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Essay on “The Dowry System” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

THE DOWRY SYSTEM

OR

THE CURSE OF DOWRY

Essay No. 01

 

‘Dowry’ according to the dictionary, means the property which a woman brings to her husband at the time of her marriage.  Originally, it must have meant property represented by the voluntary gifts given to the girl by her parents, relatives and friends out of love and affection, at the time of her marriage.  May be these gifts were given to the girl in order  to enable her to set up a new home out of a sense of social responsibility.  The system of dowry must be as old as the institution of marriage itself.  It must also have been a universal practice.  Every father wants to give some presents to his daughter when she is leaving his home for good and starting life afresh.  There is nothing  unusual, bad abnormal about it.

                But as time passed, the system degenerated into an evil custom.  It came to be looked upon as an evil and a curse.  The dowry became an all- important and a primary factor in marriage.  It became necessary for the parents of the girl to give a good dowry to her whether they could afford it or not.  Worse still, the married life of a girl came to depend upon dowry.  Marriage became impossible in the absence of a handsome dowry.  Several girls, whose parents could not afford a good dowry, had to commit suicide as their greedy in-laws made their lives miserable.  Newspapers are full of reports carrying harrowing tales of brides being burnt to death or driven to hang themselves because of constant nagging by their in laws.  Some of the step-daughters of fortune choose the hangman’s noose while others consume poison or jump down the multi-storeyed buildings to deliver themselves from the clutches of the inhuman dowry seekers.

                It is really tragic that in the progressive world of today, the evil of dowry continues to exist in all its horrid forms.  Many homes are broken and several families are driven to ruin only because they are too poor to afford a rich dowry.  Previously, in the selection of a bribe, her family background, education and her intrinsic worth used to be the primary consideration.  Now, dowry is the first and the only consideration in a majority of the matrimonial alliances.  As a result, dowry, which was at one time a token of love and affection, has become a cause of oppression and exploitation of the worst order.

 

                Some parents have to incur heavy debts for giving dowry.  At times, they remain under debt for the whole of their life.  Sometimes, the girl’s parents fill to raise the necessary funds for marriage.  They are compelled to commit suicide in disgust and despair.  No wonder, therefore, that the birth of a daughter is looked upon as a bolt from the blue.

                In the recent past, the Government of India and many states have taken some anti-dowry steps.  In some states, dowry has been made a cognizable offence.  But legal steps are not enough.  We have to create a social climate which does not favour giving and taking of dowry.   Dowry seekers must be singled out and condemned.  The Government should implement the anti-dowry bill strictly in the right spirit  Nobody, however highly placed, should be allowed to violate the law.  Expenses at the marriage celebrations should be cut down.  Needy married couples should be given loans and grants to help them set up their homes.  They can be asked to refund these loans in easy installments.  Voluntary  social service organizations and religious heads should encourage dowryless marriages in large numbers.  Girls should come forward to raise a banner of revolt against the dowry seekers.  They should refuse to marry such boys as expect a dowry.

                There is another dimension to the anti-dowry act promulgated by the government.  This law is being exploited by some girls or their parents to blackmail the boys or their families after marriage. On threat of charge of prosecution for asking for dowry, husbands are being forced to shell out huge sums of money to get a divorce.  This practice must be looked into and steps should be taken to see that no family is unnecessarily harassed or exploited.  Divorce should be made easier to obtain.  Boys and girls should both be given equal rights in the matter of obtaining a divorce.

                In order to root out the evil of dowry from the society, we shall have to build up a strong public opinion against it.  Boys and girls in schools and colleges should be made to take a pledge that they would neither seek nor give dowry.  They should be educated through films, television plays and talks, slides camps, lectures and radio talks.  Such boys as refuse to accept dowry in their marriages should be honoured in public.  If we succeed in removing the evil of dowry, it will be really a praiseworthy achievement.

 

Essay No. 02

 

Dowry System

 

The dowry system is an age old system and a peculiar phenomenon of the Indian society. It is, as today, a curse to the society.

Dowry is the name given to all that, the parents of a girl give to her when she gets married. At the face of it, the system seems quite appropriate, healthy and logical, for in this simple way, the parents of the girl help her in setting a new home. So far, so good and, originally also the purpose of dowry was very justified and understandable.

Let us now analyze how and why this system took birth at all? In the earlier times of Indian society, the daughter had no share in the father’s property so, by way of dowry the girl would get at least some portion of her share. Besides this, in those days, the girls were not educated so, this dowry could serve the girl as a back up support system in case of any emergency after her marriage. Seeing this as the ground reality and the reason for the system for having taken birth, no right thinking people would call the system wrong or unjustified. However, with the passage of time this same fine system has taken the ugly shape of begging for dowry, bargaining for dowry, auctioning the boy to the highest bidder and finally suicides. This is because, taking advantage of the system, the parents of the boys, have Started demanding dowry. This was never done in the original shape of the system. The girl’s parents would give whatever they could and, there would be NO – yes,  No demands from the boy’s side. Besides demanding items of dowry, now parents of the boy’s family keep items of the dowry for their own use. This was also not in the original system for, whatever was given was for the girl only- and never for the boy’s family. These two additions in the original system have converted the blessing for the girl into a curse for her. The parents who cannot afford to meet the demands of the boy’s family are forced either into taking loans that they can never return, or use unfair means of corruption to make money to meet the demanded expenses In turn, this has led to even committing suicides by the girls murders of girls by the in-laws. At times even before the marriage, the girl is led to kill herself to save her parents from the trauma of collecting money for her marriage.

 Thus, we see that, a system that was at one time very wise and discreet, has taken an ugly shape just because of the deed of men and women in today’s world. This system of dowry has become a slur on the Indian society. Besides being a shame, in today’s scenario, the system as it was even in the initial stages of its existence, has become quite irrelevant. This is because, both the reasons for its birth are now not in vogue. These days, girls are usually educated and can earn a livelihood if need arises, and, they now also have a share, an equal share as the brothers have in the father’s property. That means the necessity of the girl having an amount to reach out in the days of crisis or emergency does not hold good any more. So, when the very basis of the system does not exist, the system should be scrapped altogether. This is because; the system instead of bringing solace, only generates greed and even crime in several cases

My view is that, the system as it exists should be put to an end and all those who indulge in it should be punished severely.

 

Essay No. 03

 

The Evil of Dowry System

 

It  is  one  of  the  tragedies  of  modern  times  that  despite  the  spread  of education,  change  in  traditional  beliefs,  customs  and  manners,  the  condition women  remains  largely  unchanged.  Despite  the  promulgation  of  several laws designed  to  ameliorate  the  lot  of  women,  evils  such  as  dowry  continue causing  havoc  in  the  lives  of parents  and the  young  girls.

The  custom  of  dowry  was  started  by  our  forefathers  with  a  practical  purpose. Pie  girl  was  given  gifts  and  jewellery  at  the  time-  of  her  marriage  so  that she  could  start  life  afresh  without  feeling  weighed  down  by  everyday  needs of  life.  Another  reason  for  giving  away  part  of  the  possessions  was  that the  girls  were  not  entitled  to  any  share  in  the  property  by  right.  Only the boys  could  be  the  legal  heirs  to the  wealth and  property  left  by the  parents.

But  over the  years, the  custom  of  dowry  has  degenerated.  Marriage has become  like  a business  transition,  where  the  terms  are  dictated  by   the boy’s  parents.  The financial  terms  are  settled  much  in  advance  of  the actual  marriage  ceremony.  Even  if  the  girl’s  parents  do  everything  in accordance  with  the  wishes  of  the  groom  and  his  parents,  there  is  no guarantee  of  a  happy  future  for  their  daughter.  Every day the newspaper headlines bring this fact home that the evil  of  dowry  is  playing  havoc with  the lives  of young  girls.  The suicide pact of sisters  in  Kanpur  some time back  is still  fresh  in  public  memory.  The girls, unable  to agony of  their  parents, took  the  fatal  step  and  ended  their  lives.  Such incidents should  shake the  public  out  of  its  apathy,  but  it  is  sad  that  after a  little  noise  by  women  activists,  social  workers,  etc.  the controversy   died a  natural  death.

