Welcome to Say No To Dowry !!!

20130915

Dowry casualties take a high toll

Large number of burn cases involving women reach hospitals

Last year, according to National Crime Records Bureau, 134 women were allegedly killed by their husbands and in-laws in the city. Many of them were burn victims, possibly harassed over dowry.

On August 30, a 22-year-old pregnant woman died after being set on fire at her in-laws’ house in east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar. Savita succumbed to severe burn injuries on the same day.

Her family members alleged that she was burnt to death by her husband Pramod and in-laws for dowry. Her in-laws, however, refuted the allegations claiming that she committed suicide. They said even Pramod suffered minor burn injuries while “trying to save her”.


Savita’s sister Anita alleged that Savita’s in-laws poured petrol on her and set her on fire. “Savita called me on August 30 to tell me that her life was in danger, but I did not take her seriously,” says Anita.

A case was filed with Mandawali police station, and a sub-divisional magistrate is conducting a probe into the death.

All these atrocities are reported despite the government prohibiting dowry through the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Women’s rights activists, however, say that the act was never properly implemented. “Prohibition officers were supposed to have been appointed, but nothing happened and young women continue to be killed,” says Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research.

In 1986, the Indian Penal Code was amended to include section 304-B over murders following harassment for dowry. Section 498-A was also added to define harassment and cruelty by husband and his relatives. Despite stringent laws, 8,233 women were killed in dowry related crimes across the country in 2012.

Taking stock of the issue, the Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that a sentence lesser than life term cannot be awarded to convicts for heinous offences such as dowry death where the victim is killed in a brutal manner.

The Union Women and Child Development ministry has also been seeking life term for those convicted in dowry death cases.

In one of the most infamous cases, 25-year-old Pravartika Gupta and her 13-month-old daughter Idika were set on fire at their house in south Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar in October 2012.

Pravartika died at Safdarjung Hospital eight days after the attack, which also left her daughter with 55 per cent burns. It was alleged that Pravartika’s husband Ashutosh Gupta and father-in-law Ram Mohan Gupta set them on fire while they were sleeping.

She managed to make a statement to a magistrate shortly before she succumbed to her injuries. Her father Shamveer told police that her in-laws were torturing her mentally and physically over a dowry demand of Rs 10 lakh.

20130804

Husband arrested for sexually starving wife for dowry

The all women police here have arrested a man for sexually starving (refusing to cohabit) his wife even a year after their marriage, demanding that she first fulfill his demand for dowry.
Priya (22) who was unable to bear the mental agony of her husband Ramesh (23) for more than 16 months finally approached the police.
Police said she got married in March last year and her nightmare began the same day as her husband demanded immediate handing over of seven sovereigns of gold ornaments and Rs five lakh cash, saying he would not have any physical contact with her till such time.
Her parents had agreed to give 20 sovereigns of gold to Ramesh, who works in a goldsmith outlet, but could give only 13 sovereigns on day of the marriage, they said.
Based on the complaint, Ramesh was arrested and a hunt is on for his parents who were part of the torture, police said.



20130205

Dowry system....A social evil

By : Priyakshi


Here.... I am talking about a very much prevalent and a dreadful social evil.... DOWRY System. It has been huge problem in India and has been a great problem and source of embarrassment and disturbances in most parts of our society...

Dowry actually is a cultural system where the parents of the bride give away some money, expensive gifts to her so that in case of lack of resources she can lead a comfortable life ahead after marriage. Historically, this system was willingly followed by the parents of the bride in many parts of the world, but now at many places (especially in India) it is it is being forcefully asked for. Earlier the system was prevalent only in the wealthier families but now unfortunately the greed of dowry has struck to most ordinary families and has become an unspoken demand for marriages.

 

It is true that a young man may require financial support to settle comfortably in his life and to fulfill other needs, but it should not be a reason to ask for dowry and to spoil the life of a girl if both the girl and boy are capable in all the ways to earn and settle with a comfortable life. Gifts that a girl gets from her parents home should solely be their wish and there should be no pressure to spend more while marrying their daughter. There are many instances when a wife commits suicide, because of her helplessness to tolerate the harassment for dowry.

 There are many instances when a wife is murdered because her parents were not able to give enough dowry. This murder is usually made like an accident. Stop violence against women! Legally, dowry is a banned practice in India but still happens all over the place. Many sensible and educated youths have gone against the idea of Dowry and they simply have a noble intention of marrying the without taking any money. Surprisingly, these days the ladies are themselves very much interested for huge amounts of dowry. Firstly the promise of all the marriage arrangements and then the huge amounts of dowry make the parents financially very weak and because of dowry system, people no longer prefer having a baby girl in India.

Lastly I would just say that like I am strictly against this practice of dowry every one of us should join hands and remove this social evil from our society……

Take care and have a great time…..

20130115

Dowry Death in India (A Must See Documentary)

20120821

Muslim Youth slam dowry culture on FB


MANGALORE: Some of the posts on the Facebook page Youth Against Dowry (YAD) evaluate critically the menace of dowry, and insist that youths should abstain from taking dowry. "Please do not invite us to a dowry-based wedding as there are tears of a girl's family in it", a post on the wall states.

Another post reads, "Yes, every youngster should oppose this dowry system." Sharing news and facts related to dowry menace are other activities of YAD. It was Farhan Mohammed, a young doctor from D.K  pivot of this mass campaign, and his friends who took the initiative to launch a mass agitation in jamaats and also in cyberspace.

Farhan, president of YAD, told the press  that he and his friends, including computer engineer Syed Hassan, look after the Facebook campaign. "In addition to launching jamaat-level campaigns, we plans to involve ourselves in more activities through Facebook. We will be able to make the page more interactive if the number of people who like it, increases," he added.

