Why is Dowry Rising in India?

Hey Readers. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Women’s Day to all of you. Hope you will like reading about a still-relevant topic that I truly wish did not exist anymore.

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Incidences from my life have motivated me to write about the persistent social evil of dowry. In 4th grade, I was taught that dowry is illegal and a “social evil.” The teacher made a light comment, saying to go to the police if anyone practices it, which I now realize was not enough to truly convey the gravity of the issue.

Incident 1: A decade ago, I attended a wedding from the bride’s side where the topic of discussion was money. The bride’s family was well-to-do and saved a lot of money, so it wasn’t a problem for them to pay for a dowry. However, the groom’s family decided to spend as little as possible, and it remains unknown what they did with the money. It was disheartening to see that such a pervasive issue was discussed so casually.

Incident 2: The elder sister of someone I knew was getting married, and the groom’s family asked for a significant amount of dowry, which resulted in her father taking up loans. The groom’s family demanded a large sum of money in the bank account and a car, which the bride’s family could not afford. Despite her attempts to reason with the groom, the elder sister was verbally abused and shamed. It was a stark reminder of how prevalent and damaging the practice of dowry still is.

Incident 3: I also remember watching a YouTube video that explained why dowry is so common in India. It further inspired me to spread awareness about this issue, even if it is just a small contribution.

Incident 4: Moreover, I have met several young women who are against the idea of dowry. They believe that it is better to remain single than marry someone who demands money from their family. While it is commendable that some communities may not practice dowry, the problem does not end there. Gender inequality is a deep-rooted issue, and it is essential to address and challenge it in all its forms.

In conclusion, these incidents from my life have encouraged me to write about the ongoing problem of dowry. It is imperative to continue raising awareness and working toward its eradication. Only then can we hope to progress towards a more equal and just society.

The Global Gender Index Report of 2022 by the Economic Forum ranks India at 135 out of 146 countries, making it one of the lowest-ranking countries in Asia, surpassed only by Afghanistan and Pakistan. This low rank can be attributed due to an increase in domestic violence during the pandemic and the prevalence of dowry-related violence against women.

I have tried to present all logical and factual information. Please also see the references. And please let me know if any factual information here is incorrect.

Meaning and Origin of Dowry

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Dowry is a cultural practice in which a bride’s family provides gifts, property, or money to the groom’s family as a condition of marriage. The practice of dowry is most common in South Asia, but can also be found in other parts of the world. The practice can be traced back to ancient times when a dowry was seen as a way for a woman to ensure her financial security in marriage. However, in many societies, the practice of dowry has become a means for a groom’s family to demand financial or material benefits from the bride’s family as a condition for marriage, leading to financial burdens and sometimes abuse for the bride’s family. Many countries have laws that prohibit dowry or regulate it to prevent its negative consequences, but the practice continues to be a controversial issue in many communities.

There are references to a bride’s father giving gifts to the groom or his family as part of the wedding ceremony. These gifts were often meant to symbolize the father’s willingness to support the newlyweds financially.

Over time, the practice of giving gifts to the groom’s family became more formalized and began to include money, property, and other valuable items. In some cases, the groom’s family would demand a dowry as a condition of marriage, often using the bride’s family’s willingness to provide a large dowry as a way to demonstrate their wealth and social status.

The British colonial period in India, which lasted from the 18th century to the mid-20th century, saw the practice of dowry become more widespread and formalized. The British administration introduced laws that recognized the legitimacy of dowry and codified it as a part of Hindu marriage traditions.

After India gained independence in 1947, the practice of dowry became more controversial, and many women’s groups began to advocate for its abolition. In 1961, the Indian government passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, which made the practice of dowry illegal and established penalties for its violation. Despite the law, however, dowry continues to be a significant social problem in India, particularly in rural areas where traditional gender roles are entrenched.

The practice of dowry has been a part of Indian culture for centuries, but in recent years, it has become more widespread and problematic. 

