An Open Letter to Groom.
Posted by shivamkesari
The wedding season is on and added to it is the romantic week of Valentine’s Day. Facebook newsfeed is flooded with posts and updates of friends getting married or finding a partner. Yes, these are news to cheer and celebrate and I congratulate all of them. But, in midst of it there may be or may not be a tension and dilemma to bride’s parents of arranging ‘The Dowry’ to be parted off along with their lovely daughter. And needless to say such tensions are always associated with a girl child from the moment she is born. Many a times before parents could think of infant’s health, there waves a thought in their mind to preserve money for her marriage. She is seen as a burden and an “extra mouth to feed” and her status as an economic liability promotes the thought of discrimination. Sometimes this discrimination leads to infanticide by neglect, for example families may not spend enough money on critical medicines or withhold care from a sick girl. The curse of dowry rarely forgive a girl and many times word ‘Dowry’ becomes synonymous with ‘Prestige and Honor’ of either party. Of such a sin society we are part and more sinful is that we educated didn’t curb it. Rather, with increasing quality of education our cost/price/rating goes up. Unfortunate.
Though we have The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (amended in 1987), which prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, “as consideration for the marriage”, where “dowry” is defined as a gift demanded or given as a precondition for a marriage. But it can’t curb such menace until we have strong will to do so. Further, under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, a woman can put a stop to the dowry harassment by approaching a domestic violence protection officer. But she is afraid of society and customs to take such advance.
The Indian census data suggests there is a positive correlation between abnormal sex ratio and better socio-economic status and literacy. This is connected to the dowry system in India where dowry deaths occur when a girl is seen as a financial burden. Urban India has lower child sex ratio than rural India according to 1991, 2001 and 2011 Census data, implying higher prevalence of female foeticide in urban India. Tribal societies also have a less skewed sex ratio than other caste groups. This is in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower income levels, lower literacy rates, and less adequate health facilities. These data contradict any hypotheses that may suggest that sex selection is an archaic practice which takes place among uneducated, poor sections or particular religion of the Indian society. Ultrasound scans mostly concentrated in urban cities often reveal the sex of the baby, allowing pregnant women to decide to abort female foetuses and try again later for a male child.
We are educated but lack wisdom.
In my perception dowry transaction is very much associated with femicides (foeticide, infanticide, dowry death and suicide), discrimination with girl child, low literacy rate among females and many similar atrocities to females in the society. Need not to mention emotional and morale breakdown of a family in meeting demand of dowry. Rarely a home is aloof of it.
Following are few statistics sourced from National Crime Record Bureau, MoHA, GOI to support my arguments:
(Incidence: 8,455 Rate- 1.4)
The cases of dowry deaths have increased by 4.6% during the year 2014 over the previous year (8,033 cases). This means a bride was burned every 90 minutes. These are reported cases, many such cases are misrepresented as natural death and go unrecorded.
Dowry Prohibition Act
(Incidence: 10,050 Rate-1.7)
Though the cases registered under Dowry Prohibition Act have decreased by 6.2% during the year 2014 as compared to the previous year (10,709 cases) but still its a significant toll in developing India. Maximum such cases were reported in Bihar (2,203 cases) followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,133 cases), Karnataka (1,730 cases) and Jharkhand (1,538 cases).
The highest crime rate (9.6) was reported from Jharkhand as compared to 1.7 at the national level. The state from where I belong. Much to go before it ends.
Infanticide (Sec. 315 IPC)
(Incidence: 121 Rate: Negligible)
A total of 121 ‘Infanticide’ cases were reported in the country during the 2014. The incidents increased by 47.6% in the year 2014 over 2013 (from 82 cases in 2013 to 121 in 2014). Maximum of infanticides were reported in Rajasthan (33 cases) followed by Madhya Pradesh (14 cases).
