October 21, 2014

Why give Dowry?

I am writing for Blog Action Day, which was on 16 October, 2014. I could not post earlier, I am doing it today. Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. This year’s topic is: INEQUALITY.

I am participating in Write Tribe's Rediscovering your Blogging Groove. Today is Day 6 and the prompt for the day is - Ask a question.

Discrimination begins right from the time a child is born in the family. I remember one old friend asking me, you have one child, is it expenditure or income. Meaning to say a male child will bring in income, and a female child is a curse, that will add to the burden in the family in the form of expenditure. 

Parents get worried if it’s a girl child, they start investing for them right from birth, so that by the time they mature and complete their education, they will be settled in marriage, and a lot of expenditure is incurred for the marriage.

It does not stop there, the saga continues, with a lot of customs wherein the bride will keep visiting their parents for first festival, first new year, and first of everything, even the first delivery is the expenditure for the parents.  Even the so called educated women follow these customs, and it’s a matter of pride to get brides who are rich and who can afford to make their husbands rich by giving them two/four wheelers, and have big fat weddings at the cost of the bride‘s family.  

Despite all the efforts made by the parents, brides are still not very secure and safe; we read so much in the newspaper death due to dowry harassment, suicide because of dowry, bride burning, attempt to murder…. The Indian women's rights activists campaigned for more than 40 years to contain dowry deaths, such as the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 and the more stringent Section 498a of IPC (enacted in 1983).

Using the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) implemented in 2006, a woman can put a stop to the dowry harassment by approaching a domestic violence protection officer. I remember addressing a few of the issues related to dowry, when I was working for an NGO that was the service provider for recording the Domestic Violence cases and forwarding them to the Project Director, women and child welfare department.

Still there are so many cases pending, not resolved, getting justice is not easy, especially when you are poor and lower middle class, you got to be running from end to the other end, by that time, is too late for the bride to move on; as it is said justice delayed is justice denied. 

This is not a battle which can be won in a day, and by few persons raising their voice; there needs to be a collaborative effort from all sides to put an end to  discrimination, violence and say a big NO to dowry.

Let us join hands and fight against this evil “SAY NO TO DOWRY”

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