Its not Dowry … Its our culture !!

The bride looked heavenly seated on a royal parapet lit up with hundreds and thousands of artificial lights, huge pillars decorated with thousands of fresh and artificial flowers surrounded her. Every one present there fell silent with awe and admiration at her radiant and pristine beauty; laden with heavy gold and diamond jewelery, a trousseau embellished with pearls and sequence…She looked like a goddess waiting to enter a new and beautiful phase in her life..or at-least hoping to…! But were all those around only dumbstruck by her beautiful appearance or were they figuring out if she was loaded with so much expensive stuff then at what cost was the groom actually bought…?? !! Yes, now the latter seems to be more pertinent…!!

This is not the scenario of just one wedding or a wedding in just one part of India; It is infact true to many communities and many parts of India. A fairytale wedding is every girl’s dream – that one perfect day! But in the connotation understood these days it is expected to be a show of ones wealth;it is expected to be a show of how much the groom has received in the marriage market;marriage has become more of a cheap business deal rather then something ethereal and solemn.

Society pressurizes us to give every imaginable gift while marrying off our daughters – from shoes, a hundred dresses, cutlery and crockery sets to furniture for the newly weds room or better still, for every room in the house, a wide variety of gold, silver and diamond jewellery, a vehicle, gifts for every member of the grooms family and ideally a large piece of land as well. Most would term it as culture and tradition when actually this practice is “plain social blackmail”.

Who is responsible for promoting this social evil? Is it the groom’s side for demanding it directly or indirectly;the brides side for always obliging or today’s brides and grooms who inspite of being well educated and well settled in terms of jobs still don’t stop their parents from promoting this social evil in the pretext of age old traditions and culture !!!! Who is RESPONSIBLE ??

Why parents give daughters a good education when in the end they still have to ‘purchase’ a suitor?And how can a girl live “happily ever after” with a groom, who is like an expensive machinery and for life requires maintenance in terms of money from her parents … !!

This is just one facet of this social menace has, people expect the brides family to get jobs for their son-in-law, pay their debts, finance births and education of their children, present the new family with lavish gifts on each and every occasion to come for the rest of their lives.Shouldn’t all this extravagance and greed be baned from our society?

So how do we eradicate this social evil? In my personal opinion, I do not think that the senior members of our society who still think “dowry” is not “dowry” but a part of culture wherein we show our love for the in-laws can or ever will change their thinking…It is upto us the new generation and the generations to come to take a stand that no dowry disguised as “mandatory rituals”, or “gifts” be either given or exchanged during marriages…It is upto us to make sure that marriage is the spiritual unification of two individuals and not a groom sale bazaar…!!

51 thoughts on “Its not Dowry … Its our culture !!

  1. Dowry is a bad thing! But when it comes in the form of a gift, can you say no to accept it? Or if the parents of the bride say that this money was in the bank in her name right from childhood, can you say no to something like that?

  2. I am against dowry but I am also against a large wedding expense where you invite hundreds and spend of fine clothes that you will probably wear just once.

    To a certain extent I have to agree with Danny that if its a gift how can you refuse but the counter argument would be why cannot the money be held in the girl's name alone? The same could apply to the money saved from not having a lavish wedding. The truth is today most weddings cannot be had without at least an expense of 3 lakh rupees.

  3. If the gift stays with the daughter then its a different story..but gifts during weddings range from a handkerchief to a car for the boy and clothes, jewellry for the groom's family..on top of that there is an added need to have an extravagant wedding which makes no sense at all!

  4. Indeed if the money has to be given it should be given to the girl without spending on useless stuff…

  5. To Danny and Sriram's point. It is possible to ask the attendees to donate what they would have given as gift to a charity of the bride and grooms choice. This has been done successfully in several weddings, including my sisters. So it is possible to change.

  6. Also meant to write that yes, like you say, it is our job to change the culture instead of suddenly acting like our parents are all powerful. I am sure each one of us has done stuff during our growing up years that are not exactly parent approved. So why shy away from this most important thing?

  7. I totally agree but its a loooooooooooooong way to go!
    In some communities the dowry or the gifts is not because the groom needs it , but its more of a status symbol…Like the older bride brought 10 sovereigns, the younger 20 and so on…

    When I was in KL I found that the third generation Indians there – the bride paid for the engagement exp and the groom for the wedding out of their pockets ..Nothing from parents…Something we Indians still in India are yet to adopt!!!

