The joint session of Indian Parliament has been called only for four times till date and for the first time it was called for tabling the Dowry Prohibition Bill . The bill got passed in the Parliament and Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 came into existence on May 1st, 1961 . This act intends to prohibit the exchange of goods,property and money by the either party involved in the marriage.
Unfortunately on ground, the reality of dowry exchange has expanded to such an extent that dowry has become an integral part of weddings. The ill practice of giving and taking dowry has its associated lethal ramifications. And the worst hit are the families with low income . The price paid by the father for the groom to marry his daughter is so humongous that the day a girl child is born, the father is burdened with the dowry which he has to arrange for her wedding. As a result the child is considered to be a burden on the entire family. And to avoid this burden many Indian couples opt for female foeticide and female infanticide. Another ramification of dowry exchange is the inhibition of higher education of female child due to the financial crunch caused by the savings of the dowry for the girl’s marriage
People literally brag about the amount they receive from the bride’s end as if it reflects the face value and the intrinsic value of their son. While demanding the dowry neither the success achieved by the bride is taken into consideration nor the digits of her income. The situation is this worst that every summer a nine day groom market is organised in Saurath village, situated on the southern fringe of Madhubani in Bihar . The price of the groom is set according to his family’s social status and his qualifications.
Now, coming to the main disadvantage of dowry exchange – according to the National Crime Records Bureau, twenty one dowry deaths in a single day are reported in India with a conviction rate of only 34.75%. Torture of women for dowry is a very often heard news in today’s world and the very unfortunate part of the story is that, this surpasses the social division of the society and women from all the social backgrounds are being harassed and tortured in one form or the other.
A famous advertisement starring an Indian cricketer depicts the cricketer questioning the age old tradition of dowry which burdens the bride’s family and a Bollywood movie starring a small town girl brought up in the daylight patriarchy, looking for an independent life wanting freedom from the shackles of age old patriarchy, are the baby steps which our society is taking towards acknowledging the issue and becoming a dowry harassment free nation. Currently most of the people wish to marry someone else’s daughter only when they are paid the demanded amount for their “son on sale”. The bride’s family cannot bear the burden of an unmarried daughter after-all it affects their social status. An unmarried daughter is considered to be a blot on the entire clan. This is how the endless cycle of dowry goes on .