The evil of dowry is practiced in our country from ages. Despite laws against dowry, the practice still continues. It is sometimes given voluntarily by the bride’s family but mostly because the groom’s family expects or, as in many cases, demands it. The system of dowry has been banned in India since 1961. People are aware of it as an illegal act but the noxious thinking of people has led further to the devilry dowry-related problems.
The definition of dowry is very complicated. It is a centuries-old tradition in which the bride’s parents presents gifts like precious jewellery, cash, now-a-days even electronics or automobiles to the groom’s family. The reason behind the origination of this system is that a woman is not entitled to inheritance of property so should have financial security even if something happens to her husband. But it is now, in today’s world, seen as an economical transaction between two families and often as a price for the groom.
Then there is women harassment emerging out of dowry. The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women defines dowry-related violence or harassment as “any act of violence or harassment associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage.”
The handmaiden of dowry-related cases is domestic violence.
Within our Indian culture, when a woman marries she then belongs to her husband and his family. She is expected to look after the house and meet the expectations of all the family members. She is often directed and controlled by her husband’s parents. If they are not satisfied by the dowry paid by the girl’s parents, there are chances of cases of torture and abuse.
India’s National Crimes Bureau reported that one woman died every hour in India in 2012 because of dowry-related crimes. Previous figures showed that, in 2007, 8093 women were killed and 3148 took their own lives because of dowry disputes.An act of cruelty against the wife by her husband and in-laws is recorded every nine minutes in India. Most urban minds may think that these numbers are recored in rural areas but much to everyone’s surprise dowry-related crimes are also seen in urban areas and that too among well-educated families.
Survivors of dowry-related violence often require similar services as survivors of domestic violence. These women will require transport to shelters, emergency services, support programs, and legal assistance.
Also, due to addiction to liquor, drugs, women and gambling, inveterate husbands very often harass their wives for money. This is the reason why crimes against women are so high. Strict control of such areas where these vices takes place can reduce the problem, said the experts.
If we want India to develop and be a place where people want their children to grow, firstly, we need to change our mindset towards girl child and treat them equally. Parents should understand that she is and she will always be their child; even after marriage.
Secondly education plays a very important role in curbing the social evils of society. As it is rightly said that ‘when a woman of a family gets educated, the whole family gets educated.’ Increasing female education is what we need. Education is what will give the women the confidence which she needs, to stop the inequalities around her. She will become self-sufficient and so she won’t need to depend on her husband or his family or even on her parents. If she knows what her rights are she will be able to stand up for her rights. These are the areas which needs our focus on to reduce dowry-related crimes.
About the Author
Sakshi is studying in ILS Law College, Pune. She currently finished her first year of the five-year law degree course. She has cleared the Company Secretary Foundation Examination. She aspires to become a well-known corporate lawyer. She likes to take part in extra-curricular activities as well in dancing, painting, or acting in plays. It’s her firm belief that working as a team is as important as working individually. She has earlier interned under Adv. Anil Kilor of High Court of Bombay-Nagpur Bench. She was also associated with an NGO called Janmanch. She has been a part of the Organizing Committee of the Justice Tarkunde National Parliamentary Debate competition, 2014. She is currently pursuing her internship with Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.