Jharkhand woman gives kidney to husband as dowry, kills self after six months

A comment in a previous post wondered,

‘After all, no one can be FORCED to give a dowry. The people giving dowry do so by their own free will.’ The comment also compared dowry to gift.

But dowry (the way it is today in India) is more like ransom than gift. And it is not really seen as a choice by most of those who give or demand it.

What is seen as a choice is whether or not to have or to raise a girl child (sex selection, abandoning a baby girl, infanticide etc).

The radical option of raising a daughter as an equal citizen (with as many opportunities to seek and find happiness as anybody else) is beginning to be seen as a choice only now.

A paraya dhan‘s parents were (are?) considered irresponsible if they didn’t start worrying about her marriage as soon as she was born. And the first concern was not who she would marry, but her Dowry.

In fact, girl children even today are often not seen as children but as future daughters in law.

Which is why, the kind of education permitted, career choices, what they are allowed to wear, see, read, learn, earn, spend, save, eat or drink, the kind of social life permitted – all this was (is) decided with only one objective in mind – the future in laws’ approval.

Why did this approval matter?

Because there was (is) another rule – the father of an Indian paraya dhan must ‘give her away’ in kanayadan.

So traditionally a daughter’s parents had no option. If a daughter was born, she had to be raised as a paraya dhan, and had to be married off (by a certain age) with whatever dowry her future life partner’s parents agreed to accept after negotiations.

Before Dowry was made illegal, it was seen as a male child’s parents’ fair and assured entitlement. (Didn’t they raise him with their sweat and blood?)

Indian paraya dhan‘s parents acknowledged this.

There were justifications: The in laws ‘look after’ the ‘girl’, and dowry was a payment/compensation. Some saw it as her share (inheritance)- though the in laws/spouse owned and controlled it.

Dowry being made illegal has started changing the society’s attitude towards dowry.

Just like criminalising sex-selection has changed the way people talk about (many still think the same way) about having daughters. It also made it easier for parents to invest in their daughters’ self reliance instead of saving for their dowry (other factors also favoured these changes)

So, soon one heard magnanimous announcements about how much better than dowry was it to ‘bring’ a working (earning) daughter in law.

The law also lead to dowry related harassment being recognised as a specific kind of a very common crime/abuse.

Sadly the change is coming very slow. I personally know of women who have lost their lives to dowry related abuse. And dowry deaths are always connected with another social rule:  that women must save their marriages. We glorify women who give up happiness to stay married to men who do not respect them. See what this mindset lead to, 

[Link shared by Siddhesh]

Jharkhand woman gives kidney to husband as dowry, kills self after six months

HAZARIBAGH: A woman set herself on fire allegedly due to harassment by her in-laws despite donating one of her kidneys to her husband as a part of a dowry deal about six months ago in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district.

 

Six months ago her husband Sudama Giri fell sick after his kidneys failed. His mother gave Devi a written undertaking that they would treat her well and stop asking for another Rs 25,000 as dowry from her father if she donated one of her kidneys to Giri. 

 

Why did she agree to give her kidney in exchange of dowry? She was buying peace, and she could not imagine a happy life outside this miserable and abusive marriage.

As it is abuse victims find it difficult to walk out, then if they find no support from family or society… there must have been so much loneliness.

How did she feel when the abuse continued even after she donated her kidney?  And why did she think that abuse would stop if she suffered just a little more and made just one more sacrifice?

Wish there were media campaigns that spoke about abuse, that help victims recognise it, and that warned against wasting time trying to ‘win over’ an abuser’s respect.

And I wish women were encouraged to value their personal safety and happiness.

Three social rules that have begun to change and these changes can save many lives. If these rules continue to be defied there would be no dowry and sex selection.

1. Women must Get Married, preferably by a certain ‘marriageable’ age.

2. Women must save their marriages/relationships at the cost of personal happiness.

3.Women should see self reliance as an option and marriage as the sole purpose goal in their lives.

Jiah Khan’s suicide note.

R’s Mom shared this link, and I agree with the gist of the post, although I wish the tone was more sensitive to the young woman – who is also a victim of Patriarchy, that sees Getting and Staying Married as the only goal in women’s lives.

What are your thoughts on this one?
“…this is a 25-year old who … thinks her life is value-less without the continuing attention of some unemployed star-kid?! How the heck was she brought up? What kind of …. adult mind thinks that someone else’s attention is so important that her own life pales in comparison? … Who gave her these values where “death before losing in love” is a virtue?” 

Read Jiah Khan’s suicide note, Jiah’s letter to Suraj Pancholi

Let me share some bits from Jiah’s letter. This is why, I feel, Getting and Staying Married should not be seen as the biggest goal in a woman’s life.

“You may not have known this but you affected me deeply to a point where I lost myself in loving you.”

IHM: Glorifying such dependence leaves those ‘lost in love’ vulnerable to manipulation, control and abuse; OR it drives them to control those they feel they can’t live without.

“… I’ve never given so much of myself to someone or cared so much. You returned my love with cheating and lies.”

IHM: Shouldn’t lack of reciprocation, lies and cheating be seen as warning signs?

“It didn’t matter how many gifts I gave you or how beautiful I looked for you.”

IHM: Gifts and beauty can make a disinterested or manipulative man turn into a loving partner?

“…When I first met you I was driven, ambitious and disciplined. … I didn’t see any love or commitment from you. I just became increasingly scared that you would hurt me mentally or physically.”

IHM: There was violence, or fear of violence, but Jiah thought this relationship was worth taking her life for.

“Your life was about partying and women. Mine was you and my work.”

IHM: Generally the partner who likes to socialize (seen as frivolous) is seen as the culprit, and the one who likes to spend time ‘gainfully’ and alone with the partner the victim

But couldn’t it indicate incompatibility or disinterest, or both?

“…. I never told you but I received a message about you. About you cheating on me. I chose to ignore it, decided to trust you.”

IHM: Why is foundation-less trust glorified, and even romanticized?

“No other woman will give you as much as I did or love you as much as I did. I can write that in my blood.”

IHM: Based on Bollywood values: Love is giving and suffering silently, and watching the loved one happy.

And writing in blood is not unheard of, it is seen as a proof of ‘true love’.

Things were looking up for me here, but is it worth it when you constantly feel the pain of heartbreak when the person you love wants to abuse you or threatens o hit you or cheats on you telling other girls they are beautiful or throws you out of their house when you have no where to go and you’ve come to them out of love or when they lie to your face or they make you chase after them in their car. Or disrespects their family. You never even met my sister. I bought your sister presents.

IHM: So many reasons to end a relationship. And can reciprocation be ‘earned’ with trust and loving someone ‘loyally’?

Please note, this post does not blame Jiah Khan’s parents, Suraj Pancholi or Jiah Khan for her suicide, it is only an attempt to understand why so many Indian women commit suicide when disappointed in relationships/marriages.

Here are some more women who did not walk out of abusive relationships.

Some have died, some live unhappily, some still hope they will eventually reform the man, some have accepted misery as their destiny.

‘An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives’

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India? (Update: Now this daughter refuses to end her marriage, she has cut all ties with her parents.)

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

“When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear…”

‘Mommy’s secret: The monster in my house (an essay by a 4th grader)’

If someone dislocated your jaw…

“Her husband has told her she can leave if she wishes, she does not have a steady income of her own.”

When she says she no longer wishes to stay with him, why isn’t her word enough?

The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

When a daughter refuses to go back…

Perhaps, this video explains it better.

And a success story.

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”