Dowry means those gifts and presents which are given by a father or a guardian to his daughter at the time of her marriage. In ancient times, it was considered as a sort of help to the newlyweds to establish their own home. Mostly the dowry in those days was in kind, say a variety of things useful for new homes, and not in cash, as the system now prevails. Those gifts were given voluntarily and without any demands made under pressure.
About a hundred years ago, there was a custom that the prospective husband used to offer gifts and presents to his would-be bride’s father. But this custom proved a major handicap for many persons who could not marry early in life for want of funds to buy such gifts. There were many unfortunates who could not marry at all for this reason.
But custom are never stationary. They undergo changes. Now, at present this custom has been reversed. Instead of the prospective husband, it is the bride’s parents who have to offer gifts and presents to the bridegroom and his parents. As such, it has become extremely difficult to arrange a girl’s marriage without dowry. Now, the system has become a social evil.
Dowry system has become one of the greatest social evils these day and hundreds of innocent lives have been lost. Even the educated parents expect their daughter-in-law to bring money and gifts from her family. They use dowry system as a short-cut to amass wealth. They torture someone else’s daughter without thinking that their own daughter might also meet the same fate. We have legislations in our country to stop giving and accepting dowry. Yet this system is very much in existence. Unless we are ready to bring in a change of hearts, no legislation can be effective. Better burn your greed and spare your brides.