The practice of giving dowry is common in our country. Dowry is the money or gifts given to a daughter by her parents at the time of her marriage. Unfortunately, this has become a social problem. The family of the boy demands large sums of money from the girl’s parents. For this reason the birth of a daughter is considered a curse in our society. She is considered as a financial burden on the family. The boy’s family considers it as their right to make demands and a lot of unpleasantness is caused at the time of marriage. Sometimes people even refuse to go through with the marriage if they feel they are not getting enough money.
The girl is very often tortured by the husband and his family for bringing insufficient dowry. Sometimes they are compelled to commit suicide to escape ill-treatment. Worse still, people even resort to murder to do away with a bride who has not brought enough dowries.
Dowry deaths have become a very serious problem in our society. Various legislative safeguards have been introduced over the past fifteen years to combat this problem. But the tragic truth is, that marital and domestic violence including dowry deaths have continued to grow and spread.
The Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961 but it has not been effectively implemented. It was further amended in 1986. Under this law, a person who is convicted can be imprisoned for five years and fined up to fifteen thousand rupees.
But laws alone cannot help to control the menace of dowry deaths. Social awareness, especially amongst young men, needs to be developed through public campaigns. The education and economic independence of women also needs to be encouraged so that their parents do not feel compelled to marry them to dowry seekers.