Dowry system is as old as man is. The dowry system is a social evil. It is prevalent in all parts of India and almost in all the countries of the world.In India many of the traditional customs have been given up, but the custom of dowry has not only continued, but flourished over the years. Even in the old age the dowry system was in vogue and dowry was used as means for striking a good match. In due course dowry became an integral part of the marriage institution and is generally accepted by the society as necessarily evil.
he custom of dowry has become widespread. Even before the marriage, the amount to be given as dowry is discussed and settled with the change of time. The contents of dowry have undergone a great change. The boy’s parents openly demand money and other items which include car, scooter, fridge, colour T.V. etc.
The rate of dowry changes according to the qualification of the boy. There are “rates” fixed for I.A.S., I.P.S., P.C.S., I.E.S. officers and qualified engineers and doctors. In fact, a regular marriage cannot be held and a marriage without dowry is almost unthinkable. Hence the custom has become a curse particularly for those parents who are either poor or unfortunate because they have several daughters.
Hardly is there a day when one does not read of dowry deaths in the national daily newspapers. Brides bringing less than expected dowry are ill treated by their in-laws and other relatives. Many of them cannot bear it any more and commit suicide. Those who do not have enough courage to do so, are burnt alive by their husbands and the in-laws.
Now and then voices have been raised against this evil custom. Even the social reformers like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Dayanand tried their best to create a social consciousness against this practice. Also, the Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961, but it has not made any difference. Laws never succeed in eradicating social evils. Social awakening is needed to achieve such goals.
Now-a-days several women’s organizations have come into being in order to check this evil. Even our young boys and girls are taking oath not to follow this evil customs. State governments have also come forward with better legislation. Now taking and giving dowry is made a organizable offence. Much has been done, but much more needs to be done.
Though there is marked effect of this movement still people have not given it up totally. They have started secret deals. Total eradication of dowry system is possible only when the mentality of the people changes. Young boys and girls should not come under the pressure of parents. Educational institutions should canvass against the dowry system. Even children should be made to read stories dealing with ill-effects of dowry. People should be told how this system has weakened our nation. It should be installed in the minds of young men and women that to give and to take dowry is a sin. Hence, the evil can be curbed, and eliminated only through social awakening and reform. But in the meantime, the law and the judicial system must provide solace and all possible help to those who wish to resist the pernicious manifestations of the dowry system.