Dowry is referred to the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. The opposite direction, property given to the bride by the groom, is called dower or mahr. Normally the bride would be entitled to her dowry in event of her widowhood, prior to the evolution of her dower rights; so common was this that the terms “dowry” and “dower” are sometimes confused.
The dowry should not be confused with a bride price, money or goods paid by the prospective groom to the bride’s parents in exchange for her hand in marriage. It should also be distinguished from dowry, which is the money obtained by a wife by filing false dowry case against the husband and his relatives.
In the world the practice of giving women a dowry on breakage of marriage by husband still holds and is assisted by the judiciary and the police through threat of imprisonment. In India, the practice is still very common, in arranged marriages and in rural areas as it is widely recognized as a Traditional Ritual of Marriage. Demanding dowry is prohibited by law as of 1961.
But these laws are highly misused, including mothers and sisters being arrested without investigation apart from the general trend of the husbands and the father of the bridegroom being arrested.Information is easily available in all government agencies about the dowry and the punishment awarded to the people indulging in the devil of a thing being carried out in the society called dowry found by searching for the phrase “IPC 498a.” In spite of refusing to be part of dowry systems many grooms have been brought to grief.
The practice of the bride giving a dowry to the groom is said to have originated in the system of recognition that not only the husband was responsible for providing for his wife, but her father shared this responsibility was initially known to be the cause. Women’s right agencies are now stepping in asking the need for the father of the bride to give payment for the uptake or the well being of his daughter. While the burden is removed from a woman’s father and brothers, it still remains with the husband.
But things though are slowly changing in the view that taking dowry has begun to be looked as an evil and of low integrity by people of the society, and this along with the law has played an important role in reducing this evil. But we still hear of our daughters and sisters and mothers are killed by their in-laws, because they failed to get dowry.
This evil cannot be combated by a few individuals. It requires a wide spread transformation. It is for prospect grooms and sensible men to down play this evil.