2 thoughts on “Dowry Revisited”

  1. The thing is if the parents give their daughter out of their own will and the daughter uses it to essentially be independent or provide a ballast to her new household, then we have a positive effect of dowry. Traditionally, dowry besides wealth included servants, personal fetishes and the like which would enable the daughter to live at ease (with a sense of the home) in a new strange place.

    However, the case is that the anti-dowry law is in response to the husband / husband’s family usurping the dowry for themselves (and harassing the girl and her family).

    Also your logic is contradictory. If dowry is a contract between two families, it cannot be equal to a personal inheritance sharing between parents and the daughter (because the girl side is paying to the boy side – if it is a share of the property, why should it be paid to the boy side).

    If it is the latter i.e. share of the property, than the family of the husband has no say on the dowry unless the wife allows it. So it cannot be a contract between two families.

    I think you are mixing up causality here. The need for daughters getting a share of their parents’ inheritance is in response to encouragement of large proportion of families with only daughters and who are practicing family planning by not having any more kids (or they do not practice infanticide in the case of girls). Hence a law that makes inheritance irrelevant where your children are male or female.

    1. Actually I guess, the funda he was trying to put was that ideally the dowry was only meant for the girl. And thus it was a sort of inheritance. Although, the concept got distorted (if you will) with the husband’s family forcibly negotiating and bullying the girl into handing it over for their own purposes and so it became a contract.

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