Dowry a Social Evil System

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Dowry system a social evil:

Many a young brides have been sacrificed at the altar of the dowry system. It is a social evil which needs to be eradicated from our society totally through its roots.

We feel proud of being Indians but certain social evils, which prevail in our society, under the way of traditions, make us bow our heads in shame.

In spite of increase in the literacy rate, education and modernization, we have still not be able eradicate this social evil from our society. It is still used by greedy parents of the bridegroom to extort as much as they can from the helpless parents of the bride.

This is the story not only to the remote villages and certain backward communities but also of the lower middle class and educated families in the urban areas.

History of dowry:

Dowry system started even before British period. In those days, society does not use to consider dowry as a source of looting or extorting money from the helpless parents of the bride.

The idea behind the dowry system was to make sure that the bride will be financially stable after getting married. Bride parents used to give money, land, assets to the bride as a “Gift” to make sure that their daughter will be happy and independent after marriage.

But when the British rule came into pictures they restricted women to own any property, land or assets. Hence, man started owning all the gifts given to the bride by her parents.

Change to a social evil:

This rule changed pure dowry system into mess! Now parents of the groom were looking their bride as a source of income. Parents start hating their daughters and wanted only sons. Women were suppressed since they do not have equal rights as men.

Such was the effect of the society that girls instead of feeling safe and secure, because of rich dowry, which they brought with them at the time of their marriage, becomes more insecure as greed has no limits and demands are unending.

The parents of the bride, for her peace and happiness, keep on succumbing to the unfair demands of the groom and his family.

Effects on women:

Many a cases are reported in the newspaper where young brides are tortured, killed or burnt, when the parents of the bride show resistance in complying with the demands of the in-laws.

Dowry is becoming a nightmare for women. The cases of infanticide are increasing. Poor parents do not have any other option. They cannot afford to have a girl child and hence they are intentionally killing infant girl. More than 8000 women are killed because of dowry every year.

Dowry - gifts in the form of money and kind:

Even today, in modern India, daughters are gifted furniture, crockery, electronic items, jeweler, personal items and cash at the time of marriage. Many parents also gift expensive items like cars, bungalows, flats, etc.

In many communities the dowry is proportionate to the qualifications of the bridegroom. In other words, marriage is an occasion of unpleasant loud and noisy selling of the bridegroom.

The irony is that such gifts at the time of marriage are regarded as customary and a part of the Hindu marriage ritual. It is not looked down upon by the society rather in many communities, exhibition of the dowry, is a part and a parcel of the marriage ceremony.

Legislative reforms, education, awareness needed for change:

No doubt, with the legislative reforms, education and awareness among girls, there is some change in the mind set of people but a more has to be done to crush this social evil.

We are not insinuating that there has been no improvement in our society but more has to be done. Recently the Gurudwara Committee had imposed restrictions on the Sikh Community on the expenditure incurred on marriages.

But they were not successful in checking the desire to flaunt wealth on the occasion of marriages. The rich and affluent use of this occasion is for utilizing their black money and impressing their friends, relatives and in-laws with their lavish spending.

As a matter of fact, marriages, on a grand scale, have become a status symbol, today. The most affected are middle, salaried class and the lower income group, who in a bid to imitate the rich, spend their life long earnings and at times also fall victim to the debt trap.


To conclude, there is a need to have strict laws enacted against dowry system and enforcement of the same ensured. There is always resistance to change and thus it will have to be forced upon the rich.

Moreover, parents have to understand that their daughters are strong enough to earn their own livelihood and do not need to depend on their husbands.

They should not consider their daughters as a burden and “paraya dhan” for in today’s modern India daughters can support their parents just like their sons.

The youth has also a major responsibility in cleaning the society of this evil. Especially all young men should take a pledge not to accept dowry of any kind and encourage marriages which are simple and resulting least expense.

Last but not the least, if domestic violence and bride killing has to stop then women will have to know their rights and assert themselves, too, after all, you are what you let yourself to be.


Written By - Adarsh Rai

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