Foeticide (Sec. 315 & 316 IPC)
A total of 107 cases of ‘foeticide’ were reported in the country during 2014 as compared to 221 cases in the year 2013 indicating a decline of 51.6%. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have reported 30 cases, 24 cases, 11 cases and 10 cases respectively of such crimes.
Exposure & abandonment
(Incidence-983 Rate- 0.2)
A total of 983 cases were reported during 2014 as compared to 930 cases during 2013 showing an increase of 5.7% during the year 2014. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of such cases (225 cases), followed by Rajasthan (213 cases).
Procuration of minor girls
(Incidence-2,020 Rate 0.5)
2,020 cases were reported in the year 2014 as compared to 1,224 such cases in the year 2013, accounting for an increase of 65.0% over 2013. West Bengal has reported 852 such cases followed by Assam (303 cases) and Bihar (280 cases).
Selling of girls for prostitution
In the name of dowry free marry girl child are being taken away by traffickers for sole purpose of prostitution. Unfortunately, our Police Deptt. are unable to record such cases.
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,
A total of 280 cases of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 were reported during the year 2014. Tamil Nadu (47 cases) followed by Karnataka (44 cases) have reported high number of cases in the country. According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India’s women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, rising to 56% in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India.
Above mentioned stats may seem significant but every one is well aware of our Police Deptt and their system of doing work. These stats are very much under reported and actual figures might be very high.
The literacy rate is 60.6% for females, while for males it is 81.3%.
Gender Inequality Index
The United Nations has declared that India is the most deadly country for female children, and that in 2012 female children aged between 1 and 5 were 75 percent more likely to die as opposed to boys. The children’s rights group CRY has estimated that of 12 million females born yearly in India 1 million will have died within their first year of life.
(#Few info above sourced from wiki)
Our families say ‘we are demanding just to cover expense of the ceremony.’ Yes they are true but we make the ceremony so lavish that it itself reaches the limit. Furthermore, this makes a question of prestige if someone other doesn’t make his function similarly lucullan. Unfortunately the ‘other one’ do pressurise bride’s family to meet their irrational demand to meet the plushy expense. Its a shame to know that in many tribes and socially backward societies the custom of bride’s price is fading away to accommodate Dowry demand and bride’s family are being forced to offer it.
Most of the family have children of both gender and while in marrying their daughter they curse groom for exorbitant dowry demand, but they themselves make similar demand in similar way while fixing marriage of their son. And their pathetic justification is ‘they gave or would have to give similar amount in their daughter’s marriage as dowry so they are asking’.
Not only this even after meeting the demand they keep urging and extorting bride for more dowry either in cash or kind. There is no indifference between family of educated, propertied, poor, illiterate….. All behave alike and like …… असतंुट लालची गीदड़….
In, 2011, government stated India was missing three million girls and there are now 48 less girls per 1,000 boys and for such scenario its only we to be blamed, we the dowry seeker from well educated elite society! Demand of Dowry is not a small issue but an act similar to crime of homicide and shall be treated like way. Even rich and well off parents of bride shall restrain to offer too generous consideration for their daughter’s marriage for the sake to curb femicide. Girl child much like your lovely daughter are being killed.
On this auspicious day of Basant Panchmi and eve of Valentine’s Day I urge all the to be groom to ensure that we are not part of such criminal and sinful act. Do ensure that our ceremony is simple and we ourself can bear its expenses. We can’t pressurise our life partner for exorbitant dowry demand. Their need to be bonding relationship of love and attachment. Cash and Kind shouldn’t dictate our love and choice. Rights of girl child is of more concern than our fictitious prestige and showoff. We are educated and we need to be an example in our community. Lets be a change to bring a change.
I praise Goddess Saraswati to give us wisdom to be a change. Happy Valentines Day. Do spread Love.
Posted on February 14, 2016, in Social issues. and tagged bride, child marriage, child rights, dowry, dowry death, femicide, foeticide, girl, groom, infanticide, love, marriage, valentine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.