20120703

The Other Half: Burn dowry, not women


                         Up for sale?: Activists dressed as grooms campaign against dowry. Photo: Paul Noronha
Dowry has not disappeared, just morphed. And women continue to pay the price.
In a season where every other person seems to be taking offence at something or the other, let me add what offends me. I was deeply offended and hurt when I read the following headline: “One bride burnt every hour”. No, this is not a headline from a newspaper of the 1980s but from Sunday, January 29, 2012. The women the headline writes about are killed for not bringing in enough dowry. Yes, indeed, the giving, taking and killing for dowry is still alive and kicking in “Incredible India”.
According to data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 8,391 reported cases of dowry deaths in 2010. That is just under double the number of cases registered in 1995 — 4,648 cases. Statistics tell a story, but not the whole story. For every dowry death reported, there must be dozens that go unreported. Of the 8,391 reported cases in 2010, although 93.2 per cent were charge-sheeted, the conviction rate was a miserable 33.6 per cent.
Despite a 1989 amendment to Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), shifting the burden of proof to the husband and his family, the process of getting a conviction remains fraught because of loopholes in the law and the inability of the victim's family to establish the link between dowry demands and the death. Often, it is impossible to take the dying declaration, as the victim is barely alive. Even when it is taken, the police handling is shoddy and careless, allowing a clever defence to tear it apart during trial.
The official figures of dowry deaths are obviously just the tip of the iceberg. A truer picture would emerge if we added the cases of young married women registered as having committed suicide as well as cases filed under Section 498A of the IPC dealing with harassment from husband and relatives. In the NCRB crime data, there were 94,041 cases filed under 498A in 2010, up from 28,579 in 1995. There has been considerable controversy around 498A with some organisation, comprising apparently aggrieved husbands, claiming that women were misusing it to harass and blackmail their husbands. But even if there are a few cases of this kind, surely over 94,000 cases cannot all be false.
If further proof were needed of the prevalence of dowry, one only has to look at the sex ratio in this country. Why are girls not wanted?
Still bought and sold
The fact remains that despite changes in the law, growing awareness of it, more education, more economic progress, women are bought and sold for a price under the institution of marriage. In the 1980s, at the height of the campaign against dowry, one read of brave young women who rejected proposals when asked for a dowry. Women's group demonstrated outside marriage halls where dowry was given. There was much writing in the media against the custom. Today we don't hear about it. Does that mean it has vanished? Or has it become so entrenched that no one thinks it is worth talking about?
I did a random sampling of one matrimonial page in one Mumbai newspaper last Sunday. Of the 127 advertisements for “brides wanted”, listed neatly in caste categories, I found 16 that stated specifically “Caste no bar” and only four that said “No Dowry”. All the other advertisements went into details of the caste, the height, the looks etc of the bride they were looking for — “tall, beautiful, educated, cultured girl” stated one, for a “Kayastha, handsome, bachelor, doctor and managing director”.
One-way street
Dowry has not disappeared. It has morphed. Seema Sirohi, in her interesting and relevant book Sita's Curse, Stories of Dowry Victims (HarperCollins, 2003), gives this humorous yet apt description of dowry as it has come to be today: Dowry has become a bribe paid to a husband to keep the bride's body and soul together. A woman is a mere conduit to a ‘good' dowry — the definition of good being flexible and expandable. The boys are on sale and there are few discounts in the marriage market. There is no ‘buy one, get one free' here. It is a transaction weighted against the woman. In fact, it is a sale where even after the price is paid, satisfaction is not guaranteed. And ironically, the sale is never complete with marriage — the buyer is expected to keep paying in cash and in kind during festivals, to celebrate childbirth and to mark ritualistic occasions. Any excuse is good enough to keep the one-way street laden and moving with gifts.
Touchy as we Indians are about a whole host of things, the fact that women are still being burned for dowry in modern-day India should enrage us. Why are we accepting of this outrage, this insult to the sensibilities of all women? We should be burning dowry, not women.

20120702

Absence of Dowry System in North -East Romanticism or the Truth


POSTED BY  ON MAY 21ST,2012 IN NORTH-EAST INDIA

Let’s not get carried away. Dowry system does exist in North-east India too. It might not be as direct or discreetly observable like it is in the other regions of India. The recent highlight by the Aamir Khan show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ revealing that there is ‘no’ dowry system in the North-eastern states of India is not completely true. The person testifying for ‘Aamir Khan’ mentions that the dress for the bride comes from the groom’s family during marriage. But does it mean complete absence of Dowry system? The answer again would be a NO. It is just a cultural practice. We can analyze it from varied angles but I shall not delve much on it now.
In my belief, there is fundamental mistake in viewing the problems of dowry and gender violence in the North-eastern states. Almost all the time it is seen in comparison with the other states thereby leading to the romanticism of the idea of lesser gender violence and increased women empowerment in the erstwhile North-East India. Any academic discussions related with gender discrimination in the North-east starts off with a hypothesis about the absence of it and an attempt to prove the hypothesis right. Thus, many of it goes unnoticed and people still remain in that state of glorification.
No doubt, women relatively enjoy more mobility and lesser gender discrimination in states like Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya etc. but questions like; Has it led to real empowerment or increased decision making power of women or has it alleviated the status of women in North-eastern states are seldom researched upon or talked about. A recent research conducted by Guwahati based organization; ‘North East Network’ reveals that there has been a considerable rise in dowry related violence over the years in Assam. According to its study many of the respondents revealed about taking loans to bear the pressure of marriage. The concept of dowry today is slowly and steadily making its progression into the north-eastern societies. Of course they are given politically correct terms like ‘Gifts’ to the bride. Parents talks about social pressures leading them to give a lot of ‘gifts’ to their daughters.
Also negating the presence of dowry system in North-east would mean completely ignoring the cultural diversity of the States. The dowry system is very much prevalent in the non-indigenous communities of Assam (By non-indigenous, I mean the communities like Bengali, Marwari, Sikhs, Punjabis, Nepalis or any other community which a non-northeasterner might not relate to while referring to the region). But again, saying that it is only limited to these communities will also be very wrong. Let me quote an example of my own community. I belong to the Mising Community, which is the second largest tribe in Assam. Almost 90% of the marriages in my community happen through eloping. Yes, Eloping as a form of marriage is socially and culturally recognized in our community. The system of ‘Gifts’ mentioned in the above paragraphs are limited to the elite sections of my community. In almost all the tribal communities of Assam (including my community), the girls when they get married, take all their movable belongings like woven clothes, sometimes domestic animals too, and jewellery with them. The question here might be what is the harm then? But on being observed it can be seen that the amount of ‘movable assets’ the new bride has brought in becomes the talk of the town. Thus, the women and their parents are forced to increase the quantity of the movable assets.
The debate can go on. The essential characteristics of any patriarchal society like absence of inheritance rights, gendered concept of ‘ideal woman’, witch hunting (limited to rural communities) are very much to be found in the North-eastern states too. There are very strict division of gender roles. And the presence of conflict situations make it even worse. If the north-eastern societies wish to progress towards more equivalent society, then there is a need to address the symptoms which are rapidly beginning to form a part of social cultural aspect of the region. Or else it shall be too late…….So till then lets stall our romanticism and not get carried away.

