It is one of my relative’s wedding in the last week of May. The bride is a graduate student and the groom works for a CA (charted accountant) in Lucknow. The bride’s father has a small saree business so not much money. The marriage was arranged by some relative of the bride. This marriage is very traditional and everything is being done according to Hindu religion. The groom and his family seemed so nice to me when I first met them because when the bride’s father asked about dowry, the groom’s father said that it was not an issue for them.
I really liked that decision. But right before a few days right before tilak (the day when the bride’s family goes to the groom’s family and some rituals are done), the groom’s family started asking for dowry. They wanted Rs. 51,000 cash, a motorbike, jeweleries, clothes, refrigerator, TV, bed and a lot of other things. I knew that the bride’s parents did not have enough money to give that much dowry but did not say that they could not afford it. They promised to give this much dowry but I knew that it would be hard for the bride’s family to arrange it.
I was talking with the bride and she told me that she talked about it with the groom and groom said that he did not want anything at all, no demand. All these demands were made by his father and he could not do anything to reduce this dowry. The bride seemed so sad when talking about dowry and I also did not like this at all. I see the bride’s father somehow trying to arrange everything but I know that it would be very hard for him to arrange everything.
After a few days of the tilak, the groom’s father called the bride’s father and said that the groom had already bought a motorbike so there was no need to give a motorbike but they wanted cash instead of the motorbike. The bride’s father said that if the groom already had a motorbike then why were they asking for cash but the groom’s father said that they wanted either a motorbike or cash instead of it. After paying all of this dowry, the bride’s family has to arrange a party which will cost at least Rs. 1,50,000. So the total cost of this wedding will be close to Rs. 3,00,000 which is kind of impossible for the bride’s family.
There are so many cases where brides were burnt alive a few months right after the marriage only because their parents could not give enough of the dowry which was asked by the groom’s family. I have heard of many cases where the groom’s family tortured the bride even though their demand was fulfilled and finally the bride was burnt alive or killed in some way. Many times the bride’s themselves commit suicide because of the torture. Many times even after facing all the tortures, some brides do not inform other people about it or do not go to the police because they think that if they go to the police and if the police take any legal action against the groom’s family, it would look very bad for them in society.
I never understand if such marriages are marriages or they just like a business settlement where one party always loses everything. It would make sense to me if the dowry was given by the groom’s family but bride’s family, why? They give their daughter who will take care of the groom’s family for her whole life; is it not enough? Is it cheaper than a motorbike or Rs. 51,000 cash? So many questions and it is painful to see how this system is getting stronger and stronger. Now people want more and more dowry. I know many people do not want to have a daughter because they are afraid of dowry. I don’t know when such things will change or if they will ever change or not, but it must change if we want to see real happy and developed world.