On May 29, Maneka Gandhi, Union Women and Child Development Minister, in a letter to the Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, sought the blocking of a website which claims to calculate dowry amount for prospective grooms. She also demanded action against its developers.
Website “dedicated to all match-making aunties of India”
Gandhi pointed out that the website, http://www.dowrycalculator.com, is not only shameful but is illegal as it promotes dowry. Dowry Calculator takes into account details like the groom’s age, caste, profession, salary, university, skin colour and height to calculate the expected dowry amount.
The minister demanded immediate blocking of the website, as reported by PTI. Gandhi put in a request with the Secretary in the ministry of WCD to initiate proceedings under the Dowry Prohibition Act in this issue. The practice of dowry is a punishable offence in India. The website claims to be a satirical attempt at the practice of dowry. Dowry Collector claims it’s “dedicated to all match-making aunties of India”.
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 31, 2018
Owners say it’s just a satire
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia tweeted to the Prime Minister’s office and Ministry of Women and Child Development. Reporting this portal, he demanded immediate action.
Someone just brought this site to my attention. Absolutely shameful! Let me remind the developers that giving or taking dowry is illegal in India. I urge the @MinistryWCD, @PMOIndia to take immediate action against this.https://t.co/KQWBxQtd7J
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) May 28, 2018
Tanul Thakur, who holds the rights for the website, tweeted that it was a satire. Tweeting from his account, Thakur posted a screenshot of Scindia’s tweet with a caption, “Calm down, it’s a satire. (But thanks for directing traffic to the website.)”
In 2015, match-making website Shaadi.com introduced a special calculator. The calculator, instead of showing the groom’s worth, pointed out statistics of dowry deaths in India. This was part of a campaign to spread social awareness.
The website, satire or not, is bound to draw fury as headlines of dowry deaths in India come out every other day. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2016, about 1.8% of all violent crime includes dowry deaths. 2016 recorded a total of 7,621 dowry death incidences. In India, customs and traditions are re-established with changing times. However, dowry is one custom that resists change in some places even today.
Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.TV