Dowry System

Dowry system is a social curse. It means property or money given by a bride’s family to her husband on condition when they get married. The evil system of dowry has been going on since ancient times.

Reasons behind it:
Dowry system is seen in every class of society, between rich and poor, educated and uneducated. This disrespectful ritual has developed due to the low mentality people show towards women in our society. In our society women has forever been considered inferior to men. They are thought incapable of being successful, of being respected and established in the society. In our country, when a girl is born everyone treats her as a burden, not as a blessing. People still possess the thought that their girls will leave their parental houses and they will not contribute in the income of a family. Using this low mentality of general people some greedy, disgusting people try to humiliate women more by placing a long list of items before the bride’s family. Being a man makes them feel superior and they try to use dowry to gain wealth and goods.

Effects of this practice:
The torture inflicted on the bride’s family for fulfilling all unjustified demands of the bridegroom can go to any extent. They often sell everything, their ancestral houses and jewelry and have to take huge loans just to ensure their daughter’s happiness.

If the demands are not met, often the whole marriage is called off. The proud bridegroom and his family do not possess the heart to think about the severe consequences that will follow such act. They do not care about the humiliation that the bride’s family faces, the stress that the to-be bride goes through afterwards as someone rejected at the altar. This often leads to suicide of that innocent girl or death of her distressed family members.

Even if the marriage is completed all fine, the bridegroom’s family never forgets their so called deal. They make the life of the new bride miserable to fulfill their demands. This leads to domestic violence, both mental and physical. The dreams with which a new bride steps in a new home shatters like a broken glass. She is continuously scolded, insulted, reprimanded and punished by her in laws. In some extreme cases the in-laws even go down to the length of burning her alive, beating her up and even throwing acid at her face. They go on pressurizing the bride’s family until their demand is fulfilled penny by penny. If it is not, the bride is of no use to them and so they often divorce her and may even go to the extent of killing her.
Remedies and Conclusion:
To prevent this heinous tradition, government has taken some steps. Dowry Prohibition Act was passed which states that if any person gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he will be held guilty with imprisonment, or with fine, or with both. The Government of Bangladesh in 1993 has set up a cell, called “Nari Nirjaton Protirodh Cell”, within the Police Headquarter, to take specific cases and complaints involving violence against women.

Only enforcing laws is not enough to uproot this threat from our society. To eradicate dowry system women must rise up and realize their rights as citizens and most importantly, as humans. Women must become educated and establish themselves as unique human beings. All of us should change our mentality towards women and respect them. Mass awareness should created by radio, TV and newspapers. Only mass awareness can help eradicate dowry forever and strengthen women empowerment.

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