Kanpur Gang-rape for dowry case left the nation in shock! Why is Dowry a useless concept?
- What is a dowry?
- How was the concept of Dowry introduced in India?
- Why is Dowry a useless concept?
Gang-rape for dowry: Another shocking incident shook the nation when a case was reported from Kanpur where a woman was allegedly harassed, raped, and thrashed by her husband and his friends. She was punished with gruesome punishment because her family could not fulfill dowry demands.
As per the victim, she was married on 6 march 2020, and since then, her in-laws have been demanding cash of ₹2 lakhs and a car in Dowry. When the demands were not met, her in-laws locked her in a room, and then was gang-raped by her husband with his 3 other friends. She further alleged, “My husband even tried to burn me by pouring petrol.”
Shailendra Singh, Kanpur’s Chakeri police station in charge, said that a case has been registered based on the complainant’s statement. In terms of dowry cases, Uttar Pradesh tops in India. More than 2000 dowry cases were recorded in the state in 2020, followed by Bihar.
It is sad to know that in the 21st century, people are so reliant on the concept of Dowry. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 10366 were registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, in 2020. And 6966 dowry deaths were reported in the same year. The data also shows that at least 19 were killed in 2020 every day when the bride’s side could not fulfil the demand of the Dowry.
A similar case has been registered from Hyderabad where husband threatened to Gang-rape for dowry. She has to bring additional dowry, otherwise, she has to compensate by sleeping with his friend, said Husband.
What is a dowry?
Dowry can be any valuable things or property the bride generally gives the groom as a gift. It can be in cash, ornaments (known as Stree-Dhan), movable or immovable property. In other words, the price demanded by the groom’s side for keeping your daughter safe and the basic facilities she receives once she gets married. Also, if the payments are made on time, there is a guarantee then the newly wed girl will not be tortured.
Dowry is often denoted as Pratha, which is usually associated with the Hindu marriage system. But for the unversed, we would like to make it clear that Dowry is just not restricted to any particular community, religion, or caste. The dowry system is also widely practiced among Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians.
Several times, Hinduism has been trolled for promoting Dowry and looting the bride’s parents in the name of dahej. For the unversed, let us clarify that there is no mention of Dowry in Hindu scriptures. On the contrary, it is mentioned in Vedas that many Chakravarthy Samrath married off their daughters to Saints and sages in only the clothes the girl was wearing at the time of marriage.
So, it is unjustified to blame scriptures for the sins and evils adopted in the name of tradition.
How was the concept of Dowry introduced in India?
In India, it has its roots in medieval times when a gift in cash or kind was given to a bride by her family to maintain her independence after marriage. During the colonial period, it became the only legal way to get married, with the British making the practice of Dowry mandatory.
The ancient Indian literature suggests dowry practices were insignificant during the Vedic period. Those women in ancient India had property inheritance rights either by appointment or when they had no brothers. Property rights for women increased in ancient India over the era of the epic from 200 BC to 700 AD. Brides’ wealth was paid only in the asura type of marriage, considered reprehensible and forbidden by Manu and other ancient Indian eclipses.
Why is Dowry a useless concept?
Dowry, which is demanded as a price for securing a daughter, can’t last forever. The procession comes with an expiry date and will lose its value after a specific time. However, for some, this is not a one-time transaction. In many cases, the boy side keeps demanding materialistic things from the girl’s side even after marriage.
This system has grown a hatred towards a girl child; eventually, they have to be married off with loads of Dowry. Therefore, parents believe that it is better to kill a girl child or start saving for her. Also, many people want to get rid of the problem early. So, instead of sending her for higher studies and spending her on education, it’s better to spend on their wedding.
In many cases, if the girl’s parents think she is unsuitable for a boy, they try to strike a balance in monetary terms. Age, looks, and income play an important role in deciding the amount of Dowry.
The Dowry is not a one-sided story. Suppose the groom’s side is extorting money in the name of marriage. In that case, the bride’s side is paying the price, accepting that their daughters are less than a boy and are compensating for it.
As a society, maybe one article is not enough, maybe 100s of such articles are not enough. Although women are protected by Dowry Prohibition Law, people are having the audacity to perform such acts without fearing the consequences. Either they are not afraid of getting punished or they have faith that a girl will never reach out to the authorities nor her parents will take any action against him.
Crime against women has become a norm because as a society we let that happen “kyuki Beti ki ek baar doli uth Jaye, toh phir Aarthi hi wapis aayegi”. And some actually mean it.
Remember a divorce and unmarried daughter is better than a dead daughter.