20120629

Dowry and our attitude – an Islamic perspective


Dowry is a virus in Marriage and ‘Mahr’ is an antivirus. So install a powerful antivirus and do not allow the virus to enter and destroy your life.

Dowry is one of the important issues of this hour. Many of young girls are waiting to get married and lead a normal life with husband and children. They are destroying their age in this matter and at the end ends up with marrying a wrong person. Dowry is an evil which destroys the relation and society as a whole.

Many of the men, so called religious and moderate thinkers, support dowry – directly or indirectly. They didn’t oppose it when it comes to their marriage. They become silent spectators when their parents demand dowry from would-be parents-in-law. They have the lame excuses of obeying parents. They didn’t bother to change the home in which they live in, as they have enough strength to change the evil customs. They disobey their parents in so many things which they should not, and when it comes to obey Allah and the Messenger, they realize of obeying parents. Remember, Obeying Allah and his Messenger has priority over everything else, even parents (ref: Al Quran 9:24)

In this era, there are many who demand dowry according to their status and qualification. Doctor, Engineer, MBA, etc. have their respective rates. In Islam, demanding dowry is completely prohibited, even cannot “hint” of demanding dowry. On the contrary, man should compulsory pay “mahr” to would-be wife. The Glorious Quran commands men to give the required mahr in Surah Nisa (4):4 “And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, Take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.” It further says in verse 19 of the same surah “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.”

Marriage is a binding of relations, it closes two souls together. It is the dowry which puts poison of sorrow between two souls and in turn breaks a good relationship between two families. Mother-in-law of a girl plays an important role in destroying the life of the girl as well as his own son, even parents of girl gives dowry willingly or unwillingly and says they are giving gift to their would-be son-in-law. These types of gifts are haram in Islam which makes the life miserable. O my respected parents, why you give and take dowry and promote evil in the life of your children and society.

Women folk discuss among themselves of the dowry given to their respective sons and degrade the priceless gift, a dazzling wife – a pearl, given by Allah to their sons. Does dowry have some value as compared to your wives? How shameless are we? We say men and women are equal. We take the name of Islam and proudly say Islam has given women their due rights. But when it comes to dowry why don’t you give the same rights of women to her? It is surprising even women are involved in suppressing another women. They think it is the matter of pride in giving and taking dowry. Some parents think how can we live in the society if we don’t give “gifts” to our son-in-law? And the so called would-be son-in-law merely be a silent spectator. If he wills he can change the situation easily!

Is it what our Prophet (pbuh) taught us? How much dowry did he take from his wives? How much dowry did Abu bakr siddique give to the Prophet (pbuh)? How much dowry did he give to his own daughters?? What was the practice of the companions? How much dowry did they take from their parents-in-law?

We have standard beggars in our society, some begs in front of mosque, temple, church; some begs in public places and footpaths; while the others beg in front of parents-in-law, and these are the standard beggars of our society. These are the beggars who silently accept the donations given by their parents-in law.

I request my sisters to reject the person if he even gives a slight hint of Dowry. Demanding Dowry is completely prohibited in Islam.

Change your attitude, be a man, say No to Dowry.

20120624

Ugly dowry truths of big fat Indian weddings (Truth Alone Prevails)


New Delhi: Eighty per cent of the bank loans are taken by people to meet dowry demands. One woman dies every hour in our country in dowry related cases. On Sunday, May 20, Aamir Khan brought home the ugly truths about giving and accepting dowry in our big fat Indian weddings.
Aamir spoke to several victims, community leaders and even a politician to get to the bottom of the issue. The truth was as unpalatable as it was horrific. Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Lok Bhalai Party in Punjab, who came on as a guest on the show through video conferencing, said close to 30,000 women in his state are languishing at their in-laws, being forced to do backbreaking menial labour because their parents were too poor to meet the dowry demands of their in-laws.
Every parent wished to see their daughter settled comfortably in a happy marriage and Paramjeet's were no exception. She had not met his future husband until after her engagement. After accepting a lot of money, including his education fees for a course he applied for in Australia, Paramjeet's husband kept the pressure on her middle class parents to send more. One day his family insisted that she grant him divorce over the internet having milked them dry.
Equally heartbreaking is the story of Komal who was left to starve in the US and locked out of her home in the November chill by her husband who was dissatisfied by the dowry he received from her parents, who spent Rs 60 lakh on jewellery.

