This post is testimony to my believe in the fact that dowry remains the cause of all evils that prevail in the Indian society against women. It takes you through the story of a typical Indian female
This is part of the “Human and Women’s Rights” series on my blog. For the very first time, I am writing something that isn’t borne out of personal experiences, doesn’t tell you about my own worries, isn’t based on facts, but, what matters to the society, what I would like to work for, what I have seen in the 19 years I have been on this planet….
Marriage, the union of two parties who wow to fulfill desires, promises and care for each other and to children born out of the wedlock.
Marriage remains one of the most important tasks for an Indian, like a societal aim. A person without marriage might be tagged as sterile, impotent, lunatic or anything you can think off, unmarried folks are seen as undesirable neighbors.
The thing that really enrages me, is the cost of marriage in Indian context. This cost, is what I feel is the root of all evils and cruelty faced by women in India.
A girl child is born (just suppose, it might be killed as a foetus), the common Indian family doesn’t rejoice at all, some might say “Lakshmi ji has arrived in our house” sporting a wry smile but from inside they are worried about a lot of things. Other things, like how much dowry they will need?? How much money will be spent on marriage?? Will she remain happy in her marital home??? These questions and worries form the basis of our anti-female mentality.
She grows up, she is sent to study (maybe), she gives up her studies in middle school (most probably), due to lack of sanitation in her school, or maybe her parents don’t see her education doing any good to the family, instead she could start working and earn some bread for the family, her parents are worried that if she studies more, then it’ll be tough for her to find a groom for her, because a woman cannot be more educated than a man in a marital bond (in common India).
She reaches the final stages of her teenage years, her parents get worried, that their daughter is getting old, the typical Indian male might not prefer a matured women, who understands the world, who might answer back, who might teach a lesson or two…
A marriage is arranged, between two people who don’t know each other, who have never seen each other. But they will be married, they will stay together, maybe for the lifetime, why?? Because they are bound by a contract, the contract that takes place between the bride’s and groom’s family, we lovingly call it dowry….
The bride’s family gives a lot of money, jewellery, vehicles, televisions etc as if trying to sell a faulty product (the bride) by giving free stuff with it which is apparently more valuable than the original product. Yes, this is a sale of grooms, where bride’s family bids for them, the higher you pay, the more affluent family your daughter gets.
This young soul, is married off, the family typically loses most of its savings in the most costly affair in the life of an Indian, called marriage. Marriage, has become more of a show-off, a useless show-off under society’s pressure. A lot of band-baaja-baraat thing happens in a marriage, a huge lot of relatives are fed fancy stuff, care is taken that not even a remote relative is left off or they might feel insulted, ear-deafening crackers and fireworks are burned so that half of the city knows how they feel, “yes, we have sold our product” . Not a single penny is saved, or people might tag them is ‘misers’ or ‘poors’…. The story doesn’t end, it’s just the start…
Now she becomes the newly-wed housewife, before marriage she was not allowed to go out and see the world or the world might have raised questions over her character. She was consoled by her mother, ” Don’t go out now, wait till your marriage”
Now, in her new home too she is bound by the four walls of it, her new mother-in-law states in an authoritative tone, “Now you can’t have the freedom you had in your parents’s home, no you are married, we don’t want our daughter in law to roam around”
This soul remains trapped, physically in the walls of her homes, mentally in the hypocrisy of Indian thinking.
After giving away all their savings, the bridal family expects some peace…. No you can’t get it, you have sold a faulty product na… demands for more dowry arise, the mother-in-law starts taunting, “I don’t know how you ended up in our house, cheap. Are your parents bankrupts, couldn’t they give my son a car?? Misers”. She answers back, (sometimes), her husband shows his manliness,as he beats her for answering back.
The bride’s family, disturbed by the constant threats of delivery of their faulty product back, from the constant torture of their daughter, decides to give away all the meager capital that is still left after the extravagant marriage. And if they don’t have, they take loans at high interest. Failing to meet these demands can also result in bringing bad name to the family in the society. So the demands are met, these demands always keep coming up after some years and their frequencies dipping after some years of marriage.
If the demands are not met, the girl is harassed, it’s like a kidnapping scenario, but instead of asking for ransom for releasing someone, the in-laws ask for ransom for not-releasing someone. (this is legally recognized form of kidnapping in India, we call it marriage), the harassment continues, if the bride is legally conscious she might approach police, courts, etc, but she cannot, remember?? our heroine wasn’t allowed to study… in some case she approaches police, who refuse to register an FIR (because beating your wife is such a trivial matter), even if luckily the FIR gets registered, the in-laws pay a hefty sum to the policewalas (remember??? They got a lot of money in the contract of marriage…) and are left off, the harassment continues. She has two options now, either accept the beatings and insults as they come and expect that her future will be better or she takes her own life…
The one who accepts the insults and punishments, she is proved right (Indian context), after many years, she has become old, she has a son, the son gets married, she gets a lot of money, and she becomes the same greedy mother-in-law she was harassed by many years back, this goes on and on, like ragging, where the mentality remains “If we were ragged as juniors, you’ll also be ragged by us”
The other one takes her life, becomes a news-item for one day (only if she lives in a media-centric area). All the in-laws are in-bars now. Section 304, 498A are applied, cases registered, court proceedings go on and on, the cases are typically fought by state as the bridal family hasn’t got money left to pay to a capable lawyer to fight for justice, and that too for someone who is dead??
The cases go on and on, date after date, years after years no decision just appeals and denials, the dead soul waits for justice, and if it ever comes, it’s too late…. a life could be saved.
The soul wishes that no female is ever born in India…. She curses the institution of marriage, the association of money with it. She cries over the helplessness of her parents, the condition of her sister souls, of the small souls that are just born, who don’t know what future holds for them…
She feels good that a lot of them have been killed in womb; at least they were saved from the contract of marriage, their sale, and the freebies that come with them, the harassment that is entitled to them…. She smiles…. finally….