These days the amount depends on caste, religion, skin tone, salary, education level, height and who knows what else, but these are some of the common factors that help to calculate the price. There is a website where you can go and calculate dowry, and while there have been many demands to remove that website. The owner of the website has refused to do so, and no one has taken any strict action against it. This is the terrible condition in this country. The Delhi High Court Monday sought a response from the Centre on a plea by a satirical website, “Dowry Calculator”, challenging the government’s decision to ban it. The lawyer for the petitioner submitted that the website makes fun of the social evil of dowry and “it is self-evident that it is a satire”.

However, it reflects the age-old thinking that “sons are seen as assets”. There is a strong preference for male children, which has been blamed for years of female feticide. This is after sex determination being illegal in India since 1994. Sex ratio in India: is 938 females to 1000 males. Dowry is more prevalent in some regions of India, particularly in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.

The Law

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Dowry has been illegal in India since 1961.

This Act may be called the Dowry Prohibition Act, of 1961. It extends to the whole of India except the States of Jammu and Kashmir. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint.

Penalty for demanding dowry:

If any person demands dowry, directly or indirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardians of a bride or bridegroom. He shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months. It may extend to two years and with a fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of fewer than six months.

However, it is not reported as a crime. You will read much news about violence against women but rarely about women reporting them. We Indians readily accept change in technology but fail to increase a woman’s status and continue to decrease it. The sad truth.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of India, which publishes annual reports on crime in the country, there were 7,115 reported cases of dowry deaths in 2019. This means that on average, one woman is killed every hour in India due to dowry-related reasons.

The Brutal Facts

In addition to dowry deaths, the NCRB also reports on other dowry-related offences, including cases of cruelty by the husband or his relatives (Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code), which accounted for 30,554 cases in 2019.

It’s important to note, however, that the number of reported cases likely underestimates the true extent of the problem, as many cases of dowry-related violence and harassment go unreported due to factors such as social stigma, fear of reprisal, and lack of awareness about legal and support services.

It’s difficult to estimate the number of people who practice dowry in India, as the practice varies across different regions, communities, and socioeconomic groups. However, dowry has historically been prevalent in many parts of India, particularly in Northern and Western states, where it is deeply ingrained in cultural practices.

According to a 2018, survey by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), about 22% of currently married women in India reported that they or their families had given dowry at the time of their marriage. The same survey also found that the prevalence of dowry was higher in rural areas (24.6%) than in urban areas (18.8%).

Often, education is considered to be a solution to social inequalities. But research shows that educated grooms tend to demand higher dowries. Education is reduced to another factor that determines your market rate.

What are Indian Families Doing?

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Dowry is intimately connected to issues of gender inequality in India, as it is a practice that primarily affects women and reinforces patriarchal norms and values.

It Brutally Affects Indian Women

1. The system of dowry places a heavy burden on women and their families, as they are expected to provide expensive gifts and cash payments to the groom and his family as a condition of marriage.

2. Dowry also contributes to the devaluation of women’s lives and reinforces the perception that women are inferior to men

3. The practice is often linked to other forms of gender-based violence, such as domestic violence, harassment, and murder. 

4. Dowry also has wider implications for gender equality in Indian society. It reinforces gendered expectations around marriage and family, which can limit women’s opportunities for education, employment, and other forms of personal and professional development. 

5. The practice can also contribute to the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and reinforce patriarchal power dynamics, which can limit women’s ability to participate fully in society and exercise their rights and freedoms. 

Dowry is Rising in India

The rise of dowry is due to the changing economic landscape in India. As the country has experienced rapid economic growth and development, the cost of living has increased, and there is a greater need for financial security. Families see providing a large dowry as a way to ensure that their daughter is well cared for and protected in her future husband’s household.  

One of the main reasons for the rise of dowry in India is the increasing influence of consumerism and materialism. In many parts of the country, there is a growing culture of ostentatious weddings and displays of wealth, and the pressure to provide a large dowry is seen as a way to compete and show off social status.

The rise of dowry is also closely tied to the persistence of patriarchal values in Indian society. Despite efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, women in India are often seen as a burden on their families, and the practice of dowry is used as a way to mitigate the financial burden of supporting a daughter.

