The Dowry is a Curse, must be Abolished

By: Jamil Ahmed Qasmi

Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre, Mumbai

The dowry system is one of the biggest curses in our society. The poor families are severely affected by it. Due to this evil practice many houses are reduced to ashes and lives lost from times unknown.

Today on 4 October 2020, according to newspaper reports, three women were burnt in a single day at different locations within India because they did not bring demanded dowry from their parental houses! It was shocking, it shocked me and now keying these words.

What is going on here? Rape, honour killing, lynching and burning women for dowry are becoming normal and increasing in each passing days. There is no effective initiative from the government or the social reform groups to stop this crime or stand by the victims.

The forced dowry  is against the law. Islam, as a religion, also discourages both giving or taking dowry and encourages marriages to be simple from both sides.

There are thousands of dowry related cases every year in India but very few offenders are actually punished. It shows that laws are not effectively working to stop or at least reduce this maniac behaviour within our society.

To my understanding there are a few measures, if we socially apply these, we may gradually see a reduction in dowry related crime. The measures are as under:

1. Social reform groups and NGOs should create a strong movement and form public opinions against forced dowry. People should be educated at village level about the evil of dowry and how it has been causing havoc in our society.

2. People who practice dowry system should be socially discouraged and shamed. If excess expenses are noticed, taxes should be applicable on the parties.

3. Women rights and human rights organizations and civil society members should hold dowry killing with the same intensity and vigour as they do with rape-murders and child abuses.

4. Young men and women should be made to take a pledge against this and such other inhuman evils in school level. School books should include social reform chapters.

5. Group or community marriages, as in Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina etc., can be encouraged to reduce dowry demands and make marriages a simple but beautiful community affair, shared by all without much expenses.

6. The men should frankly reject the demand for dowry from their parents, especially the mother in this case. Demand for dowry reduces a party to a status of a beggar. An honourable man should not put himself on sale for whole life, which is also against manhood in real sense.

This existing dowry system is a curse for all, it is reducing us - human, into saleable commodities. It is ruining our family lives, increasing divorces, causing suicides, creating mental and physical tortures to  women - who are our mothers, sisters, wives or daughters in some or the other ways. It also severely affects mental health condition of the new generation at homes. This custom is very disgraceful, it is evil and must be abolished by all means from our society by all religious and cultural communities.