While Komal escaped with her life by dialling the US Women's Shelter, there are several others who gave their lives to the ugly trend.
Kishore Tiwari of the Vidharva Jan Andolan Samiti spoke of the debt burden on farmers who are pressured to take loans to meet the demands of greedy in laws at the time of their daughters' marriage. When the discussion was bordering on the grim, Aamir highlighted the case of Santosh and Ruby, a couple whose strange tale of marriage brought some comic relief.
Santosh was kidnapped by Ruby's family to avoid having to pay dowry and forced to marry her within the confines of their home. He himself dubbed it 'pakadwa vivah' and said though he was outraged at that time, he came to love his simple wife who took great care of his aged mother.
But for Rani Tripathi, it was a brave move to show up a family of dowry takers in front of millions of people. She not only refused to pay dowry for her marriage but went a step further and launched a sting operation against the family that demanded a car and Rs 5 lakh in cash from them.
Rani found a sensible and loving match in Pawan who shook a leg with Aamir to Sona Mahapatra's lilting rendition, 'Mujhe Kya Bechega Rupaiyya' at the end of the show. Durlov Baruah, an Assamese, spoke about Assam's dowry-free status and a local cleric of Burhanpur claimed it had the same status over many years. Marriages in Burhanpur are held without pomp and show and without dowry.
It was Aamir's impassioned appeal to people to spend money on their children's education rather than on their dowry that brought the curtains down on a show that has become the Sunday habit of millions.
You Can watch the whole Show in Hindi as well as Tamil, Malayalam and other regional languages from Satyamev Jayate TV program from STAR and Vijay TV

20120428

Definitely Dowry – A Short Story

Dowry - The definition – Money, goods or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. It has a long history in Europe, South Asia and Africa. Being a conditional gift helping the husband to discharge the responsibilities of marriage, its practice more or less disappeared in Europe in the 19th and 20th century. However the practice grew in South Asia where in some cases delayed or insufficient dowry has made some young wives the victims of torture and sometimes death by the in-laws.

The Story:

He slowly opened his eyes, waking himself out of the final traces of slumber and found his hands instinctively reaching out to his side to his newly wed wife. The warmth of her sent a tingle through his skin and just as he lifted his head of the pillow to see whether she was asleep or awake, he felt her hands ruffle through his hair and simply smiled. The room was bathing in the morning’s golden sunlight- warm and lustrous thrusting life into every thing it touches. She got up, walked up to the window and stood there looking outside, the light bounced on her and exploded into a million rainbows. He took a deep breath savoring the loveliness of the morning on his wife and thanked his lucky stars that he got married to this lovely lady, as he got behind her and slightly brushed his lips against her cheek kissing her.

It looked to him as if she was deep in thought and like any new husband ready to impress his wife in a jiffy, he asked her what was on her mind. She looked into his eyes, gave a slow sad smile, then said “Nothing, it was just something I was thinking”

“Something huh???”

“Yeah it’s ok. It’s no big deal”

He stood there looking at his wife ordering some tea through the room service telephone, totally bewildered and stumped, unable to understand why she just blew him off without any answer. He must have stood there for a while; she looked at him, tilted her head as she always does when she questions him and quipped “What?? Why are you staring like that??"

“Nothing, it’s just that I was wondering whats keeping you so lost in thought…….”

She simply sat down at the tea table without showing any intent of responding to the question. What are men supposed to do when they met with such indifference while talking to a girl? After all men are logical creatures, who would rather understand quantum mechanics than the workings of the mind of the fairer sex. Without an inkling of an idea on what to do, he did the right thing, he simply waited for her to answer.

Exasperated with the long silence, he started to contemplate on breaking it with some idle prattle, just then the tea arrived. Eying his large tip, the room service who brought the tea pot gave a big smile and after making sure that the couple did not need any other thing, he left the room as deftly as he entered. The tea was tepidly warm and refreshing. He inhaled the aroma and started to sip it. It gave him something to do rather than to stare at his wife who doesn't seem to acknowledge him.

“Have I been sold to you darling??”

He chocked. Her feminine voice, so calm yet sharp in an morbid manner churned up his insides, rattling him. The tea along with the words and the tone that she delivered them, it couldn’t have been more bizarre. When kicked in the balls by a girl, a guy though in pure torturous pain rarely responds violently instead he simply stands there wondering what in god’s holy name did he do to deserve this. It was in such a state of poetic pity, that the newly married husband was left with.

Women are invariably comfortable with monologues especially when they need to speak their heart out. They just need someone who would listen. Someone who would listen to them seriously, then chide them with a smile and a kiss for thinking things in such a silly pretext.

“It’s the dowry that keeps bugging my mind. I don’t really see the need of it, in the least the reason behind it. Well, it’s not like we are in medieval ages, it’s the 21st century and for heaven’s sake I earn as much as you do. It hurts me plenty to know that I have just been sold to the best bidder. How else can I put the money and property that you and your parents got out of mine? How more pathetic my father could have been blaming the society when I asked the same question to him – Am I being sold?”

She then gave a sardonic smile and brushing away a few strands of hair that were falling to her gloomy eyes; she looked at him and quipped like saying the punch line for a bad joke. “And you know what the real fun part is, not even a single soul understood me, even barely listened to me”

After a second or may be two, he stood up from the tea table and went to her, laying his hands on her shoulder he kissed her forehead, and looking deep in those dark raven black eyes, he said in the most empathizing voice “I understand”. Blossoming flowers drenched in dew were put to shame as her eyes turned moist and she kissed him as if it was the most natural thing to happen and overwhelmed with gratitude, she quipped “Thank You”. He couldn’t have been more understanding.

