Dowry is one of the most criticized yet, most practised custom in our culture. We see people shouting slogans against ‘taking’ dowry and Government, making every possible strict rule for people ‘asking’ dowry. But has this stopped? Have we actually changed?
No! I don’t think so. However, we have replaced the ‘word’ with a ‘suitable’ one. We don’t call it ‘dowry’ any more; instead we refer to dowry as ‘Gifts from parents’ to their daughter. More, the better; and costlier, the lovelier. Too much show-off, literally blinding one’s eyes.
Dowry (sorry, gifts!) is not the only problem here. A survey says Indians on an average spend major portion of their savings on a wedding. I mean, really! Is it necessary to be so extravagant? I have seen people who are not at all willing to spend even a penny on their girl’s education, but the same people happily spend lacs on her marriage. How do one explain that?
Even earlier, people used to arrange marriages at their home. The customs and ceremonies would extend for days. The resources were few, back then; but hearts were big. Marriage used to be a matter of joy and togetherness. Everything used to have a personal touch; people were attended individually by the host. Now, nobody wants to waste time being at service of others, so they intelligently outsource everything—food, place, songs etc. Everything comes in ready-made form and the host just makes a final appearance to complete the occasion. They do every effort to make it as lavish as possible.
The catering people make myriad of dishes but nobody really seems caring. They don’t go there to savour the delicacies. Do they? If its bride’s place, you know they are trying to count the number of offerings and the amount one spent on this life time event. I bet you’ll easily spot a car, appropriately decorated to give the hint ‘this is the CAR’ (to be given in dowry. Oops! Gift). How ironical! They don’t trust the bridegroom can even afford a comfortable ride for their daughter and still marrying her off. It is actually funny.
I never showed interest in dowry or whatever you call it. But soon I realized dowry is not actually a thing done for the so-called ‘welfare’ of a daughter but it’s a social compulsion. People find it unpalatable if a well-to-do family sends their daughter empty-handed. It’s not their fault; they are so in habit of seeing the exhibition of the wedding paraphernalia that it’s difficult not to be curious! Once I thought, ‘May be the girls carrying as much as possible things with her, stay happy for life’ but again I was proved wrong, when a very young woman in my neighbourhood, suddenly died. She was (supposedly) the victim of over-giving of dowry by her parents. Remember, more the better and I don’t know why but people love to get freebies and look at the girl’s parents; they keep distributing them.
It’s really disturbing how this gifting has become more of a curse to the girl’s post-marriage life. Governments get rid of the blame for many lives by making laws which prohibit ‘taking Dowry’ but don’t you think, ‘giving dowry’ should have been an equal offence. There are so many malpractices prevalent in our culture; it’s very difficult to curb them from roots.
But again, ‘it is difficult not impossible’. We can help zillion people only if come together. If you really wish to support your daughter, think again…there can be other ways except this.
Try saying ‘No’ to giving and taking ‘Dowry’. Stop ‘buying’ or ‘gifting’ a happy life for your daughter, if you really want to do something, gift her a ‘respectful life’ by making her ABLE—ready to face life, without needing any tag.