There is an Indian anti-dowry law that prohibits giving or receiving dowry which is titled as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 which got recently amended in 2008 to bring the changes as per the current circumstances. Our country also has penal provisions under Indian Penal Code. Through this, we can see that the lawmakers have taken all the possible steps to prohibit such an evil, so where are we lacking in the removal of dowry from our culture?
Let’s have a glance at the definition of “Dowry” as per the Dowry Prohibition Act:
Section 2, “dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly—
(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
(b) by the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or any other person, at or before [or any time after the marriage]
[in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include] dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies. 3 [***] Explanation II. — The expression
“valuable security” has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
Section 3 and 4 of the Act state the penalty for giving or taking dowry and the penalty for demanding dowry.
The anti-dowry Act has provisions that help a victim to take action against dowry. Additionally, the Indian Penal Code has the provisions for the punishment of offenders who abet dowry death. Many cases are ending unreported due to our cowardness towards taking action against the wrong culture and the wrongdoers.
Here I would say, for the upliftment and change in the nation the government alone is not is not responsible to prevent social evils but the citizens equally play a major role. We just cannot blame the government for losing our close ones, when we are the reason for spreading such an evil. The truth is, no evil can be stopped easily at once but we can take small initiatives. Being parents, we should all teach the importance of marriage and the worth of a partner in their life so that gradually we would be able to weaken the existence of dowry in our society.
Lastly, I would conclude that unfortunately, dowry is a product of both the willingness of people and social influence over them. Other than raising our voices against the dowry system in unison, no other options are left. Dowry can not bring happiness to a daughter. Instead of spending on dowry, spend your money, time and efforts on providing education to your daughter, fulfilling her dreams, letting her learn all the ups and downs of life and teaching her the best way to tackle the problems. Always stand by her when she needs your help. Put an end to the idea that is summarized in the popular quote that parents sometimes say: “ye to paraye ghar ki amanat hai” (she belongs to someone else’s home). In turn, the in-laws say, “paraye ghar se aayi hai” (she has come from an alien home). Let’s put an end to this sentiment and the violence that follows.