The  custom  is  widely  prevalent  in  the  country  among  the  rich,  middle class  ,as  well  as  the  poor. Almost  all  communities  practice  this  custom. The custom  is  inseparably  connected  with  the  institution  of  arranged marriages. An  overwhelming  majority  among  young  girls,  are  brought  up to  believe  that  their  final destination  is  marriage.  Lately, many girls are opting  for  careers.  But  it  is  at  best  a  secondary  aim,  which  might  be pursued  in  conjunction  with  and  not  to  the  exclusion  of  marriage.  The law  that  Manu,  the ancient  Hindu  law-giver,  once  laid  down;  that  a  woman must  remain  subject  to  her  father  in  childhood,  to  her  husband  in  youth and  to  her  sons  when  she  becomes  a  widow,  holds  good  as  well  today  & it  did  thousands  of  years  ago.

This  presupposes  that  in  a  woman’s  life  marriage  is  as  inevitable  as  birth and  death.  First  because  she  needs  physical  protection  at  all  stages  in  her life and secondly  because she  is  economically  less  productive  than  man. The  accepted  popular  notion  that   the  ultimate  destiny  of  a  girl  is  marriage, is  symbolic  of  her  inferior  status  in  a  male  dominated  society.  The girl if, first educated and then pushed into a marriage. She is expected to surrender totally and completely forget her identity.  In  some  communities  in  face: the  girls  are  given  a  new  name  to  remind  them  of  their  new  life.  Parents out  of  social  pressures,  try  to  many  off  their  daughters  as  early  as  possible. But  a  young  educated  girl  inwardly  rebels  at  the  prospect  of entering a home where  her  sole  qualification  is  the  dowry  that  she  brings  with  her. The girls have not been able  to  show  courage  to  defy  these  traditions. The  Centre  for  Social  Science Research  has  found after a  study  that  91 per  cent  of  dowry  victims  were  educated  young  girls.

Today,  dowry  .has  cut  all  barriers  of  caste,  colour  and  creed.  Growing materialism is responsible for the custom of dowry becoming moil widespread.  People have become more materialistic.  Values have changed Money has become the yardstick to judge a man.  Human greed has become limitless.  Human  life  is  sacrificed  at  the  altar  of  greed  without  any  qualms.

In  recent  years  there  has  been  a  lot  of  agitation  against  this  evil  social practice.  The Dowry Prohibition  Act  was  passed  in 1961.  It was again amended in 1986.  The  Bill  to  amend  Dowry  Prohibition  Act  made  dowry offences  non-boilable;  raised  minimum  punishment  for  taking  dowry  Id,: five  years;  imposed  ban  on  any  advertisement  in  any  newspaper  etc. offering, share of  property  in  consideration  of  marriage.  However,  these  legislation efforts  of  social  workers  and  woman  activists  seem  to  have  been  largely ineffective in  exorcising  the  ghost whose shadow  darkens  the  lives  of many,  young  girls.

It  is  said  that  law  is  a  poor  instrument  of  social  reform.  Efforts  to  arouse collective  conscience  of  the  community  against  the  evil  have  to  be made.  There  is  hope  for  change  only  if  there  is  a  social awakening  and the crusade  against  dowry  crystallizes  into  a  public  movement,  a  social protest.  Above  all,  what  is  needed  is  a  change  in  social  attitude  towards women.  The education should inculcate among them a sense of dignity and self-respect.  It  should  create  self-confidence  in  them  and  equip  them-so  that  they  can  become  economically  independent.  Marriage should not be their ultimate, inevitable goal.  More employment opportunities should be made available to them.

Education is a very powerful instrument of social change.  Efforts  should be  made  to  educate  the  young  from  an early  age about  such  evil  practices, their  origin and need for change,  etc. in the  present  context.

The  media  too  plays  a  very  crucial  role  in  molding  public  opinion.  In fact  advertising   industry  must  realize its  social  obligation  and  not  encourage advertisements  which  have  an  unhealthy  effect  on  the society.

Joint  efforts  by  the  government,  women’s  organizations,  socially  enlightened people  are  likely  to  yield  results.  Of course, the change will come slowly. It will be long before the evil can be completely stamped out.  But once a collective  effort  is  made,  there  is  hope  of  the  social evil  being  wiped  out. Indeed,  the  crusade  against  dowry  needs  to  be  crystallized  into  a  public movement  and  a  massive  social  protest.

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commentscomments

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