Saturday, December 24, 2011

Down with dowry!

Man and Woman are now equal in the developed nations. Marriage is decided by the boy and the girl and it is conducted the way they want. Parents are invited for the function and there is no dowry whatsoever. They decide their life after the marriage and the two families just keep away from their lives. The picture is different in the rest of the world: oppression begins from the time a girl is born. Girls of East and North Africa are even subjected to female genital mutilation depriving them of sexual pleasures once and for all. There are girls kidnapped and raped to force them into marriage. Girls can be   surrendered as a sex slave to patch up with an enemy family. Bride burning, stoning to death, acid attacks and divorces at the will of the husband are all very common.
In most of the Arab world and the African continent, bride’s money (called lobola in Africa) is to be given by the groom to the brides’ parents. But this does not in any way mitigate her suffering or the ill-treatment meted out to her. The money is appropriated by the girl’s father and she becomes a purchased commodity or personal property with no right whatsoever.
Men and women are created equal by nature-- their intelligence levels are the same. Man is physically stronger, but women generally are more patient and they have a better EQ. In the evolutionary history, men and women have been assigned different and distinct roles vital for the survival of the species and accordingly they evolved. Women deserve a dignified life with self respect. But in India, trouble for a girl begins from the moment of birth. A huge dowry is to be arranged and she is considered inconsequential: boys are the breadwinners and the torch bearers of the family.  The amount of dowry depends on the education, job and family status of the boy. There is a lot of bargaining and it is like the sale of a commodity. In certain places apart from the huge amount, other items like furniture, cattle, household utensils and cars have to be handed over. It all depends on the final agreements between the elders of the two families. The buyer ends up getting the commodity and the bargained price.  Even after all the transactions are completed and the girl transferred to the groom’s house, she has to bear a lot of pressure from the in-laws to persuade her parents to give more. If the dowry is incomplete, real tragedy awaits her. The in-laws try persuasion before they start the real torture. In some cases she will be killed or burnt which will pave the way for a new marriage and a substantial new dowry. The in-laws will manage to prove she committed suicide: anything is possible here with money and influence. Even after a number of years of ‘married’ life she is subjected to physical torture, unrewarded hard work, beating, abuse, and all sorts of physical and mental oppression. 
Statistics show that in India about 20,000 brides are killed every 3 years by the in-laws for providing dowries deemed insufficient by the in-laws. Dowry was outlawed in 1961. Still the practice is widespread among all the communities of India. If the dowry is insufficient or not fully paid up the bride’s life will be horrendous.
If the youth of India, Islamic world  and Africa could accept:                                                                                          1. Boys and girls are equal in every way and are to be treated at par.                                                                            2. Families should give equal opportunity for education and employment to girls and boys with equal rights for     parents wealth.                                                                                                                                                                        3. Dowry or brides money will not be taken or given.                                                                                                                                            4. Girls have every right a boy is entitled to including the right to divorce                
5. Vow to stop engaging in eve-teasing or oppression of any sort.

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