After a few cherished seconds of cuddled warmth, she gave him a peck on the cheek and went to the bathroom to shower. He moved about to the balcony and after a few seconds of thought, rang up his father in law from his mobile and was greeted by his sleepy voice. After the usual chit chat, the newly married son in law stammered more than a little bit trying to find the right words. “Actually……..I called to confirm……… whether you credited to my account ……… that money you promised”

“No, not yet. I was thinking of transferring it to you in a couple of days. Why? Is there any problem? Are you guys doing OK?”

“Yes of course we are fine. Well, the thing is……. It would be good if it’s done by tomorrow and please don’t let her know that I requested this of you. I mean………. you know her. It would upset her”

The father in law answered with the most empathizing voice “I understand”

The son in law was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that he simply quipped “Thank you”. After all he couldn’t have been more understanding.

20120413

Be a Man, Not a Beggar to Ask Dowry

"I hear on pray time music, I call
myself Muslim...

I participate in haram festivals, I
call myself Muslim...

I don't even know how to pray
properly, I call myself Muslim...

I shave my beard and take off my
hijab, I call myself Muslim...

My sense of clothing is revealing, I
call myself Muslim...

I backbite with my friends, I call
myself Muslim...

I don't even end the night off
with Qur'aan rather I watch
movies but I call
myself Muslim...

I have a greed of DOWRY but i
hate corruption, and i call myself muslim

Sounds familiar?
Think about it: Was this the life of
the Prophet Muhammad [sallallahu
alaihi wasallam]?

Is this what the Qur'aan describes
as a believers life?

IS THIS REALLY A MUSLIM?
" on
Be a Man, Not a Beggar to Ask Dowry

20120221

In the news

We shall not take any dowry at our sons' weddings, neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters wedding. We shall keep our centre free from the curse of dowry.

20120119

‘Angry Brides’ Takes on India’s Dowry Culture


The game ‘Angry Brides’ is a free application on Facebook, which sees an angry bride attacking prospective grooms with household objects in response to their dowry demands.
Red stilettos, flip-flops and rolling pins seem to be the latest weapons in India’s fight against dowry.
Indian matrimonial portal Shaadi.com has launched “Angry Brides,”  a new online game modeled on the hugely successful “Angry Birds.”  The aim is to raise awareness against dowry in India, a practice that is illegal but still alarmingly widespread.
The game, which was launched last week as a free application on Facebook, sees an angry bride attacking prospective grooms with household objects in response to their dowry demands.
Shaadi.com
The homepage of the game shows an eight-armed woman, what appears to be a reference to a Hindu goddess, wearing a red dress and holding weapons that include a pan. A caption below reads: “A woman will give you strength, care and all the love you need… NOT dowry!”
As the player proceeds through the various levels of the game, different options of weapons are available for the “angry bride” to target her three potential husbands: a doctor, an engineer and a pilot. Each hit gives the player a score, which adds up in the “anti-dowry fund.”
“We wanted to raise awareness about the ills of dowry, a tradition that is still very closely related with marriage,” said Ram Bhamidi, head of online marketing at Shaadi.com, a popular website that helps individuals and their families find a suitable partner. Mr. Bhamidi said that a recent survey taken by Shaadi.com revealed that 47% of men interviewed expected gifts from the bride’s family and that 25% of women were okay with giving dowry if required.
Referring to dowry as a  “menace” his company condemns, he explained that “the game is a way to throw spotlight on the issue and ask people to stand up against this.”
“But we wanted to do it in an innovative, fun way that engages the users,” he added.
Mr. Bhamidi said that the three professions featured in the game are in no way representative of dowry trends in India: “It’s only symbolic and we used these professions only because they are easily identifiable by their attire.”
Five decades since dowry was criminalized, it remains a common practice in India. Under the 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act, any person who demands a dowry faces up to two years in prison. However, in many cases, the size of the dowry is often negotiated before the two families agree on marriage. Many women in India are killed or take their own lives every year over their family’s failure to pay a promised dowry. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were as many as 8,391 dowry deaths in the country in 2010, the latest year for which data is available. The figure is almost unchanged from the previous year.
Since its launch last week, around 300,000 people have “liked” the Angry Brides Facebook page, says Mr. Bhamidi. He adds that the game is only the “beginning of a journey” and that they are planning to introduce more initiatives against dowry.
Not everyone agrees that a online game is the right way of tackling the delicate issue of dowry. Facebook user Shubhangi Mittal, 24, said it is actually trivializing an important matter. “It’s actually making fun of the whole issue and suggesting a few virtual attacks on the groom are enough to play your role in doing something about the issue.”
“The game is nothing more than fun for people,” she added. “Will that stop families from giving and asking for dowry? What about translating that into actions at ground level?”
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20120113

Woman poisoned to death by in-laws for dowry in Karauli


JAIPUR: A man has alleged that his 26-year-old daughter was beaten and poisoned to death by her in-laws for dowry in Gangapur town under Sapotara police station area of Karauli district within six months of her marriage.

Alleging police of negligence and bias, the father, Gopal Agrawal, claimed that though postmortem report suggested severe injuries on the girl's body, the police have not arrested anyone in the matter. The family met every police officer - from SHO to inspector general of the range, but nothing has been done so far. Agrawal alleged that they had registered an FIR against seven members of the girl's inlaws family, but the police pruned the list of the accused and are investigating against only her husband.

According to Agrawal, a resident of Gangapur city in Sawai Madhopur district, his daughter Sadhna alias Komal was married to one Pawan Garg, an employee at a dental college in Jaipur on June 14, 2011. Sadhna had completed MA and B. Ed before marriage.

The father claimed that as per the in-laws' demands, he gave Rs 5 lakh in cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees as dowry. "But from day one, they started demanding Rs 3 lakh cash and a motorcycle," said Agrawal.

During a visit to her family after marriage, Sadhna told her father that her in-laws were harassing her for dowry, the girl's brother Amit Agrawal, a software engineer in Noida said. He added that his father immediately called up the in-laws and expressed his inability to pay the dowry and requested them to stop the torture.

"However, in the last week of November my daughter called me several times saying the in-laws were beating her up," said Gopal Agrawal. He added that on December 1, someone called him and informed him about Sadhna's death. The caller said she was poisoned. "When we tried to contact the in-laws , their mobiles were switched off. We came to know that her body was in Gangapur Hospital," said Amit. The family members then lodged an FIR against seven in-laws with Sapotara police station alleging dowry death.

"First CO, Kailadevi investigated the case and found three in-laws as accused including her husband, father and mother-in-law . Then the case was handed over to CO Karauli and now only her husband is an accused," said Amit. CO, Karauli, Poonam Chand Bishnoi said the investigation has been completed in the matter and the case has been referred to the SP office for further action. Amit claimed that despite all evidences suggesting torture, the police have yet not arrested anyone.
 

From Times of India

20111203

Gandhi ,Women and Dowry

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi popularly revered as Mahatma Gandhi was not only one of the greatest leaders of Indian Nationalism but a major social and political reformer, who played an important role in purging the Indian society of its inherent evils. In this regard, he assumed a pioneering role in attempting to eradicate the social wrongs committed against the women of the country through ages. Gandhi's political ideologies, strongly anchored in humanitarian values, were a reflection of his spiritual self. His personal philosophies of life molded to a great extent his political strategies, with which he steered Indian on the path to freedom. For Gandhi, politics was not an exclusive category, but it was very much a part of one's holistic spiritual approach towards life in general. Therefore politics could not be divorced from social factors. 

To Gandhi, social emancipation was as critical as political emancipation. Gandhi throughout his life waged a crusade for the upliftment of the socially downtrodden, making significant contributions for the enhancement of the status of women in India. Women under his aegis, took a milestone step towards reestablishing their identity in the society. Gandhi's inspiring ideologies boosted their morale and helped them to rediscover their self esteem. Not only there was a general awakening among the women, but under Gandhi's leadership, they entered into the national mainstream, taking parts in the National Movements. In Gandhi's words, "To call women the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to women." Gandhi's reformist spirit seasoned the role that he played in uplifting the status of women in India.

Status of Women in Pre Independence India

To understand in depth the role that Gandhi played in improving the position of women in society, it is essential to look at women's status, prevalent at that time. When Gandhi emerged on to the political scenario, social evils like child marriage and dowry system were rampant. Indian women had an average life span of only twenty seven years. Death of women in labor was a common phenomenon. The percentage of women with basic education was as low as two percent. The patriarchal nature of the society confined women to the status of an inferior sex subordinate to their male counterparts. The purdah system was in full vogue in Northern India. Unless accompanied by their male guardians, the women were not permitted to venture out on their own. Only a handful few could avail of education and attend schools. It was in such a dismal milieu that Gandhi took the responsibility of shouldering a social crusade that led to a major reorientation of the common notion of women in the Indian society. 

Gandhi's Voice Against the Social Evils

According to the Mahatma, social reforms were essential for the restructuring of the societal values that had so far dominated the perception of Indian women. Although, he had great reverence for the traditions of the country, he also realized that certain customs and traditions of the Indian society were antithetical to the spirit of development of the women of the nation. To quote Gandhi, " It is good to swim in the waters of tradition, but to sink in them is suicide". The custom of child marriage became a target of his criticisms. In his opinion, child marriage is a source of physical degeneration as much as a moral evil. The system of dowry could not pass unnoticed from his critical eyes. He defined dowry marriages as 'heartless'. He opined that girls should never marry men who demand dowry, at the cost of their self respect and dignity. As Gandhi believed that the basis of marriage is mutual love and respect, he urged people to solemnize inter communal marriages between the Harijans and caste Hindus. Gandhi was extremely perturbed by the plight of the widows, particularly child widows. He put forth an earnest appeal to the young generation of the country to marry the widows. He was also quite hopeful about the immense potentials of the widows in furthering national issues. The system of purdah also came under Gandhi's attacks and he questioned the very foundation of this practice. For him, the purdah system was no less than a "vicious, brutal and barbarous" practice. The predicaments of the devadasis, a part of the lower, untouchable segment of the society, had an indelible effect on the sensitive mind of the Mahatma. The pathetic conditions of the child prostitutes disturbed him immensely. He left no stone unturned for rehabilitating this segment of the society, as for him guarding the honor of women was no less than protecting cows. According to Gandhi, one of the first tasks that need to be accomplished as soon as the country won freedom was to abolish the system of devzdasis or temple women and brothels. 

Gandhi's Perception of Women

There was a marked departure of Gandhi's perception of women from that of other reformers. The stance taken by other social reformers and leaders, prior to Gandhi created a helpless image of the Indian women. With the emergence of Gandhi, a new conception of women gradually gained currency. For Gandhi, women were not mere toys in the hands of men, neither their competitors. Men and women are essentially endowed with the same spirit and therefore have similar problems. Women are at par with men, one complementing the other. According to Gandhi, education for women was the need of the time that would ensure their moral development and make them capable of occupying the same platform as that of men. In Gandhi's views, women can never be considered to be the weaker sex. In fact, women for Gandhi were embodiments of virtues like knowledge, humility, tolerance, sacrifice and faith. These qualities were essential prerequisites for imbibing the virtue of satyagraha. The capability of enduring endless suffering can be witnessed only in the women, according to the Mahatma. The doctrine of ahimsa as preached by Gandhi incorporates the virtue of suffering as is evident in the women. Therefore, Gandhi envisaged a critical role for women in establishing non-violence. Gandhi invoked the instances of ancient role models who were epitomes of Indian womanhood, like Draupadi, Savitri, Sita and Damayanti, to show that Indian women could never be feeble. Women have equal mental abilities as that of men an an equal right to freedom. To sum up in Gandhi's words; "The wife is not the husband's slave but his companion and his help-mate and an equal partner in all his joys and sorrows - as free as the husband to choose her own path." 

