On 26th January 2023, India is celebrating its 74th republic day. Even after a huge timespan of the making of the constitution and numerous laws, there are still some systems that are prevalent in our society. The dowry system in India simply means any type of valuable goods and cash that is demanded by the groom’s family from the bride’s family. Dowry is even referred to as Dahez in Hindi and in Urdu, it is referred to as Jahez. But the moment these things take an ugly turn, it becomes difficult for people to accept them.
Dowry is considered a social evil in our society which created many tortures, sufferings, and crimes. Gender discrimination is seen due to the dowry system. When a girl is born into a family, she is treated as a burden for her family. A boy is expected to be born more than a girl due to this system. Crimes against women have increased ranging from emotional abuse, and torture to even deaths. Women are threatened to give more assets to the groom’s family. Objectification of women can be seen in this system as modern dowry is more like an investment for the upliftment of the bride’s family and getting connections into powerful and money-making people. The impact of dowry is not only monetary but it also disturbs the mentality of an individual. The girl herself feels like she has no importance in life and that she is only a burden on the family. It sometimes may take the wrong way which has severe consequences. But we as an individual must change this mindset to change our society.
The government has evidently come up with many laws and reforms. The dowry prohibition act 1961 came to protect women. According to this act, it prohibits the request, payment, or acceptance of a dowry. Article 3 of the Dowry prohibition act, 1961 lay down the consequence for giving or taking dowry. But then again it does not apply to offerings that are given at the time of a nuptial. According to Section 498A, if the wife complains about the dowry harassment, the groom and all his family member will automatically get arrested. The laws are there but then it becomes the responsibility of the victim to report the case otherwise the law will not help it.
Section 8 of the Dowry prohibition Act, 1961 makes the offence non-bailable and cognizable which means bail is not granted. Section 8(a) says that the burden of proof is upon the person denying the offence.
Social awareness is important to create widespread awareness against evils. It will help in eradicating the practice. Campaigns can be designed in such a way that they will reach even the deepest strata of society. Educating a girl child is even more important so that she understands her rights and responsibilities which will help in the protection of her rights. Knowledge of one’s rights is important. Only having stringent laws will not suffice. We must change our mindset too and we must teach others as well. In order to make some difference in our society. Educating children about the drawbacks of the dowry system and it becomes the responsibility of an individual to inculcate the spirit of boycotting dowry.
We ourselves can stop this practice by treating our daughters equally without discrimination. By encouraging our daughters to have their own careers and letting them study. By teaching them to be independent and responsible. Hence, education is one powerful and precious present that one can give to his or her girl. This will assist her to be financially dependent and in take sensible decisions. Humans have a tendency to dominate others and regulate the weaker section. Women have been considered weak so the stronger section takes advantage of that. This is a mindset that is harming the ecosystem as everyone wants to have their own right and enjoy their freedom. So one should be very prudent in taking any decision which hampers someone’s right and stay away from getting what they ought to be. If everyone will take a pledge then only positive change will come to our society which is the need of the hour.
Author’s Name: Mimansha Singh (Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies)