In olden days giving away dowry during marriages was very common. The aristocratic class celebrated their daughters’ marriages in pomp offering by land, jewellery, properties, vehicles and large sums of money to the bridegroom. In these days too the rich in several communities celebrate their daughters’ marriages in a very grand fashion. The Maharajas celebrated the marriages of their daughters by spending lavishly. Ordinary people wonder at the huge amount spent on marriages and the grand feast for thousands and thousands which include the choicest food items and choicest liquor.
Wealthy people, Zamindars and princely class can afford to spend on marriages as much as they wish. Unmindful spending in marriages is questionable when most of our people struggle to make both ends meet.
To the common man, giving dowry is very problematic. Some of the people in the society are employed in offices or do some petty business. In many families the earning member may be only one. He may get a meager salary and he may not have any savings. He may not have any close relative to help him in needy circumstances. He may have to marry off daughter when he is about to retire or after he retires. His retirement benefits may amount to a few lakhs of rupees. If he spends most of the money on the marriage of his one or two daughters how can be lead a comfortable life in the rest of his life? This is the condition for most of the families. Having spent most of the money a person gets on retirement he suffers during his last days. This situation is very pathetic. Unless he gives a sizeable amount as dowry and spends a large portion of his earning on his daughter’s marriage he cannot get his daughter married. Even an educated girl who earns well has to be given off in marriage with dowry. Unless the bridegroom’s parents are determined enough not to seek dowry this social evil cannot be abolished.
The married girl is often harassed if the dowry demanded is not given in full. She is ill-treated, abused and she suffers a lot. If her husband is not understanding enough her condition is pitiable and she silently suffers the torture. Even the educated, enlightened in-laws sometimes ill-treat a married girl. This is however the age of feminism. Gender equation is a vital message of our day. The constitution declares that “it is the fundamental duty of all citizens to renounce practices derogatory of women”.
Giving dowry to a girl during a marriage is nothing but underestimating her value. Marriage has sanctity. Marriage is a spiritual bond. Let us give marriage the high status which it rightly deserves.