Introduction Dowry is the payment in cash or/andkind by the bride’s family to the bridegroom’ s family along with the givingaway of the bride in Indian marriage. “Kanyadanam” is an importantpart of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and dana means gift. Dowryoriginated in upper caste families as the wedding gift to the bride from herfamily. The dowry was later given to help with marriage expenses and became aform of insurance in the case that her in-laws mistreated her. It continues tobe highly institutionalized.
The groom often demands a dowry consisting of alarge sum of money, farm animals, furniture, and electronics. The main purposeof a dowry was to provide “seed money” or property for the establishmentof a new household as the beginning of the new life, to help a husband feed andprotect his wife, and to give the wife and children some support if he were todie1. This property was “beyond the dowry” and was known asparaphernalia property or extra-dotal property. One of the basic functions of adowry has been to serve as a form of defense for the wife against thepossibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. In other words, thedowry provides an incentive to the husband not to harm his wife. A husband thushad certain property rights in his wife’s dowry. In addition, the wife mightbring to the marriage property of her own, which was not included in the dowryand which was, as a result, she is alone responsible2.
The practice of dowry abuse is risingin day by day. The most severe in “bride burning”, the burning ofwomen whose dowry was not considered sufficient by their husband or in-laws.Most of these incidents are reported as accidental burns in the kitchen or aredisguised as suicide. It is evident that there exist deep-rooted prejudicesalongside women.
Cultural practices such as the payment of dowry tend tosubordinate women in Indian society. “Reasonabledowry for a reasonable match” was advocated in our male-dominated societyin the name of religion and culture, in some cases to deny a girl her share inthe inheritance, They said dowry was a form of social security for the girl andmore of a burden on the father to the extent that it sometimes made him commitsuicide2. When the dowry amount is not consideredsufficient or is not forthcoming, the bride is often harassed, abused and mademiserable.
This abuse can escalate to the point where the husband or his familydoes burn the bride, often by hammering kerosene on her and lighting it,usually killing her. A woman is burned to death almost every twelve hours. Thenumber of dowry murders is increasing.
In 1988-2209 women were killed in dowryrelated incidents and in 1990, 4,835 were killed. It is important to repeat thatthese are official records, which are hugely under reported. According tofigures there were a total of 5,377 dowry deaths in 1993, an increase of 12%from 1992. Despite the existence of rigorous laws convictions are rare, andjudges are often uninterested and susceptible to bribery. An accurate pictureis difficult to obtain, as statistics are varied and contradictory. In 1995,there were about 6,000 dowry deaths. Many of the victims are burnt todeath-they are doused in kerosene and set light to.
Routinely the in-laws claimthat what happened was simply an accident. The kerosene stoves used in manypoorer households are dangerous. When evidence of foul play is too obvious toignore, the story changes to suicide-the wife, it is said, could not adjust tonew family life and subsequently killed herself. Dowry isgiven as gift but it becomes violence when it is demanded. Although the practice of dowryexists in many of the countries, it has been assumed that the quantity of achallenge to the forces of modernity and modify only in sub-continent and thecomplex in the running of high class of the society.
History Dowrysystem was introduced in many civilizations after the passage of time inhistory, this was introduced to sharethe burden in terms of expenses for settling a new household. In Athens theabsence of dowry would call into question the legitimacy of the marriage.Guardian was required to provide dowry to bride. European History of Dowry: Dowry was widely practiced inEurope before the European revolution. In Homeric times, the usual Greekpractice was to pay an amount as bride price. Ancient Romans also practiceddowry, though Tacitus notes that the Germanic tribes practiced the reversecustom of the dower. Dowries were exchanged in the later classical time (5thcentury BC).
One common penalty for the kidnapping of an unmarried woman wasthat the abductor or rapist had to provide the woman’s dowry. Until the late20th century this was sometimes called wreathmoney or the breach of promise, the Domostroy, a Russian advice book of thesixteenth century, includes advice to set aside property for purposes of adowry so that a women can also get equal rights in property, and use itaccumulate linens, clothing’s, and other things for it, rather than have to suddenlybuy it all for the wedding. if the daughter should happen to die, the dowryshould be used to give alms and for prayers for her soul, although some mightbe set aside for other daughters.
In some areas of Europe, most recallableEastern Europe, land dowries were very common. It was commonly given with thecondition that he will take the surname of his bride, in order to continue thefamily name 2-3. Asian History of Dowry: Dowry is a common practice in manyAsian countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and manyothers.
In India, where incidents of bride burning and dowry death acquirednotoriety, the payment of a dowry has been prohibited under. Then 1961 DowryProhibition Act in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498aof the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Electronic items like refrigerators, televisionand washing machines are given by the bride’s parents as part of a ceremonyalong with clothes, jewelry, shoes and many other accessories. In recent yearsthere supposedly has been a rise in dowry deaths even when law enforcingorganizations claim that the situation is under control where as situationshows vice versa 2&3. One of the reasons of these socialevils is lack of knowledge and refusal with Islamic teachings and practices arenot being implemented. Hundreds and thousands of educated and well manneredMuslim girls are leading unmarried lives or believe in late marriages. In asociety where this is the case with unmarried girls, who will bother about themarriage of widows and divorcees? The Holy Prophet (P.B.