Role of Women as Envisaged by Gandhi

According to Gandhi, the role of women in the political, economic and social emancipation of the country was of overriding importance. Gandhi had immense faith in the capability of women to carry on a non violent crusade. Under his guidance and leadership, women shouldered critical responsibilities in India's struggle for freedom. Women held public meetings, organized picketing of shops selling foreign alcohol and articles, sold Khadi and actively participated in National Movements. They bravely faced the baton of the police and even went behind the bars. Gandhi's urge to women to join India's struggle for independence was instrumental in transforming the outlook of women. Swaraj uprooted age old taboos and restrictive customs. Through their participation in Indian struggle for freedom, women of India broke down the shackles of oppression that had relegated them to a secondary position from time immemorial. 

As far as the economic emancipation of women was concerned, Gandhi felt that men and women had different spheres of work. In his opinion, women could take to economic activities to supplement the income of her families like spinning, which he believed to be a good option available to the women. In the social realm, Gandhi envisaged a critical role for women in doing away with the forces of communalism, caste system and untouchability. 

It can be said without an iota of doubt that Mahatma Gandhi was indeed one of the greatest advocates of women's liberty and all throughout his life toiled relentlessly to improve the status of women in his country. His faith in their immense capabilities found expression in his decisions to bestow leadership to them in various nationalistic endeavors.

20111125

Netizens log on to the Dowry Calculator to find out their `true worth'

What's the best way to draw attention to a big issue in India? Make fun of it and hope the youth catch on, thereby promoting the cause.
This is exactly what this mobile and Facebook app aims to do. Taking on the dowry system prevalent in our country as well as `match-making aunties', Tanul Thakur's Dowry Calculator has become a rage among netizens. Released on May 6 this year, it has garnered much support online with half a million hits so far.
“I could have written a serious blog-post lambasting the dowry system but it would have been read by a total of 10 people. So, I decided to comment through a format which had not been tried before,“ says Thakur, an electrical engineer, who later got to know that the release of the website coincided with the marriage season in India.
The app calculates a groom's dowry amount based on different parameters such as his age, salary, profession, skin colour etc. Thakur spent a good amount of time researching different castes and the dowry market of the country. The idea was not to map the real-life story about dowry, but to transcend it by going intentionally over-the-top. “The drop-down options on the app are tongue-in-cheek comments on things that in-laws obsess over while searching for their daughter's groom,“ says Thakur.
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
Close to 67,000 people have shared it on Facebook and more than 1,000 people have re-tweeted it on Twitter. Thakur says, “I think the idea clicked with everyone in a major way, because instead of preaching, Dowry Calculator satires the problem in a unique whimsical manner.“ The app is on the website: i www.dowrycalculator.com.

20111017

Anti Dowry Campaign

An activist dressed as a groom pretends to beg on a street during a campaign against dowry in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Families of many Indian brides go into debt for years to pay wedding dowries.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

20110922

Anti Dowry Campaign by TNTJ

The conference organised by Tamilnadu Thowheed Jamath Coimbatore Chapter carried the slogan of “Anti-Dowry Campaign” to bring the awareness in the community and to bring realization among the youth in particular about the evil effect of dowry. Since its inception Tamilnadu Thowheed Jamath is striving hard to eliminate the scourge of dowry from the Muslim community. To achieve this objective, it has been working for the decades and also succeeded its goal, it has created a community who affirms to this philosophy and abide to the law of the creator "Allah" Allah says in Quran Chapter 4 An-Nisa Verse 4 "And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart;" while on the contrary the community takes dowry from the bride, the evil of dowry is rooted firm in the society and even masjid committee doesnt refrain from this evil practices. Anti Dowry conference organised by Coimbatore chapter of Tamilnadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) started around 7.00 pm, in which the Moulavi.Tameem presented the "state of youth" and the evil effect caused by the modern device "Cell Phone" State Management Committe member Moulavi.Fakeer Althafi also spoke on the evil of effects of dowry. He citied the evil effects of dowry on the basis of Quran and Saheeh Hadith. He stated about the emotional hardship faced by a woman after marriage. He asked the audience to restore Islamic marriage values and avoid those anti-social activities in the community and the increasing rate of unmarried girls in the community, He also stated "Dowry" remains the base for the feticide, gas stove bursting, suicide. Thousands of participants swear by ALLAH and raised their hands up and pledged that they will not take dowry for themselves or their children or give dowry to their children. The conference also saw the participation of Muslim women in large numbers. The anti dowry campaign ended with "Anti Dowry Marriage". The marriage was held on the stage and the nikah was as per the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). The Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath has its members and volunteers spread around the globe. The basic requirement for being a member is that the Member of TNTJ shouldn’t take dowry from bride and shall not attend any such marriage which involves dowry. The members will be expelled from the Jamath if it is proven that he has taken dowry or encouraged dowry marriage. [Nazeer Ahamed is based at Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He can be reached at nazeerahamed.shaikh@gmail.com]

20110812

Dowry--an illness in Pakistan


Dowry is a massive social ill on both sides of the Pakistan. There is no harm for giving the brides gifts on her wedding for her home. The growing numbers of daughters are staying unmarried simply because the parents are not able to meet the demand of the groom’s family. This is a quandary that needs to be looked into. If the parents promise to give dowry to bride after marriage but they cannot fulfill the promise at that time the brides life is miserable and these conditions change into dowry harassment. It covers a spam of behavior by man or his family members. When any person of the family is convince or forces the bride for dowry, it gives women mental depression. Dowry demands are sometimes so severe and cruel that women have often committed suicide to escape from this situation. Many women died because they were severely beaten by the people for dowry. The Dowry system has been practice in Pakistan from time Immemorial. Now it has become a route of life, it poses a challenge which seems difficult to meet. The demands for the dowry became the most essential condition for the marriage settlement. Marriage which is something sacred should be made as simple as possible.

