Anyone who thinks India is a land of magic, isn’t wrong. There’s a saying out there. You don’t come to India just to discover India, but to discover yourself. With its magnetic charm and rich cultural traditions, it has created a powerful image that is nearly impossible to undo. Or, doubt! But that isn’t all about India. Our cultures, for years, have carried excesses of needless customs that still, haven’t been done away with. Among them, is the custom of dowry.
The idea about India from what it was earlier to what it represents now has undergone tremendous change
not so cool India!
Culture-vultures still hob-nob to the image of a rustic and secular charm, the idea of the country being poverty-stricken in deep interiors where snake-charmers exist. While these find collapsible replaceable’ in an emergence of business enterprise, free market economy, a flowering sporting culture and, of India finely shaping the vexed realities of a global movie and music culture. But sadly, customs like dowry remain. In fact, are thriving even in so called, developed, intellectually superior urban spaces.
While India is now known more for its excellence in IT, its suave of entrepreneurship, for its customary elan in presenting wide-reaching business enterprise to the world than it ever was, the ghost of dowry is such, that it has struck the inner conscience of world’s largest democracy like a blood-sucking leech that harms unendingly. Both, in-bred in India’s culture of hosting weddings- ranging from being basic to expensive, elite affairs and, as an extension of age-old tradition, dowry hasn’t let the society prosper. Dowry has in fact, riding high on the unwavering shoulders of those who use less intellect and more dogmatism, found enough breeding ground in 21st century India. So much so, that it has assumed a free-walking living space in the most educated minds.
If you come to analyse the legitimacy and situations that give birth to the dowry concept, then you will have to make microscopic assessments. These humbly submitted thoughts speak honestly but fervently against the existence of such a blithe on Indian society
1. Is the carry-forwarding of age old rather ageing and tawdry traditions so important for fuller-meaning in one’s life that in situations where dowry isn’t given- a women be compelled to end her life?
2. Since when have we started decaying so massively as a country and as one, secular, polite and tolerant culture that we began literally rubbishing a girl and her family for not giving dowry?
3. Have any of our cultural and religious texts advised for and advocated a pro-dowry stand? Who then, emphasises and orchestrates encouragement to such a blasphemous concept?
4. Does India and its married couples, especially who’ve exchanged hands over dowry over a love marriage read these mind-numbing statistics: 24,771 counts of deaths owing to dowry-pressure in the last 3 years!
The endless miles dowry walks on in India, in order to elope with its flawed ideal
If you have a heart or have wanted to understand the far-reaching complications of dowry- a scenario that runs rampant from the busy, moth-buzzing inner lanes of Bihar’s Patna where promiscuity runs as deep as inner city crime, to the expansive, starry by-lanes of Delhi’s elite pub-hopping culture- then you’d realise it is a self-inflicted demon that no medicine, pill or injection can heal. The fact that here you have a rich, culturally-immersive tradition called wedding, which in itself boasts of having a piety that nothing else can match ‘requires’ the girl’s side of the family to stock the groom’s side with cheap, lewd demands sounds like a sour taste from the word go.
Further complications in dowry arise when, perhaps despite a long, consummate chat between the two sides, a discussion isn’t reached mutually on ‘what is to be given’, and in ‘what quantity’. For years we’ve seen how dowry exists as a common affair in Indian weddings where had it required them to, then the girl’s side of the family would even take their clothes out to fulfil the sheer absurdity of the boy’s demands- house, car, television, jewellery and the list gets endless.
But the baselessness of this becomes an unbearable abnormality when love marriages allow dowry to take explicit material form
One wonders why should it even be the case? Wasn’t love alone to suffice? Isn’t the idea of love an all-encompassing one for it to sufficiently deny the needlessness of material wants and therefore, greed to picture?
In an age where everyday newspapers and websites carry endless tirades against machismo, gallant acts of courage and feminism, then does it mean that both- manliness and feminism get deranged in the short coming of both males and females who agree over dowry, in love-marriages?
Secondly, what are we to think of dowry being given by the girl to the boy and his family in a love marriage! Does it question and poke insult at the very premise of a marriage? Or it out-shakes the concept of acceptance of one another in a life where communion happens amidst lewd, cheap and, transparently depicted wealth exchange?
Will the real culprits stand up and answer these ignominious questions?
Who is going to take a stand and reaffirm the correctness of the notion that bleeds for some change in the custom of dowry? Are we to assume that ‘love can be arranged’ whether you speak of love-marriages or arranged marriages? Why should a woman, conveniently either ‘lose’ her own voice or be prevented to take a stand against dowry when the pressing wants feature in? Why should any marriage be based in the first place on a material want or an outlandish demand?
Doesn’t the girl’s family understand that dowry given even in the guise of wanting all happiness possible for their daughter is indication of stooping to a level from which one can never raise from? While the list of questions go endlessly berserk and one continues to dwell in anguish and immense pain on the sensitivity of this subject, one cannot conveniently ignore this harrowing ‘crime’ India has persisted with and is still, persisting with, even as it attains immense, incomparable heights in vivid spectres of life!