Even education has failed to suppress and curb this social evil of dowry; rather it has increased its practice. The modern educated classes are demanding such a heavy dowry that it has become impossible for parents to give their daughters in marriage. They want to recover every penny spent on their education and demands more dowry. Many girls are rotting unmarried because their parents cannot afford to meet theheavy demand of the bridegrooms. Sometimes parents overextend themselves to pay for their daughters, yet happiness is exclusive.
Even after the marriage the girls are tortured both physically and mentally for the dowry. It is estimated that an inspector, teacher or bank clerk demands a dowry of rupees three lakh rupees; similarly the rates of medical graduates, engineers and government officers range between rupees eight lakh to ten lakhs. Persons holding I. A. S. , I. P. S. ranks and business executive may fetch up to fifteen lakhs. Every father has to run in search of a suitable son-in-law for his daughter. He has to arrange a huge amount of money to pay the suitable bridegroom the amount of dowry.
A daughter is thus considered as an economic liability and parents starts saving for her dowry from the time of her birth. It is because of these factors that girl child is not given equal opportunities in education or any training etc. A family with many girl children is considered the family of tension, anxiety and worries. Statistics shows that 80% of the poor people in India have taken loan and borrowed for their daughter’s marriage which has made their life like a hell. There have been suicides in many families because debts could not be paid.
In India every hour girl dies thanks to dowry. Pompous displays of wealth during wedding and dowry system have also ruined so many families. In a relationship that is founded on transaction no matter how much you contribute, it will always be less. It is better to invest money in the education of daughter rather than saving for the dowry. No parent should ever finance son-in-law. With a view of eradicating this rampant social evil of dowry, the Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961 by the Indian Society Parliament which applies for people of all caste.
These did not succeed much in eradicating this menace. To make the Act more concrete Joint Parliamentary Committee on Dowry passed the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984 and 1986. The Amending Act of 1986 provides a punishment which shall not be less than five yearsimprisonment with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 15,000 or the amount of the value of such dowry whichever is more. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on dowry has opined that the giver of the dowry should be treated s offender as he is more a victim than an offender. The Dowry offences are not cognizable; they are cognizable for the purpose of investigation. The Act lays down that no person accused of dowry offence can be arrested without a warrant or without an order of the Magistrate, first class. These offences are also non-compoundable and non-bailable. The Dowry Prohibition Officers are also appointed in different areas of each state to take steps for enforcing and preventing the violation of the provisions of the Act.
The Legislation alone cannot help the social movement for the eradication of the dowry. People would have to come forward and contribute equally in the eradication of this social evil. The educated people should think and realize how unholy it is to demand a rich dowry for taking the hand of a bride. They should know that it is immoral and sinful to demand dowry and the sake of holy marriage. While demanding dowry they should think of their unmarried sisters and future daughters so that they will refrain from this ugly demand.
They should realize that dowry has never changed the fate or financial position of any one in this world. If they do not realizethese simple truths, girls should organize themselves to such an extent that no girl will marry a man who demands a rich dowry for her hand. It is quite necessary to give such greedy people a slap for the dowry.