When the groom wants the ‘D’
When it comes to weddings, there is always an elephant in the room that is left unspoken of! When gifts become a compulsion to the bride’s family, then they seriously need to re-think the matrimony. It begs to question the motives of the groom/family.
Dowry is the mother of many evils and I take the risk of presuming that most of you are not immune to horrific tales that the former always takes centre stage; female feticide & infanticide, murder, abuse, suicide, domestic violence, just to name a few. It is astonishing that a woman is killed ‘every hour’ in India because of dowry!.
The harsh reality is that, the groom or his family can easily get away with it and we have only our culture to blame! The large demography of women who experience abuse from the groom or his family is in illiterate, backward villages of the country and they mostly say nothing against the evil practice. One might think it would be apt to play the part of a typical ‘Bharatiya nari’ and uphold the institution of marriage against all odds. But in reality, our culture which stigmatizes divorce, discourages the empowerment of women and has historically treated them like second hand citizens, is the only thing to blame and the factor behind women always being ‘dealt the worst hand possible’. Not to mention the lack of proper guidance to take the matter to court. In reality, she would be lucky if she got out of the wedlock with her life. The classic case of being stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place!
Fun Fact: The gulabi gang or the pink police based out of UP actually beat up (with bamboo sticks) the grooms/families who demand dowry via physical abuse of the bride.
Even if some women overcome the hypocritical nature of the system established by society, she still has her work cut out! The taboo of second marriages still plagues the mindset of rural and even in urban India. It is very disturbing and frightening to think about the life of single, divorced, uneducated women, who may have to support herself and her children in India. The ordeals that she might have to face are left to the reader’s imagination. It is up to the groom to eradicate this ultimate evil by refusing to take dowries and discouraging their families to harbor any such thoughts.
The dowry prohibition act and the poorly framed article 498A of the Indian penal code prohibits the giving or receiving of dowry. The latter mentioned law has been the centre of many controversies. On many an occasion, it has been used as tool by urban upper/middle class women and/or their families to register false charges on their husband/in-laws with a motive to earn quick buck or find a profitable way to get out of an unhappy marriage. There were at least 20,000 false cases registered under Section 498A IPC and 615 under Dowry Prohibition Act in the past year and has resulted in the splurge of support groups for men who are fighting divorce cases against their spouses with accusations of dowry.
The most of notable of this being the Nisha Sharma case, who shot to fame in 2003, when she called off her wedding on alleged dowry demands by the future groom and his family. She was bestowed with lots of praises, cheers, and had received hundreds of proposals for standing up against dowry.
Nine years later, Nisha’s case was proven false by the court. She had blatantly leveled false allegations on the groom to escape marriage. Lives were ruined, families were broken, and male hatred was spread in draconian measures and all this on some false allegations.
Time has come to introspect on the far reaching impact of anti-dowry laws and the need to review them! While the protection of women is paramount, the finer points of the law should be looked into so as to not entertain harsh punishments for false accusations! It is obvious that education & the empowerment of women is the need of the hour to eradicate the practice of dowry.