Sharing an email.
I have a question that has been bothering me for some time now and was wondering what you or your readers thought of this.
There are several girls who leave for the US to pursue their higher studies. Most often they find their life partner on campus (my question pertains to the ladies who fall in love with Indian boys on campus) and once they get jobs come back to India for their marriage (to their boyfriends).
So far so good – but I have noticed that this is where dowry comes in. The boys side have expectations and sometimes demand dowry. And my biggest concern is that it is fulfilled by the bride’s side. I am unable to understand how the bride can agree to this – after the education, exposure and understanding her life partner.
Where is the fault here and who should be corrected? If education and independence still do not encourage women to stand up against dowry, what else will?
It would be interesting to hear your take on this when you get some time.
When I discuss with my friends the answer always comes down to ‘different people have different circumstances so do not judge without getting into their shoes’.
But it still troubles me because I thought that a good education is the key to getting rid of dowry. But it is slowly dawning on me that it is not…
Is it possible that some women secretly want a dowry – perhaps to enhance their social standing? Surely no one wants to suck their parents dry for dowry? In my experience I have not met any – or are they hiding that desire? I think regardless of being a boy or girl – once we are able to fend for ourselves we need to stop looking to our parents for money.
Or perhaps it is the fear of not finding a husband – but if that fear remains despite having a job and being independent – then what more is needed to rid women of that fear?
Both these reasons I can think of seem quite depressing because they seem to have something to do with centuries of conditioning and shaping how women should think and act …
IHM: Dowry is probably seen as a small compromise? But is it really a small compromise? Doesn’t giving of dowry convey a tolerance for unfair terms, and even a desperation to get married and stay married? Can dowry ensure happiness and security for a girl?
Like the email writer, I too wonder if marriage (and providing male heirs to carry forward the husband’s family name) was not seen as the main goal in an Indian woman’s lives, maybe they (and their parents) would be able to stand up for their beliefs, not just while dealing with dowry demands, but also some of the issues discussed in the previous few posts? [link1, link2, link3]
(Because then marriageable age and the biological clock would not be seen as looming deadlines.)
And if some women feel dowry makes the in-laws like them better, would you really blame them? After all, Indian women are raised to be ‘itni padhi likhi par sanskari bahu’. (educated but tradition-abiding daughters in law)
Do you believe some women might believe that dowry enhances their social standing?