  8. Yes that's true..Its not only the groom's side but the bride's side too needs to change its thinking..We call ourselves educated but still practice such archaic traditions which are nothing but tragic farce!

  9. Dowry is a system that should vanish. Without some social change, it's impossible. Perhaps, women can take the lead in effecting the change. Refuse to marry unless the man is man enough to marry without dowry.

  10. Completely agree, Nabanita.

    It is a menace that we need to get rid off.. There are people who go around claiming they do not support dowry but are themselves guilty of accepting/demanding expensive gifts.. and covering it all as goodwill and tradition.. find it sickening!

    Good to read your thoughts about the issue..

  11. I agree.. I know so many so called 'educated and well off' people who have themselves taken dowry in the guise of 'traditions'!

  12. dowry started with the purpose of providing certain basic necessities for the couple to set up home but it has distorted beyond recognition….today everybody is a die-hard consumerist & a wannabe-so they would like to have the choicest items in dowry….everyone who marries aspires to have a designer home & a fairytale wedding,the latter has crossed all boundaries of decency; it has become an obscene display of wealth….otherwise how would these event managers earn?…the lenhgas today cost a fortune,do you think any girl will settle for a simple one if a fancy one can be had? it is not the boy's side alone which is greedy;the whole ceremony has become a "tamasha".
    I am so glad you have raised your voice against this,but you & i are still in a minority.

  13. I wish all the people in our Indian society would think like this and eradicate this evil forever from earth!

  14. true we can only do so much…the world out there also needs to wake up and do something about it!

  15. DAMN! Every word of it is true! I am glad I read it! I posted a similar post on my blog, don't bother checking it please. But what you wrote up there is just….!!!! As my sister calls it "We are just status-mane-quines for our parents" and your post can be completely related!

  16. I am more than 30 now (guy),I have to marry in anytime from six months to 2 years (also due to family pressure). I regret that I don't have a gf; I hate this custom. Parents are looking for one and it would involve all this tamasha! I want to marry in a temple with no dowry. But ppl think something is wrong with the guy if you don't take dowry! Some female friends even say it is indirectly the girl's property that she gets (which she won't if there is no dowry!).

  17. Very well said Nabanita….loved the post and totally agreed with you….

  18. it isn't part of our culture. it is part of our lack of culture. india is one of the least cultures countries in the world if actually sit and think about it. is it something to feel shameful about.

  19. I know our society in reality has a sick mentality which is the reason of most of the social evils…

  20. Dowry has changed a lot in the recent times by the increasing love marriages. I have known several of my friends who have had love marriage without dowry. Previous generations can't be changed as you told. But our generation is changing and it will change gradually and eradicate the practice in another three to five generations. Till then the fight against dowry shall remain.

    A good read!

  21. I cringe every time I read about a death in a dowry harassment case in the newspapers.Yes, you are right the onus is on us the younger generation to change that mindset and not treat dowry as a mandatory gift or ritual.

    A thought provoking post, Naba. 🙂

  22. system made by people
    when people change ,
    system automatically change….
    now a days many wedding expenses were shared between both the party..
    good things 🙂

    i read your tag "i love to write…"
    may be u can also feel what i written in my poem "personal dairy".
    if u have time just check once {http://panktee.blogspot.in/}
    may be u can write on this too…

  23. Remember that in certain contexts it is true that taali Ek haath se Nahee bajthee ; I would like to add one point in your strong post that there are many parents of bride who Aldo lure groom with theory wealth and pollute the social environment

  24. totally agree with you Nabanita! your articles are awesome and educative to the modern society to bring the changes! keep going wid such articles…

  25. Well, I feel that the bride and the groom should simply reject money from both the sides…I do not want anybody's money. Not even my own family's. I shall live off what I earn…It may be less…I will work hard for more…May be I will ask a bank for a loan…But I shall live within my means…according to me, that is the simple truth, that people need to understand…

  26. I just love what you wrote here…I just wish more people start thinking like that !

  27. article is super hot on a burning issue in the society! there is also another sickening trend that if one doesn't demand for dowry / gift it may be quite possible that they fall under the clouds of suspicion by bride's parent!

  28. Very well written…. I believe that its as much the 'ladki walon's' responsibility to say NO, as it is for the boy's side not to ask.

    As for the boy's side … Asking for dowry is akin to begging, it is such an indignity. Here's hoping the new generation of young men will take a firm stand against it.

  29. Even Christians have dowry practices amidst them, supposedly the most educated of societies.! Goes as pre-mortem inheritance to the girl.! Sickness of mind is what is plaguing us.!

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