India Dowry Deaths: There is a saying that “marriages are made in heaven”, especially “arranged” marriages. I have quoted the word ‘arranged’ because in Indian society marriages that are arranged by the family are not marriages but a transaction. Every hour, India sees at least one dowry death. While we are too busy asking log kya kahenge, women in India suffer abusive marriages to keep family ‘honour’ and their families spend their entire life saving for dowries.
One of friends sent me news of death by suicide of a 22 year old girl in Kerala. The reason for the suicide is abuse from the husband and his family because the given dowry was ‘not enough’ for them even though they reportedly received 100 sovereigns of gold, more than an acre of land and a Toyota car as dowry during the wedding.
Why do such stories not end our faith in marriages that are driven by dowry?
This dowry story is not new. We have all grown up in a society where girls are killed because not enough dowry was given. This was an arranged marriage, I have seen many of these marriages in my family circle and friends and the practice of dowry is unavoidable in any case – whether you come from a small family, big family or poor or rich family.
When the boy’s family refuses…
Even when the guy’s family says we don’t need any dowry (very rare) I have seen that girl’s family saying “we would give because of it’s a matter of honour for us.” Leave aside that this honour has killed more number of women than any serial killers in this world?
Even in this Kerala case the girl was abused but she didn’t want to break the relationship and get divorced because she was worried about her parent’s honour. What would people say when she left her husband? In India’s women are raised to believe that their husband’s house or marriage alone brings from honour in society. And that when women choose to leave difficult marriages, it’s somehow their fault.
I have never understood why parents can’t just care about what the child wants not about the society or family wants? Why does everyone care so much about the honour that it becomes more important than the welfare of your own children?
It’s true I cannot change the whole society or even my friends or family then what’s the point of all this going against the tide? The answer is simple, if I make one person think about these issues it’s a victory for me. There are many people like me who use social media to share their views and raise their voice.
When I get married to someone I love, and not the person my parents arrange for me, or if remain single or choose to be childfree, I will want it to be my decision. We need to break the cycle of – grow up, study, work, marry, have children and seek retirement.
Marriage should be about love. It should not be about the person’s beauty or material goods like properties. It should also not be about caste or religion. I said all the traditions during and after marriage need to be dropped because the dowry comes in that traditions. We should abolish it, think about how many lives that have lost, how many dreams that have been shattered because of these practices, even with all the education and development we still cling to these inhumane practices.
This is an article by direct contribution. Views and info expressed is author’s own and not that of SheThePeople.
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