Dowry – Social Dilemma

If we go back in time for say two decades, most marriages in India used to happen in the consent of parents and in most of the cases the girl would not get to see the boy until the day of wedding. The girl would be in her teens. Back then there were certain things a family would look for in others in terms of wealth, social status and the history of family. If all went well, the boy’s side would quote certain value for the dowry and the girls side would agree onto a certain final amount.

Fast forward time and come back to the present time. Today parents take care of their child equally well, whether it be a boy or a girl. Everyone gets educated and tries to get a job. Majority of Indians have gave up farming and everyone earns their bread by work or business. The average age of marriage has gone up by 5 years. We have come up to international platform. Now when a match making process is discussed, family looks for the background, social stature and the boy/girl education, job etc.

Things certainly seems to have improved but there are few things they have decided to stick around. Such as horoscope and dowry are certain things that come into picture in most of the communities when a marriage/match making is discussed. Certainly both of them seem irrelevant and unnecessary in this generation and the way we have shaped our life.

The people who dictate about the greatness of dowry need to understand that it does not apply to everyone and most cases today do not need dowry.

He who has gives it away, makes it difficult for he who doesn’t have and eventually the community has a hard time.

The average harmony in that community is never high, since it involves money, in turn revolves around greed, jealousy and all other dark qualities which make humans suffer.

Not every parent is in support of dowry. Over the years there have been many families and communities which have experienced deep complex problems related to money, dowry and after marriage issues related to this. Hence they have learnt the lesson a hard way. Such families and parents have decided not to support dowry in terms of taking it or giving it away. However when they come into the shoes of a parents whose daughter has been well educated and needs to be married now, they are confused. They get confused by the constant provocation and suggestions from their near and dear ones, neighbors and community heads. They wonder whether if they oppose the long held practice of dowry, will they be able get their daughter married in the community. They are worried about the classic Indian Clichy – what will the world say? (Duniya/Samajvale kya kahegi)

But if everyone thinks in this fashion, when will we see a change. And if parents don’t take a stand for their daughters, if families don’t take a stand for their child and if the girls don’t take a stand for their own life, we would still be in the same state back then two decades ago. All the fight and protest regarding the equality of females, equal opportunity and international platform everything becomes futile, since the problem rests at the core of the society. And those who have within them, those families who have made their daughters stand high in the world with education, hard work, sports they must make sure their daughters shines equally bright in marriage and in every walk of life.

It’s in the fundamental thinking as to who makes the move. Who stops thinking about the community and starts bringing a change. It is about making a mark and setting an example. There are communities where girls don’t get to study much but if a parent has made efforts to let their girl get graduate and secure a nice job, then they must certainly oppose the dowry. It should not be followed like a herd mentality. If those parents don’t oppose dowry and they give out huge sum of money since they now earn well, then they are making the biggest mistake.

Since many communities think that daughter is a ‘paraya dhan’ (someone else’s wealth) and that she must be married some day, they never let girls get good opportunities. They store all their lifes hard earned money just to give it away to some stupid family who wouldn’t even promise to take care of their girl. Whatever was being done, might be done blindly but he who has crossed the mark already and given a girl equal opportunity must not indulge in dowry as that gives a negative signal to the community.

They wonder that if getting the child is getting very expensive every year and the girl is supposed to be married with huge dowry in the future, they would instead stop her education and start accumulating all the wealth for the marriage. We will be thrown back decades. We will not be making any progress, instead we will be traveling back in time.

We need to see more examples. We need parents, families and communities thinking larger than self. We need to see girls get good educations and jobs. We need that such families oppose dowry. We can’t give up. We are here to stay for long and then why not be happy with people around us and share love and care.

Marriage is a great concept. The belief of going to someone’s life and staying together for the rest of life in good and bad times. It is a test of human emotions and qualities. Why do we need to infiltrate such wonderful aspect with stuff like dowry.

Please share your thoughts on dowry in the comment sections below.

25 thoughts on “Dowry – Social Dilemma

  1. Here in Pakistan, it is very common too. When a girl is born, from that day forth, ‘uska jaheez tayar hona suru ho jata haai’, as we like to all it.
    I have seen it in my family who are very literate and the daughters are all very working women, even in their homes, there are boxes, full of clothes, cutlery, jewelry, shoes and all sort of things already packed to been given.
    If the mother is buying a box of glasses, she buy three sets, for the her use, and two for dowry for both her daughters.
    But then again, I have seen families, where there is no concept of dowry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Truly agree with this major social taboo. Still there is huge people who believe in dowry but other side of course we must remember that numbers of family and even society had taken initiative to refuse it on large scale and this is a positive change in any community. So keeping positive thinking in mind, try to spread education n awareness towards it. Indeed so sharply u raise this issue and bfuly expressed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We used to have a dowry-like system, in which the parents of the bride would pay for the marriage (imagine having 10 daughters – ouch!). My parents recollect it was still a bit the common way when they were younger, but it’s changed a lot since then. Usually parents of both sides pay for the marriage or make a donation and the bride and groom pay the rest.
    Dowries are a bit outdated, I think. Personally I feel it could shift the focus of a good, equal relationship onto getting a larger sum to marry someone; like marriage is a business transaction and not a social occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well written post Bhanu! I believe that children should be educated about self-reliance and minimalism. These days, I notice children, adults and even many of friends give preference to the package over qualities as a human (even I used to approach like that, however, life taught me some really wonderful lessons which changed the way I see many of the things now!). We got to understand that money is important, however, it cannot become the centre point.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Well the core of the problem always lies in that – those who suffer the most have the least power in the say, however they need to restraint, because only they know it the best.

        The stories need to be shared and the feelings expressed. It must be explained and told to a larger audience about the consequences and troubles of dowry. That’s when a lot of boys will understand it. It must become a raga that is sung by everyone


  5. This is such a relevant issue. Great post. Certainly thought provoking. There are certain age-old customs that simply have to been disregarded in the modern world, dowry being one. It’s sad that even educated people follow these ridiculous norms.

    Liked by 3 people

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