Dowry in India Dowry is another social evil which is affecting Indian society like a disease and there seems to be no solution or cure to this. There was no Swayamvadhu, the groom could not hold beauty contests to decide which bride to marry. Dowry was started by wealthy businessmen, kings and other influential people of the society as a means to give girls their due in the ancestral property as in those times, even till recent times, all the money and property went to the sons only. There is … Dowry system makes it necessary for a bride’s family to give dowry in cash or kind to the groom’s family as a pre-condition for marriage. Yes, the system of Dowry existed in India even before the British Rule, but not in the format that is prevalent in the society today. After the British prohibited women the right to own or inherit property, until 1956 the women in India did not have the right to inherit property from their parents. History Of Dowry. Husbands and Wives should have equal right to their personal wealth. Dowry System. In this book, the author follows the paper trail left by British bureaucrats during the British Colonial rule of India. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but the son will continue to have a share in his own right. The wealth and pr… And then there are personal accounts from women in India including author’s own personal account on the system of Dowry. And this was what created the menace of dowry system in India. The law criminalized both giving and receiving dowry, and it recommended a minimum imprisonment of five years and a fine equal to the amount of the dowry. The 'duty' of giving dowry later became the "essential negoti"5 of marriage transaction in ancient India. References: Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime by Veena Talwar Oldenburg Don’t condemn the institution of dowry Land Tenure Reforms under British Rule Dowry murder as a legacy of British Policies The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act – 2005 Shah Bano Case, Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail. She left her house of in- laws and started working as a priestess. How the despicable practice of demanding dowry found its way into the pious and solemn custom of a Hindu marriage is extremely puzzling. In the Pre-British system, kingdoms collected tax only during the times of surplus or sufficient growth, and the tax was used for the betterment of the society. But the British at that time had not granted their own women property rights, so it was highly unlikely they would do so for Indian women. There is very little chance of misuse of this provision to harass the groom’s side as the proof gets recorded as and when the crime takes place. Thank you for your deep and insightful article. This also helps the problem be nipped in the bud, rather than being carried over into the post marriage scenario. Divine is never born and has many forms- Wondered how? The benefits include a closer connection between both families and assurance of the man’s commitment to the union. will the wife get to swindle all of the husbands life earnings? This is definitely turning the natural order of things upside down and goes against the nature of mankind. a. Injustice towards girls – dowry bears a huge financial obligation for the bride’s family. Dowry system entails giving huge amount of cash, jewellery and other gifts to the groom’s family by the bride’s parents as a condition at the time of marriage. Usually the goods given were the things of domestic ‘utility and were helpful for a young couple to start the family life. Sons have a right to inherit only the fathers wealth, they would inherit their mothers wealth ONLY if she so wishes. However, it has turned into an evil social system over the years. After the British prohibited women the right to own or inherit property, until 1956 the women in India did not have the right to inherit property from their parents. In the existing system, parents used to give wealth and valuable gifts to their daughters during marriage. WIDOW MARRIAGE Yes even in the high cast the women widowed (with or without children) at the young age were allowed to remarry preferably in their husband’s family. IT WAS ONLY as recently as in 2005, when the Hindu laws were amended again, now providing women equal status with men in terms of ancestral property. It all started with the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793 by the British under Lord Cornwallis. Dowry is an age old practice in Indian society referring to property or valuable security given by one party to another as a consideration for marriage. For online education to succeed for smaller classses - it should be as interesting as cartoons. If you think all men are bad and all women are good, then you are delusional. In 49 separate volumes of customary law covering colonial Punjab, which today comprises Pakistan and Indian Punjab, Haryana, Jammu, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, dowry has been described in the 1870s as a collection of voluntary gifts comprising clothes, jewellery, household goods and cash bestowed on the bride by family and friends at the time of the girl’s wedding. Till then, the zamindars were not land lords, but only tax collectors, collectors of land revenue who used to collect it from the farmers and hand it over to the local government. WOMEN AS A PRIEST IN TEMPLES There are traditional pundits who say the women has no right to perform rituals and still you may found some esteemed temple in their neighborhood having female priestess some even from generations. Malcom also praises women rulers like Ahalya Bai of being great administrators. Instead it was the girl who in a Swayamvar, would put all the competing potential bridegrooms to different contests and then select the bridegroom whom she liked. It was only in 1956 that the Hindu Personal laws were amended giving the right to women to inherit ancestral property. The solution is to create an anti-dowry cell similar to the anti-corruption wing in the legal system, where in the bride or her parents can inform the police about the dowry being demanded and make an arrangement to catch the groom or his family red handed while received dowry. People from far areas( even some of them were from UP) would call this young women to perform yajnas, pujas, samskars and it was not considered a taboo(she was not ascetic or yogini). India is the epicenter of dowry culture, even though the government banned the practice in 1961, and the effects of the system are everywhere corroding efforts toward greater gender and economic equality. We don’t find any instances of dowry related violence in the literature of ancient times. In this ancient system of dowry, the parents of the bride, even her kith and kin, all gave wealth to her in the form of valuable gifts etc. Namastey guru ji, I came across your article and could not stop myself from commenting. We are in the grip of the “Nation needs to know” syndrome. To know the exact practices of Indian society you have to add every bit from different sources. THEY DID NOT KNOW PARDA Only day women was ever veiled in her life was her day of marriage. The Original Institution of Dowry in Pre-Colonial India: Yes, the system of Dowry existed in India even before the British Rule, but not in the format that is prevalent in the society today. This simple process of Sanskrit grammar powers the entire language. The most powerful God in Hinduism is the female Goddess. I belong to a north Indian Himalayan Brahmin family who have their roots in the authentic Vedic culture and religion. Public opinion today is driven by who is saying something, rather than what is being said. When I say patriarchal, it doesn't mean to typify only groom but bride and family too. Extortion in the name of social standing, compensation for the cost of groom’s education, his financial stability is a key feature of Indian marriages. Existing and new explanations of the dowry system and its ramifications are explored. There were 2 months in the year when the women could rightfully live in her parents house. Sabarimala Issue – What it is and What it is NOT- Analysis. The dowry can be looked upon in a positive light in the sense that it can act as a shield to the new bride against the male dominated social system. By introducing the permanent settlement, the British enabled the private ownership of land in India. Learn how easy it is to create new words in Sanskrit using root words called Dhatus. 1. We only hear about Swayamvar in the ancient Hindu marriage traditions where it was the bride who decided whom to marry. It is REALLY INSIGHTFUL! Origin of Dowry. What India needs desperately is the way our judiciary system works. And the moment, this system of husband owning the wealth of his wife was created, the traditional dowry system got converted into a menace creating an institution of greed that oppressed, victimized and suppressed women. The Britishers converted these tax collectors into zamindars giving them the ownership of that land, and using them as a means to loot the farmers in the name of more tax. 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