Domestic violence
5.1 Physical abuse
5.2 Emotional abuse
6 See also
8 External links
The trends regarding dowry in India vary across the nation. Over the last few decades, there has been an observed transition from the brideprice system, where wealth flows from the groom to the bride’s family, to the dowry system where wealth flows in the opposite direction. According to studies, areas in south India have traditionally practiced the brideprice system, even among upper castes. In the north, societal differences in marriage led upper castes to practice a dowry system, while in lower classes brideprice was more common.
Wedding Procession- Bride Under a Canopy with Gifts. Circa 1800 In the last 100 years, the dowry system has taken over the brideprice system, and the existing dowry system is becoming more entrenched in cultures that have practiced it traditionally. According to research, brideprice has been declining since the beginning of the 20th century, and today very little is still in practice. Rather, dowry has been growing both in families participating and in cost across India.Studies show there are also variations on dowry prevalence based on geography and class. States in the north are more likely to participate in the dowry system among all classes, and dowry is more likely to be in the form of material and movable goods. In the south, the brideprice system is still more likely, and is more often in the form of land, or other inheritance goods. This system is tied to the social structure of marriage, which keeps marriage inside or close to family relations. Dowry also varies by class, or caste, in India. Upper-class families are more likely to engage in the dowry system than the lower class. This could be in part due to women’s economic exclusion from the labor market in upper classes. Laws
See also: Dowry law in India
Dowry became prohibited by law in 1961 with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry. Although providing dowry is illegal, it is still common in many parts of India for a husband to seek a dowry from the wife's family, in some cases leading to extortion or violence against the wife. To stop offences of cruelty by the husband or his relatives against the wife, section 498A was added to the Indian Penal Code and section 198A to the Criminal Procedure Code in 1983. Section 498A has been criticised by many in India as being prone to misuse. The law was challenged in court, but upheld by the Supreme Court of India in 2005. Social factors
Social changes across time have contributed to the modern dowry system in India. Some of the social factors influencing dowry include tradition, increased women’s rights, and the “marriage squeeze”, which is the shortage of eligible men for marriage. Tradition is certainly one explanation given by scholars to address the prevailing dowry system. One aspect...
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