Dowry is basically the cash, jewelry, furniture, property and other tangible items given by the bride’s family to the bridegroom and his parents during the event of marriage and this system is called Dowry System. It has been prevalent in India for centuries. The Dowry system is one of the evil systems prevalent in society. It is said to be as old as human civilization and is rampant in many societies across the globe.
Long and Short Essay on Dowry System
Essay – 1 (250 words)
The dowry system, that includes the bride’s family offering gifts in the form of cash and kind to the groom’s family, is largely condemned by the society however some people argue that it has its own advantages and that people are still following it only because it does hold importance for the brides and benefits them in certain ways.
Are There Any Advantages of the Dowry System?
Many couples these days choose to live independently and it is said that dowry that mostly includes gifting cash, furniture, car, and other such assets acts as financial support for them and helps them to begin their new life on a good note. As both the bride and groom have just begun their career and are not that sound financially they cannot afford such huge expenses all at once. But is it a valid reason? If this is the case then both the families should invest in getting them settled rather than putting the entire burden on the bride’s family. Moreover, this should hold good if the families can afford to offer financial help to the newlywed without coming under debt or lowering their own standard of living.
Many also argue that those girls who are not good looking can find grooms by meeting the latter’s financial demands. It is unfortunate that girls are seen as a burden and marrying them off as they enter their twenties is the priority of their parents who are willing to do anything for the same. Providing huge dowry in such cases works and this evil practice seems like a boon for those who are able to find (buy) groom for their daughters. However, it is time such a mindset should be changed.
The supporters of the dowry system also state that providing a huge amount of gifts to the groom and his family raises the status of the bride in the family. However, statistics reveal that in most cases it has worked against the girls.
The advocators of the dowry system may come up with various unreasonable reasons to support the system but the fact remains that it does more harm than good to the society as a whole.
Essay – 2 (400 words)
Dowry System that initiated as a decent practice to help the girls financially as they took on the new phase of their life has gradually turned evil. Just as child marriage, child labor, caste system, and gender inequality, the dowry system is also one of the evil social systems that need to be eradicated for the society to prosper. However, unfortunately despite the efforts made by the government as well as various social groups, this heinous system is still very much a part of the society.
Why is the Dowry System Still Intact?
Does the question remain that even after making dowry a punishable offense and spreading awareness about the ill-effects of this system through several campaigns why do people still practice it? Here are some of the main reasons why the dowry system remains intact despite being condemned by the masses:
- In the Name of Tradition
The system of the bride’s family giving gifts to the groom and his family in the form of jewelry, cash, clothes, property, furniture, and other assets are being practiced for decades. It has been given the name of tradition in various parts of the country and when the occasion is as pious as a wedding, people cannot dare to neglect any tradition. People are following it blindly even though it is a burden for the bride’s family in the majority of the cases.
- Status Symbol
For some, the dowry system is more of a status symbol. The bigger the car they give and the greater the amount of cash they give to the groom’s family the more it boosts the status of both the families. Hence, even though they cannot afford many families end up throwing lavish wedding functions and giving numerous gifts to the groom and his relatives. It has become more of competition these days. Everyone wants to beat the other.
- Lack of Strict Laws
While the government has made dowry a punishable offense, the law has not been implemented strictly. There is no check on the exchange of gifts and dowry given during marriages. These loopholes are one of the main reasons why this evil practice still exists.
Apart from these, gender inequality and illiteracy are also major contributors to this heinous social system.
It is sad how even after completely understanding the ill effects of the dowry system people in India still continue to practice it. It is time people in the country should join hands to eradicate this problem.
Essay – 3 (500 words)
The Dowry system has been prevalent in our society as well as many other societies across the globe since times immemorial. While it started as helping the daughters to be self-sufficient and financially independent as they moved to the new place over the period of time it has turned into a heinous practice that rather than empowering the women has turned against them.
Dowry is a Curse to the Society
Dowry, the practice of giving gifts in the form of cash, property and other assets by the bride’s family to the groom and groom’s family, can actually be termed as a curse to the society especially to the women. It has given rise to several crimes against women. Here is a look at the various troubles this system creates for the brides and their family members:
- Financial Burden on the Family
The parents of a girl child begin saving for her ever since she is born. They keep saving for the wedding for years as they are responsible for conducting the entire affair right from decoration to catering to renting the banquet. And as if this wasn’t enough, they also require giving a huge amount of gifts to the groom, his family as well as his relatives. Some people end up borrowing money from their relatives and friends while others take loans from the bank to meet the demands.
- Lowers Standard of Living
The bride’s parents end up spending so much on their daughter’s marriage that they often end up lowering their standard of living. Many end up in debt and spend the rest of their lives repaying it.
- Gives Rise to Corruption
Giving dowry and organizing a decent enough wedding function is something that cannot be escaped for those who have a girl child. They need to accumulate money for the same no matter what and in the event many give in to corrupt means such as taking bribes, forging tax or conducting certain business activities using unfair means.
- Emotional Stress for the Girl
The in-laws often compare the gifts brought by their daughter-in-law by those brought by other girls in their vicinity and pass sarcastic remarks making her feel tormented. Girls often feel emotional stress due to this and some even undergo depression.
- Physical Abuse
While some in-laws make it a habit to be sarcastic with their daughter-in-law and leave no occasion to humiliate and bad mouth her others take to physical abuse. Several cases of women being hit and burned because of their inability to fulfilling the huge dowry demands keep surfacing every now and then.
- Female Foeticide
A girl child is seen as a burden for the family. It is the dowry system that has given rise to female foeticides. The female fetus is aborted by several couples. The cases of the girl child being abandoned are also common in India.
The practice of dowry is strongly condemned. The government has also passed a law making dowry a punishable offense however it is still being practiced in most parts of the country causing agony for the girls and their families.
Essay – 4 (600 words)
Dowry System has been a dominant part of Indian society. In many parts, it is known to be embedded in the culture and has become more of a ritual. This undue custom of the bride’s parents giving away expensive gifts in the form of cash and kind during her wedding started as a way of empowering the women as they began their new life at a completely new place.
Initially, cash, jewelry, and other such gifts were given to the bride however the sole purpose of the system has deviated over the period of time and the gifts are now given to the groom, his parents, and relatives. The jewelry, cash and other stuff given to the bride are also kept in safe by her in-laws. A number of factors such as illiteracy, gender inequality and lack of strict laws against this system have given rise to this evil practice.
Laws against Dowry System
The Dowry system is one of the most heinous social systems in Indian society. It has also given rise to several issues such as female foeticide, abandoning of the girl child, financial problems in the girl’s family, unfair means to earn money, emotional and physical abuse of the daughter-in-law. In order to curb this problem, the government has come up with laws making dowry a punishable act. Here is a detailed look at these laws:
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
By way of this act, a legal system to monitor the give and take of dowry was put in place. As per this act, a penalty is imposed in the event of dowry exchange. The punishment involves a minimum of 5 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of INR 15,000 or the dowry amount based on whichever is greater. Demand for dowry is equally punishable. Any direct or indirect demand for dowry could lead to 6 months of imprisonment and a fine of INR 10,000.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
Many women are abused emotionally and physically for not meeting the dowry demands of their in-laws. This law has been put in place in order to empower women against such abuse. It protects women from domestic violence. All forms of abuse including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual are punishable under this law. The punishment for different types and severity of abuse vary.
Possible Ways to Eradicate Dowry System
Despite the laws inflicted by the government, the dowry system still has a stronghold in the society. Here are a few solutions for eradicating this problem:
Lack of education is one of the main contributors to social practices such as dowry system, caste system, and child labor. People must be educated to promote logical and reasonable thinking to get rid of belief systems that give rise to such evil practices.
- Empowering Women
Instead of looking for a well-settled groom for their daughters and investing all their savings at the wedding, people must spend on the latter’s education and make her self-dependent. Women must continue to work even after their marriage and focus their energy on productive things rather than succumbing to the sarcastic remarks of in-laws. Women must also be made aware of their rights and how they can use them to guard themselves against any kind of abuse.
- Gender Equality
Gender inequality that exists at the core of our society is one of the main reasons for the dowry system. From a very early age, children must be taught how both males and females have equal rights and are not superior/ inferior to each other.
Apart from these campaigns should be held to sensitize the issue and the laws set by the government must be made more stringent.
The Dowry system is the cause of agony for the girl and her family. The solutions mentioned here must be taken seriously and incorporated into the system to get rid of this problem. The government and the general public must join hands to eradicate this system.