The century-old custom of dowry is still prevalent in today’s modern era. Even more disturbing is that the demands of the man’s family are accepted by the girl’s family readily. However, things are changing, and for good. A network of about 1.2 lakh women has risen against the practice of dowry in Uttar Pradesh, reported TOI.

Sanghs formed in 19 districts of UP

Known as sanghs, these women groups are formed under the guidance of Mahila Samakhya. It is a body formed under the ministry of human resource development to promote women’s empowerment initiatives.

42-year-old Ram Janki, who belongs to Gorakhpur’s Jangal Maghi village, and is a sangh member said dowry is the root cause of all problems. She had laid a condition before her son’s marriage. It was that the marriage be solemnised in a simple ceremony and without exchange of dowry. Her demand took her husband, son and even in-laws by surprise.

In Mau’s Dhelabad Gaon village, Maina Devi told her daughter-in-law’s parents that they will not be accepting dowry at all. Parents of the bride-to-be were in utter shock on hearing that there was no demand for dowry. 

Dowry at the root of many gender discriminatory practices

Smriti Singh, director, Mahila Samakhya, told TOI, “The Sanghs work as pressure groups against all issues that can bother women and children. Gender discriminatory practices such as dowry, domestic violence, sexual violance, not sending girl child to schools are a few example. The groups also work to create awareness on these issues to  prevent such practices.” 

According to Smriti, about 8,200 sanghs were working in 16,636 villages of 19 districts. Each of these sanghs comprise 15-20 women which makes them a body of over 1.2 lakh. These women ensure that the custom of dowry doesn’t take place at least in the wedding of their children. Many times, they marry off their children in families of other sangh members to ensure a dowry-less marriage, TOI reported.

More power to these women!

More stories by Bhawana

Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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