In recent years, there have been growing calls for greater enforcement of the law and more education and awareness-raising about the negative consequences of dowry. There is a need for a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of the problem, including the need to challenge patriarchal attitudes, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, and provide greater economic opportunities for women.

Bride Price and Groom Price

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Groom price and bride price, also known as bridewealth or bride service, are practices that are similar to dowry but involve the transfer of money or goods from the groom’s family to the bride’s family. While these practices are more common in some cultures than others, they can be found in many parts of the world and can have negative impacts on women’s conditions.

One way that the groom’s price and bride’s price can worsen women’s conditions is by reinforcing gender inequalities and patriarchal norms. In many cultures, women are seen as the property of their families and the groom’s family is required to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of their daughter. This reinforces the idea that women are subordinate to men and that their value is determined by their ability to bear children and serve their husbands.

Groom price and bride price can also lead to financial exploitation and hardship for women and their families. In some cases, the groom’s family may demand exorbitant sums of money or expensive gifts, putting a significant financial burden on the bride’s family. This can lead to debt, poverty, and other forms of economic hardship.

Furthermore, the groom’s price and the bride’s price perpetuate the idea that women are disposable and can be treated as commodities. If a bride is unable to fulfill her expected duties, such as producing male heirs or serving her husband’s family, she may be subject to abuse or even abandonment.

In general, the groom’s price and the bride’s price contribute to the commodification of women and reinforce harmful gender norms. While these practices are deeply ingrained in some cultures, efforts to promote gender equality and challenge patriarchal norms can help to reduce their negative impact on women’s conditions.

How can Dowry be Eradicated from India?

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It is important to note that not all Indian people support or participate in the practice of dowry. Many individuals and families reject dowry and work to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Additionally, the younger generation in India is often more educated and more likely to reject the practice of dowry, which may lead to a gradual shift in cultural attitudes over time.

While changing cultural practices can be a slow and difficult process, it’s important to continue the work of raising awareness, challenging harmful attitudes, and promoting gender equality to address the issue of dowry and create a more just society.

Preventing dowry is a responsibility that falls on society as a whole, and there are several things that individuals can do to help eliminate this harmful practice. Here are some ways that a person can prevent dowry:

To achieve greater gender equality in India, it is necessary to address the root causes of dowry and other forms of gender-based violence. 

1. Educate oneself:

The first step to preventing dowry is to educate oneself about the issue. Learn about the negative consequences of dowry, its impact on women and families, and the legal provisions prohibiting dowry.

2. Empowering women:

to assert their rights and demand equal treatment in all spheres of life. 

3. Take a stand:

If one is asked to give or receive a dowry, one should take a firm stand against it and refuse to participate in it. One should not support or encourage the practice in any way.

4. Challenge the Patriarchy (Reminds me of F%$^ the patriarchy, All Too Well Taylor’s Version, 10 minutes Version):

It also requires challenging patriarchal norms and values and promoting a culture of respect, equality, and mutual understanding between men and women.

5. Strict law enforcement:

It is necessary to address this issue and bring about lasting change.

The government can run Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and do not get me wrong, it is an incredible campaign but it pains me to write that the government fails to strictly implement and eradicate this social evil that has plagued our society.

6. Financial Independence for women:

Women need to understand that if they are educated and earning they won’t be subjected to domestic violence, and will they be emotionally abused. Grab any opportunity and do not leave it.

 7. Report dowry demands:

If one becomes aware of dowry demands or harassment, one should report it to the authorities immediately. It is important to take a stand and not remain silent.

8. Support organizations:

Support organizations that work to eliminate dowry and promote gender equality. Donate to these organizations or volunteer your time to help them in their efforts.

Overall, preventing dowry requires a collective effort from society as a whole, and individuals can play an important role in bringing about change.

If any girls or their parents are given sympathy because they only have daughters and no sons. We do not need your sympathy. We do pity your thinking.

Thank you for reading and giving your time. Please share your thoughts and feedback related to the writing in the comments. I strive to keep on improving and learning.

Once again thank you for reading.



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