Dowry: what is it?

Dowry is the money, goods, or estate that wife brings to her husband at marriage. ( Although this concept is very ancient, it still occurs and is common mainly in parts of Northern Africa, Asia, and the Balkans.

As a young girl, the concept of dowry confused and astonished me. So, the girl who already has to leave her family to live with her in-laws also has to pay for the entire wedding, and also, bring “gifts” to her husband. The quotation marks around the gift, you ask? Well, a gift is not supposed to be worth almost all your savings, or require you to break your bonds. But unfortunately, that is the case with a lot of weddings where dowry is practiced.

Forget the fact that the girl’s family must pretty much give up the majority of its money and assets. Let’s look at how the pressure of dowry has driven thousands of girls to commit suicide, or be abused or killed by the groom’s family because she and her family were not able to fulfill the dowry demands. Dowry deaths are mainly found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran. Per the Indian National Crime Record Bureau, India has the highest number of dowry-related death in the world.  And with 2000 dowry-related deaths per year, Pakistan has the highest rate of dowry death (The Express, 2016). Keep in mind, and these statistics only account for the ones reported.

Marriage is supposed to be a beautiful concept; it brings two loved ones and their family together as one. But with a dowry, marriage just seems like a mere transaction not considering anything else besides the money and asses.

There have been laws passed like 498a of the Indian Penal Code that prohibit that practice of dowry. However, dowry and dowry-related abuse and deaths continue to take place. It is about time that this generation, regardless of gender, realizes that dowry is wrong and stops the practice of it.