20110715

Dowry and Divorce: The Banes of Indian Society

Being a woman is tough. In India it's tougher. Time is changing and so is our society. With each change, new concepts are added and old traditions are modified. Dowry and divorce are two such modern day issues, closely related to some of the challenges faced by urban women in Indian that I would like to reflect upon.


Dowry

As I cling to my mother's side, she signed a petition to support prosecution of in-laws of our neighbour's daughter who was recently burnt to death for dowry. I was thirteen years old and this was my first ever encounter with dowry. It shook me inside out. Couple of years later I attended my cousin's wedding. Within a day after bhabhi moved in to my cousin's house, I saw a bunch of people sneaking in TV, VCR, washing machine etc from a van, through backdoor of the house. This further baffled me. My relatives were decent, educated and one of the most reputed families of the town. After college, I came to know a family of two brothers, one of whom opted for love marriage, where the bride did not get any dowry and the other went for arranged marriage where the bride got abundance of dowry. The bahu without dowry was not burnt, but was given biased treatment in every little day to day matter and was psychologically harassed.

These are just few examples out of many that highlight the evils of dowry in our society. Not every dowry related case ends with 'kitchen fire death'. It knowingly and unknowingly translates into surreptitious forms of related abuse - female fetus abortion, female infanticide, psychological harassment, suicide, murders etc. With all its amendments, 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act still fails to dither the abuser. Lot of time it is not difficult to find loophole with this law.

Some people chose to blame religion for this malfunction. Ironically, in Hinduism, dowry in its earliest form was designed for women's safeguard. Known as 'Streedhan', it was girl's share of her parent's property and was exclusively for her disposal. Generations of preposterous lust for power and greed evolved this custom into present day form. Curiously enough this phenomenon is vastly seen in growing middle class with increasingly inflated monetary aspirations. Each added qualification, hyperbolize the groom's price tag. It is interesting to see the failure of modern education to cope with this menace. In fact the more educated groom is, the higher he could fetch a bid for himself. Even a highly educated girl would oblige to such gruesome acts.

Then how do we cope with this problem? Laws failed, education failed. I believe the cultural and value system breakdown of our society is the root cause of such menace. Without underestimating the role of appropriate laws and education, a major cultural rethinking and a complete overhaul of male dominated society would be an effective way to start the revelution.
 
Divorce


My encounter with a divorce case is rare, probably because in Hinduism divorce is permitted only in extreme conditions or probably because it is still considered as a taboo in our society. Generally speaking, for Hindus marriage is considered sacred and is more like a duty. It is a bond that cannot be broken. It is unlike in other religions, like Christianity and Islam where marriage is considered as a contract that can be broken at will. But as we start to look at the statistics, it is clear that divorce rate is shooting up with a much faster rate. An overall analysis of the reasons of the breakdown of our family system due to increase in divorce rate, revealed some very interesting points.

In our society, as I regrettably noted from last few years, human values have degraded to its lowest levels. Our value system had plunged. Dowry, lack of respect for the females of the house or for the elders, desire to feel powerful through exploitation of weaker are some of the acts resulting from our skewed morals. Also, our society is going through a transition phase where we are shedding past traditions and adapting to modern age acceptable norms. We are in cusp. For a female this is huge. In past females of our society had been very restricted and bound to burdensome traditions. Time is changing and some urban class educated females are more conscious of their existence, independence and value. Even though this is a positive change and a much required one, it is challenging some of the established traditional institutions. While the males in our families are still raised (knowingly and unknowingly) to adopt a dominant role, females are expected to relent and compromise. As a result there is friction that may lead to divorce.

In urban areas people are getting more individualistic, and social interactions are getting lesser. With less interference of society in family matters, it is easier for a women to live alone as a divorcee. For economically independent women it is far easier to take the decision of divorce than a dependent one. It also gets easier for girl's family to take responsibility of their daughter after the divorce, unlike in past.

Though this may sound like a superstition to some, but I think it is true that before marriage we match the horoscope of bride and groom to see the compatibility of both individuals. If done right and with expert advice, this can be beneficial to a happy marriage. These days with trend in love marriage, the art of matching horoscope is denied by the couples themselves or it is just a formality. Sometimes the advisor is not very proficient in this art and sometime it is denied in the name of superstition. Increase in love marriages had also contributed a lot in increased divorce rate. Lot of times couples take decisions in haste, in repulsion to the society, physical lust or without any matured advice, only to find eventually that they are not made for each other.

Another contributing factor could be the influence of western world which is making divorce, more acceptable phenomena. Disposable culture, individual freedom, desire of constant change, extra-marital and pre-marital affairs, lack of compromise and commitment and fear of taking responsibility are some of the traits common to western world divorce epidemic, which are increasingly infiltrating our system.

I think it is time to address this issue even though I can see the difficulty in achieving the desired results. Our society has to make a collective effort and change certain traditions and mindset for good. It might take a while before we see any progress at all. In fact we might see an increase in divorce rate for a while. We need to support single women psychologically, socially, financially (especially if she is not earning) and legally and make remarriage more acceptable.

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