The dowry system is a curse for the society. It is really a blot on our society. The evil of dowry is a deep rooted one. The system has made the condition of women in Indian society very miserable. Unless this system is abolished, Indian society can make no progress.
The dowry system is not new for India. It is very old system. It was also present in the days of Gautam Buddha and Mahavir. But in those days there was no compulsion. The parents willingly gave presents, ornaments and money to their daughters at the time of their marriage, but in modern times this system has taken a very ugly shape. It has now become a compulsion. It is now demanded and settled after a hard bargain. The boys are now sold in the open market on the highest price. The parents have to purchase them for their daughters. Even if the girl is equally or highly qualified and career girl still boy’s parents in terms of dowry demand what they have spent on their son’s education, career, business etc. When parents are unable to meet dowry demand their daughters are compelled to accept unmatched marriages.
As a result of this system, many young brides commit suicide. This system has made the lives of poor parents of girls miserable. If they are unable to arrange a rich dowry, they find it difficult or rather impossible to marry their daughters to suitable young boys. Thousands of poor girls are compelled to pass unmarried life on account of this evil. The birth of the daughter in the house becomes a cause of great worry for the parents. Their lives become miserable. Sometimes they have to take loans and remain in debt throughout their lives. Some parents earn money by immoral means for the marriage of their daughters. Some parents are compelled to give their daughters in marriage to old men or widowers. Brides who do not bring rich dowry with them are ill-treated. They are insulted and beaten and sometimes even killed.
There is an awakening in the society against the dowry system now. It has drawn the attention of the government. Anti-dowry Act was passed in 1961, but it could not bring any major change in the society. During the emergency, the government again showed deep interest in rooting out this evil. Many State Governments passed Dowry Acts. Now public meetings are often held in towns and cities to consider ways and means of checking this evil. The youth should appose the direct and indirect ways of offering and accepting dowry. Anti-dowry Act which passed to check the evil, is now being misused by many girls. In many cases it has been found that after marriage girls use this Anti-dowry Acts as a means of blackmailing their in-laws for not fulfilling all their unreasonable demands. Hence there is need to make some amendments in the Act and no investigate anti-dowry cases seriously.
In short, no law will be able to abolish this menace. It is a social problem and can be fought on the social level alone.