The Price of Marriage by Deepika Singh SignUp
Boloji.com

Channels

In Focus

 
Analysis
Cartoons
Education
Environment
Opinion
Photo Essays
 
 

Columns

 
A Bystander's Diary
Business
Random Thoughts
 
 

Our Heritage

 
Architecture
Astrology
Ayurveda
Buddhism
Cinema
Culture
Festivals
Hinduism
History
People
Places
Sikhism
Spirituality
 
 

Society & Lifestyle

 
Health
Parenting
Perspective
Recipes
Society
Teens
Women
 
 

Creative Writings

 
Book Reviews
Computing
Ghalib's Corner
Humor
Individuality
Literary Shelf
Love Letters
Memoirs
Quotes
Stories
Travelogues
Workshop
 
 
Women Share This Page
The Price of Marriage
by Deepika Singh Bookmark and Share

Priyanka was eight months pregnant when her neighbor rushed up the stairs only to find her aflame. Her mother in-law had soaked her in kerosene and set her ablaze. The reason: Priyanka's family had failed to meet the constant dowry demands of her husband's family. Unfortunately, S.K is just one number among thousands in the long list of Dowry Deaths that occur in India every year. 

Priyanka's story tells that of many Indian women oppressed in a society that sees them as mere properties of their husbands. As for S.K., for most Indian women, marriage is the only option. The rigid caste system in which they live doesn't allow any other way to go. For families in the lower strata of the rigid caste system, marrying their daughters to eligible bachelors in the higher classes and being able to satisfy their dowry demands is the only way to climb up the social ladder. In this unfair situation in which a man with position can choose the family that offers the best deal, the dowry demands skyrocketed. Women then became a much-devalued trading goods among families.

Dowry was traditionally a voluntary present from the bride's father to the father of the groom, in a custom called "kanyadan". His daughter was going to become another member of her husband's family. In the higher castes, this meant another non-producing member to sustain, and dowry was a way to compensate the groom's family for it. But what was a voluntary gift has evolved into a way of extortion from brides and their families.

The fact that some important Hindu scriptures such as Manu-Samhita describe women as a "property" of the husband did not exactly help in this matter. Even though many traditionalist groups have tried to see in this a religious justification for Dowry, there's no doubt that the reason for this evolution is purely economic. Dowry deaths are very closely linked to Hindu society. Most of these deaths occur in the Hindu Heartland and are almost inexistent in non-Hindu communities.

Unfortunately this is changing. The number of deaths has not only increased in the past 10 years but has only spread to areas that had never registered dowry deaths. Pakistan and Bangladesh, traditionally free of this custom, have now the rare honor of having their own lists of dowry violence.

More and more women find themselves trapped in an abusive marriages with no way out. Many of these marriages are purely sacramental, with no civil contract. This makes them defenseless before the law. Even with the possibility, divorce is not a valid choice for Indian women. There is just no place for unmarried women in it.

According to the Manusmriti, considered one of the most relevant legal text in ancient India, "A woman is undeserving of independence". How this deeply rooted belief is to be eliminated is now in the hand of cultured Indian women that are slowly making their way through and breaking the stereotypes of their existence.

Share This:
24-Aug-2000
More by :  Deepika Singh
 
Views: 2479      Comments: 0




Name *
Email ID
 (will not be published)
Comment
Characters
Verification Code*
Can't read? Reload
Please fill the above code for verification.
 
Top | Women



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018 All Rights Reserved
 
No part of this Internet site may be reproduced without prior written permission of the copyright holder
.