Dowry in India


Our society is suffering from many social evils at present. The dowry system is conventional virtually in all portions of India. A young woman has defined dowry as the price paid by the parents to give their daughters the post of a daughter-in-law. Parents pay huge sums of cash so that their daughters might secure a satisfactory and permanent position. Sadly, the whole thing has assured the proportions of a scandal. The grooms’ parents try to make the maximum from a matrimonial alliance. They insist on receiving a tremendous amount of money, luxury items like TV sets, refrigerators, cars and in some instances even houses.

Cases of harassment of young brides and bride burning on account of inadequate dowry have multiplied throughout the last few years. Dowry system is deeply rooted in the social order of our country. Giving away a daughter in marriage is called Kanyadan. Typically, no daan was considered to be valid unless accompanied by Dakshina. The dowry was supposed to be the Dakshina to validate the Kanyadan. Kings used to give even portions of their kingdom in dowry; common people gave a dowry composed of articles of household utility and some money. Since a girl did not enjoy a right to the parental property, the system carried a sort of moral justification.

In modern times, however, dowry is a social evil worth criticizing. Impoverished people have to incur massive debts to provide their daughter with a handsome dowry. This wrecks them financially. Many people resort to illegal means to meet dowry demands, which poses a grave threat to the moral values of society. The daughters of poor parents consider themselves a burden on their family plus they either opt for a life of contemptuous spinsterhood or commit suicide. The dowry system is also evil since it perpetuates the myth of male superiority. Parents of extremely educated boys try to demand a large amount of dowry both in cash and in kind.

Occasionally the girls commit suicide when their in-laws persecute them to bring more money increasingly from their parents. Sometimes the greedy husbands along with their parents also kill their wives, when they aren’t given large dowry. This accounts for the spurt in case of bride burning and violence on women. The supporter of the dowry system gives numerous arguments to justify it. According to them, it’s an excellent method of setting up an establishment for the newlyweds. The 2nd argument is that since the brides’ parents are quite demanding about the grooms’ income, his qualifications, his property, why shouldn’t the groom get a price for what he’s to offer? They think that marriage is a girls’ life insurance coverage and so the dowry is the premium.


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