U.H) and his companionshave set many practical examples for their followers by marrying widows anddivorcees. Young Muslim girls have to lead unmarried life because of financialdifficulties of their parents or because of the non-availability of appropriatematches and if matches are available then demands are very much high. Why don’twe get example of simplicity from the role modal of all the Muslims through outthe world Holy Prophet P.B.U.H that how he spent his life, how did he arrangemarriage ceremony of his beloved daughter Hazrat Fatima R.
A.? 2. Marriage as a financial transaction Young married women areparticularly vulnerable. By custom they go to live in the house of theirhusband’s family following the wedding. Dowry is just not the end in terms oftransaction because the greedy parents of the groom do not end their curse. Thewife is often seen as a servant of husband’s family, or if she is workingoutside, as a source of income, but has no extraordinary relationship with themembers of her new household and therefore no base of support the family.
Some40% of women are married before the legal age of 18 years. Illiteracy amongstwomen is very high, in some rural areas up to 63 %. As a result they areisolated and often in no position to assert themselves.
Demands for dowry cango on for years. Religious ceremonies and the birth of children often becomethe occasions for further requests for money or goods. The inability of thebride’s family to comply with these demands often leads to the daughter-in-lawbeing treated as a pariah and subject to abuse.
In the worst cases, wives aresimply killed to make way for a new financial transaction, i.e. threat ofsecond marriage.”Thewill to obtain large dowries from the family of daughters-in-law, to demandmore in cash, gold and other liquid assets, becomes vivid after leafing throughpages of official reports that dutifully record the effects of gratitude,foreclosures, barren plots and cattle dying for lack of fodder. Dowry becomesdreaded payments on demand that go together with and follow the marriage of adaughter.
A “successful”marriage is often seen by the wife’s family as a means to advance up the socialladder. But the catch is that there is a price to be paid in the make a truckof dowry including furnishing of room, split AC, complete furniture of a home,kitchen use things and electronic home appliances etc. If for any reason thatdowry preparations cannot be met then it is the young woman who suffers interms of violence and threats. The price of the groom astronomically enlargedand was based on his qualifications, occupation and earnings. Doctors, chartedaccountants, lawyers and engineers even prior to graduation widen the marvelousright to expect a ‘fat’ dowry as they make the most hunted after cream of thegraduating and educated dowry association2.Background Reasons Originally, the purpose of a dowrywas to provide “seed money” or property for the establishment of anew household as the beginning of the new life, to help a husband feed andprotect his wife, and to give the wife and children some support if he were to die.This property was “beyond the dowry” (the root of paraphernalia) andwas known as paraphernalia property or extra-dotal property.
One of the basicfunctions of a dowry has been to serve as a form of defense for the wifeagainst the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. Inother words, the dowry provides an incentive to the husband not to harm hiswife. A husband thus had certain property rights in his wife’s dowry. Inaddition, the wife might bring to the marriage property of her own, which wasnot included in the dowry and which was, as a result, she is alone responsible.
Duties and Rights of Husband andWife after marriage Allah has informed us about the justrights of each other on us:… the wife’s rights (with regard to theirhusbands) are equal to the (husband’s) rights with regard to them, although menare a degree above them; and Allah is Almighty, Wise. Qur’an 2: 228. Thestatement that men are a degree above than women means that authority withinthe household has been given to the husband in preference to the wife because aheavier burden has been placed on his shoulders by another verse of the Quranwhich says, Men shall take full care of women, because Allah has given the onemore strength than the other and because they support them from their means.
Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (thehusband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. Qur’an 4: 34Dowry and Islam Most of the marriages are arranged inthe South Asian countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. There are lotsof rules and regulations before and after marriages. As for the arrangedmarriages, the initial step is arranging a broker to find out appropriate brideor groom. After the completion of this procedure the broker would play as anintermediary between the two parties. Next step is prenuptial investigation.
Both parties would investigate each other (via relatives or neighbors) aboutthe family back ground, lineage and financial status. If both parties aresatisfied with the investigation, the next step would take place. If the boyand girl liked each other, the final step prior to the confirmation would takeplace. “that’s it..”Dowry”.Let’stake a look upon the common people.
How they manage to make a large amount (asfor them) for dowry? They take severe struggles to give their daughters toappropriate grooms. Many poor families even tend to suicide due to thiscompulsory system if they have more than one girls to be married. Most of thedivorces in India take place on account of dowry. After marriage some sisterswould encounter severe harassments from husband or his family in terms ofdowry. In this case, the wife can complaint against everyone whoeverparticipated in this torture. As per the Indian Penal Code 498 A, the accused would be prosecuted with fine.
Although the dowry makes many problems, the political parties and feministorganizations are keeping silence. Actually they don’t raise their voicesincerely against the dowry system. They would only try to solve the individualproblems. Plenty of dowry based marriages are going on with Malabar Muslims.Actually I don’t know in which era this system crept into Indian Muslims. Onewho knows Islam and Quran will never support this kind of system which iscontrary to Islamic law and culture.
