Dowry system is very common in India. Under this system a girl’s father provides cash and good to the bridegroom at the time of marriage. Sometimes it is given by the girl’s father voluntarily or is demand by groom’s parents. At times, it is obtained through coercive methods. In any case, it is a burden for the bride’s father or relatives.
The system is a long one and is prevalent for centuries. For this, families have become accustomed to it. After the birth of a female child, normally, their parents start saving money for dowry at girl’s marriage. It is a burden for which the parents of the family have to make all sorts of sacrifices.
Originally, there was either no coercion or very little coercion at the time of marriage. So the system is old and deep-rooted. People knew it, as a custom that at the time of marriage of the girl, the parents of the girl will provide the required dowry. Gradually, the system developed numerous evils- both social and economic. This resulted in opposition to the system.
Evils of the dowry system are more than one. First, it places the girl’s father in a weaker position- psychologically and economically and the economy of the girl’s father is shattered for a long period. Secondly, at the times, there is an element of coercion, and it causes rift between wife and husband or between the families of the boy and girl. It may result in divorce or legal separation or dowry death. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first man to oppose the system. Since then many individuals, organization and the government has tried to remove the evil of dowry system.