STOP BIDDING START CHOOSING
For centuries marriage in our country was considered a sacred union of two families but today thanks to dowry it has become a business dealing done with calculated negotiations and bargaining. The age old tradition of dowry has been conveniently twisted over the years to suit the needs of the greedy and hence has turned into a menace for both the girl and her parents. There is no end to greed which is the reason why there is still no end to this problem.
While society in many ways is responsible for this continuing evil, the larger blame lies on families who despite knowing it is a crime indulge in giving and taking dowry. But, the largest share of the blame lies on the girls who allow themselves to be a victim. Dowry problems exist mostly in the middle and higher classes the so called educated class of society and it is a shame that these educated girls are silently accepting it.
Even an uneducated lower class woman is bold enough to fight against injustice and stand up for her rights but it is these educated girls who are still in the shackles of misconstrued traditions, family honor, false prestige and so on and so forth. Most parents educate the girls to increase their bargaining power at the time of marriage. Education is not just about obtaining professional degrees and high flying careers but it should also broaden ones thinking. These girls should wake up and understand that education empowers them to question and fight against injustice, discrimination and so on and so forth and there is no social stigma in this. When a small child knows that playing with fire can burn your hands how can these educated girls not know that when you buy your life partner your life and happiness is literally burnt. These girls should be strong enough to not fall for family pressure or emotional blackmail and can seek legal protection in such cases. The girls should be assertive that their life partners come with character and not a price tag.
There are instances where girls are always protected and pampered by parents so even after marriage they expect the same. When girls today are fighting for equal opportunities in all fields they should not shy away from shouldering equal responsibility in household and financial matters be it before and after marriage. This is the true purpose of education and woman’s liberation.
The educated guys also have a big role to play. They should stop themselves from being price tagged and realize that the life partner herself is a value addition for his life and family and not the dowry she brings. A true man is one who treats a woman as an asset and not a liability.
Parents should also shun the notion that girls are a burden and their responsibility is to get them married as soon as possible. While some can afford others resort to desperate means to fulfil the demands because of a misguided belief that their daughter will be happy and treated well. The sad fact is they fail to understand that money minded greedy people can never be satisfied and they have actually bought misery for their daughter.
While parents superficially flaunt their wealth in the form of dowry they don’t notice their biggest wealth is their daughter who can give them a lifetime of unconditional love and support. Once they see their daughter as an individual, appreciate her capabilities, know her needs and respect her feelings they will automatically expect the same from the family and life partner they choose for her.
Today there are strong laws against dowry so it is the responsibility of society to report those cases when witnessed educate people at all levels and render support to victimized families and girls.
No parent would like to give away their daughter empty handed but this should be voluntary and within means not obligatory or forced upon. This is the true tradition of dowry and when this is practiced parents will stop bidding and start choosing life partners for their daughters.
Social evils like dowry has been discussed time and again but is there any change in our system I don’t think so to read more try Dowry? What dowry?, Marriages – Made in heaven? and Muslim wedding flight.