We celebrate Women’s Day every year with different themes. This year, the theme is #chooseTochallenge so I #chooseTochallenge. If marriage is a vehicle, where male and female are two equals, why is dowry given by the bride’s family? While both males and females make equal efforts to nurse their families; in married life, the first sacrifice comes from the bride’s side, she changes everything: from her identity viz. name, place, and priorities to everything to make the marriage a success. Logically, this is enough from the bride’s side.
Now it’s the groom’s responsibility to fulfill his side of the commitment. Instead, you force or traumatize the bride and her parents for money and goods. It is getting ugly day by day, ransoming expensive gifts and vehicles from the girl’s family. Due to this, many innocent lives are being ended. In the recent sensational case of Ayesha, a young lady committed suicide diving in the Sabarmati River due to dowry demands. Her last helpless words have awoken us. Many such cases were unseen. In 2019, dowry death cases in India amounted to more than 7.1 thousand (Published by Statista Research Department).
Dowry neither fits into rationality nor is affirmed by religion, and not endorsed by civil society. It has no place in a civilized society. Dowry is a Sin, a sin which is being practiced for long in Indian society irrespective of caste and class in the name of tradition or culture. It is not a tradition or culture but a ‘Curse’ for a society that has devastated or is devastating many homes, every minute. If we consider ourselves civilized or educated, then we must abandon this evil atrocious practice with immediate effect, as we did in the past through many social reforms. It is is high time to strike down such conservative practices to save or sustain the Indian family system.
The first step to counter it has to be taken within the family. We have to train & teach, both boys and girls, that marriage is a union of male and female in an equal partnership where each has to play his/her role equally. No one is superior or inferior and both deserve love and respect. For making marriage a success, parents must teach boys also of their responsibility. Here, all expectations and values judged in girls need to be balanced. I appeal through this medium to parents and boys who are reading this: please abandon the practice of dowry. It’s not a matter of pride but a shame for you and a curse for society. Teach your son and daughter to give respect and love to his/her partner. And also teach your girl child to be empowered enough to put across her thoughts and take a stand against this bullshit if it comes to you, do not take your life.
Our Indian culture is deep-rooted in patriarchy and encourages only the male child’s education. An educated girl can educate the whole family, kin, and society; without educating them you can’t build a progressive society. I request parents that if you want to bring change in society, teach your girls to become independent not only in finances but also in thoughts, ideas and decisions. I also appeal to girls to ‘educate yourself if you want to bring change: whether it’s within you, your family, community, or nation you must have knowledge or power. Many governments or non-government organizations are working to empower women. Rising Tree is one of them, working for girls’ education and women’s empowerment, especially targeting marginalized sections of society. It runs women’s enlightenment centers in remote areas of Jharkhand with no access to school or college for children or girls. You should promote or support these types of work or initiatives so that it gives maximum benefit to the needy. Raise and Rise.
Bushra Afreen is a former student of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and has also completed her B.Ed. from Central University of Jharkhand. She is recently associated with Rising Tree Enlighten Center for Women for bringing change in the lives of the marginalised groups. (email: email@example.com)