“Allah” apparently explainedabout dowry via “Quran”. Dowry is privilege of women (notmen). She deserves it out of her husband on marriage. “And give to thewomen (whom you marry) their “Mahr”(Obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time ofmarriage) with a good heart” Quran, Al Nisaa 4:4 “But if youreplace a wife by another and you have given one of them a cantar (of gold i.e.a great amount) as “Mahr”, take not the least bit of it back; wouldyou take it wrong fully without a right and (with) a manifest sin? And howcould you take it (back) when you have gone in unto each other, and they havetaken from you a firm and strong covenant?” Al Nisaa 4:20-21.2.
Explanation:If any one of you wants to divorce his wife and replace her with another, youshould not take anything from what you have already given the first wife, evenit was a huge amount of wealth. The “Mahr” is given in exchange forthe right to enjoy marital relations. It’s obvious out of the above verses thatwomen hold a prominent status in Islam.
Dowry should be given to her onmarriage. It’s her right. But people follow just opposite irrespective to theseverses. Islam lets men to accept any gifts from bride or her family. But thisgift should not be dowry or upon any persuasions. He can only accept this giftif they are providing it based on their own will. But people misinterpret it(deliberately) and consider it as a compulsory dowry system.
In fact men undervaluethe right of women. After receiving a huge amount as dowry from girl’s family,he gives a bit from it to her as “Mahr” 2.ANALYSIS OF DATAFromCradle to Grave Alongwith cash and gold, the dowry includes cars, televisions, refrigerators and ahouse – no matters whether or not the groom’s family already having them isimmaterial.
And if the groom has a Government job, the dowry would include thebribe for a “good posting” at the desirable station. In 1999, their number was 3886, 3739 in 2000 and 3191 in 2001. Some casesended in “suicide” and “accidental death” in policeparlance but not at all. Taking intoaccount 1,774 “suicide” cases in 1999, which “came down” to1,632 in 2001, and 3,378 “accidental deaths” in 1999, which declinedto 2,750 in 20014, it is clear that the problem of dowry continues to troublewomen. And it is certainly no coincidence that nearly 80 per cent of thesuicide cases and accidental deaths occurred in kitchens and thedaughters-in-law were the only victims4.Education and prosperity have only increased the practice of dowry.
Andprosperity has given rise to demands for costlier things. In fact, affluence isresponsible for the system, she argues. All rich land-lords started thepractice of giving riches to their daughters during marriage which slowlybecame a tradition among all of the society. Dowry system seems to be commonamongst a section of Muslims too, though in the Shariah it is prohibited.The better the groom’s educational qualifications, the higher the demand is thedowry to make up for the “expense” incurred on his education. Theyprefer to call it “voluntary” aid from the bride’s family though.
They name it the happiness of bride’s parents. Though, among tribes, the dowrysystem works in the overturn direction – the groom’s family pays out money. Young housewife burnt alive for dowry byhis husband, Woman ends life due to dowry harassment, Woman killed for seekingdowry 2&4.
Worst Drawbacks Dowry refers to a marriage practicein our society where gifts of cash or other valuable items are exchangedbetween the families of the bride & groom. Dowry is paid in the form ofcash, furniture, jewelry, property etc and it is paid before or during themarriage ceremony, sometime after marriage. The custom of giving Dory haschanged it is now more essential part in good marriage and has taken a harmfulform. This is a social practice carried out both in urban and rural areas indifferent manner according to the expectation.
Violence’srelated to Dowry:Rape& beatingAcidthrowingFemaleinfanticideForcedsuicideHomicide(as bride burring)Accordingto researchers that dowry is the common cause to rise the domestic violence.Laws & Implementation Strategies against Dowry Violence . ConclusionBesteducation is the best dowry.
Parents are advices to educate daughters the bestas the time has changed and it is time that education has more value in theemployment market and fields have been opened for women entrepreneurs. Amountof dowry may be invested for her secured future. Girls parents should helpreporting government or related authorities about the dowry demand by groomparents.
Marriage with such boys should be discouraged as demand of excessivedowry means they do not want girl but money this would result to extortionafter marriage by torture. Beside arearresting blacklisting in communities of dowry extorters most basics. Will helpnot only to deject, will also help other girl parents to keep away from suchpeople.Ouryounger generation should come forward to rectify this trend and reform thesociety.
They should set an example by neither demanding nor offering dowry.Those who demand dowry should be persuaded by explaining to then religious and quranic commands. If they still persist in their evil demands, theyshould be socially boycotted and the matter reported to the police. Demandingdowry is a legal offence also anti-dowry comities should be setup.
This willbring positive results for the unmarried daughters of the poor. Suggestions Dowryis considered as an illegal act and giving and taking dowry are penalized.Government should pass dowry prohibition rule violence against women andchildren. government and NGOs should work together to fight dowry problem andsteps they should taken against dowry are:o Activity against dowry o Creatingawarenesso Educatingwomen about the legal right o Providinglegal assistance o Campaignsagainst dowry