INTRODUCTION: Dowry, or Dahej, is one of the deep-rooted societal evils that is developing at an unprecedented rate in contemporary culture. While it is undeniable that modern individuals criticize it, the practice differs according to the area, caste, and faith.
This evil is silently claiming the lives of innocent married women, from becoming a financial burden on a daughter’s family to wasting money. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran, to name a few, have a greater rate of dowry deaths than other developing and undeveloped nations.
Despite the fact that our Constitution guarantees women equal rights, has our patriarchal society stopped viewing them as more than a personal possession? Simply put, the famed dowry system dehumanizes women by treating them as commodities to be traded.
IMPACT OF DOWRY SYSTEM:
1.) Gender Discrimination– Due to the dowry system, women are frequently treated as liabilities and are generally subjected to subordination and second-class treatment in terms of education and other amenities.
2.) Having an Impact on Women's Careers– The greater background for the practice of dowry is women’s underrepresentation in the workforce and, as a result, their lack of financial independence. Poorer families put their daughters to work in order to save money for their dowry. Regular middle and upper-class families send their daughters to school, but they do not place a high value on professional alternatives.
3.) Many Women Remain Single– Despite being educated and professionally capable, an untold number of females in the country remain unmarried indefinitely because their parents are unable to meet the demand for a pre-marriage dowry.
4.) Objectification of Women– Today’s dowry is more like a financial investment by the bride’s family in order to gain access to influential connections and money-making opportunities. Women are reduced to commodities as a result of this.
5.) Crime Against Women– The dowry system has been linked to a variety of crimes against women, ranging from emotional abuse and injury to death.
1.) Recognizing the Limitations of Political Solutions to Social Issues– No law can be implemented without the people’s full cooperation. Enacting a law, without a doubt, establishes a pattern of behavior, engages social conscience, and aids social reformers in their efforts to repeal it. However, a social problem like dowry will not be eradicated unless the principle behind the law is carried much farther by the people.
2.) Educating Girls– One of the most potent and precious gifts that parents can provide to their daughters is education and freedom. This will enable her to be financially stable and a contributing part of the family, earning her respect and proper family standing. As a result, the finest dowry any parent can provide their daughter is a good education and encouragement to pursue a career of her choice.
3.) Dowry Acceptance Should Be Considered A Social Stigma– Dowry acceptance should be made a social stigma that affects all generations. It is necessary to raise public awareness about the negative effects of the dowry system in order to achieve this.
In this context, the Union and State governments must take effective initiatives to increase ‘anti-dowry literacy’ among the public on a ‘continuous’ basis through Lok Adalats, radio broadcasts, television, and newspapers.
The only way to effectively tackle the threat posed by the dowry system is for youth to step forward. To broaden their minds and broaden their outlook, they must be taught moral value-based education.
4.) Multi-stakeholder approach– Dowry is not a one-size-fits-all problem, so society should make every effort to achieve gender equality. To combat gender disparity, states should examine gender-disaggregated data across the life cycle — birth, early childhood, schooling, nutrition, livelihood, access to healthcare, and so on. Expanding childcare and providing safe public transportation, as well as reducing prejudice in employment and creating affirming job environments, are all necessary. At home, men and women should share domestic responsibilities and responsibilities.
DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961: The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 combined anti-dowry legislation that had been approved in a number of states. Section 3 of this law imposes punishment on anyone who gives, accepts, or aids in the giving or getting of dowry. The penalty might include a minimum of 5 years in prison and a fine of more than $15,000 or the value of the dowry received, whichever is greater. Dowry is defined as any property or valued security offered or agreed to be given in conjunction with a marriage under the Act. The penalty for giving or receiving dowry does not apply to gifts supplied at the time of marriage and for which no demand has been made.
The Act establishes a penalty for directly or indirectly demanding dowry, which includes a minimum of six months in prison and a maximum of two years in prison, as well as a fine of $10,000. Dowry contracts are null and void from the start, and any dowry obtained by anyone other than the woman should be transferred to her. The burden of proof is on the accused, not the victim or her family, to show that an infraction was not committed. The government of India has formulated the Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and the Bridegroom Rules, 1985, as part of its authority to make rules to carry out the Act’s objectives. The Dowry Prohibition Act has also been amended at the state level.
CONCLUSION: Dowry is not only illegal, but it is also unethical. As a result, society’s conscience must be completely aroused to the dowry system’s faults, such that the demand for dowry results in a “loss of face” in society for those who demand it.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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