While aadisht does a series of posts on dowry, I think the whole concept doesn’t make sense. That something as trivial as dowry should find a place in the indian constitution, so much to make it illegal and stuff!

To me, dowry is a part of a transaction that happens as part of another transaction which is wedding. And if the two parties mutually agree to transfer a certain amount of money/goods, so be it! Why should we go around on a moral high ground and even ban such transactions?

So, you will ask me about the millions of women in the country who are victims of “dowry deaths” (further screwing up our already screwed up sex ratio). They are simply victims of harassment. Period. If a husband regularly beats up his wife, I don’t care why he is beating her up. Whether it is because of flirting with neighbor’s uncle or because of she didn’t comb her hair or because she didn’t give him money! Beating her is a crime and he should be punished for that! The cause of beating be damned.

I know that a large number of cases of domestic violence are dowry-related. However, given the success rate of convictions in dowry related cases (where a large number of cases are dismissed because what the husband asked for “doesn’t qualify as dowry”) the dowry law simply doesn’t make sense. And add to this the concept of reverse-dowry-harassment, where a woman decides to harass her in-laws by allegging that they asked her for dowry!

Dowry should be abolished – abolished from the constitution that is. What we need is to strenghthen laws against domestic violence and harassment (both physical and mental). And (ok it’s cliched but ) to improve our education system (general feeling is educated people don’t take dowry, though i don’t think that is the case – popular knowledge in IIT is that a Reddy IITian is “worth” 2 crore on an average).

Update: Here is a previous post of mine on dowry

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