Debate on Dowry System: Dowry should not be on-demand, it should be accepted from the bride’s side as blessings for a bride from her parents.
Honourable judges, Respected Teachers, esteemed audience a very good morning. It’s my pleasure to stand before you to deliver a Debate on Dowry System. I am strictly against the motion.
We often read in a newspaper that young newly married women are burnt alive or forced to commit suicide because of dowry. It’s a matter of shame for society when such incidents still occur in the modernisation period.
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What is Actually Dowry?
Dowry is the property, money or costly materialistic goods given by the bride’s family to the groom’s family at the time of marriage. The Dowry system is practised from the ancient period. Earlier dowry was given by the bride’s family as a token of love such as jewelry and everyday household items to the bride which evolved over time and has become a social evil as the groom’s family started unexpected demands in the name of the dowry. Sometimes these demands are out of the reach of the bride’s family, ultimately it has become a burden for the bride’s family. Hence the cases of female infanticides are also rising. Poor parents believe girl children to be a burden and kill them in the mother’s womb itself.
In many countries, dowries are common practice. Though the government of India has banned the dowry practice in 1961, India is the epicenter of dowry culture.
According to my survey for the Debate on Dowry System on average, more than 8,000 women die every year as a result of the dowry system. Sometimes a woman is murdered or set on fire by her own husband or in-laws when her family can’t meet the dowry demands. Or, they commit suicide after facing harassment and abuse for failing to meet the demands.
The older the bride, the larger will be the dowry so to avoid larger dowries, families often marry their daughters off as children. Which gives rise to child marriages.
Debate on Dowry System highlights that globally, more than 700 million women alive today were married off when they were under 18.
Girls are not educated much to keep dowry prices low. Families also keep girls from going to school, because according to girls families investing in school fees for a girl is a waste of money because that investment will not be of any use by the family later in life. Girls are often kept at home for training to be better housewives. Poor parents cannot afford to have a girl child because of this dowry system. And always want to have a son. Debate on the Dowry System highlighted this sad reality of our country.
Upper caste people can easily meet the dowry demands but on the same side, it has become a great economic burden to the middle and lower-class families.
Moreover, they have to borrow money or sell their property or mortgage valuable jewellery to give dowry in their daughter’s marriage which becomes ultimately a great burden for parents to repay the borrowed amounts after marriage. It sometimes leads to evil practises like smuggling or black marketing to repay the amount.
In order to escape from the dowry, some young girls commit suicide when their in-laws always demand more dowry from their parents. Or they are set on fire by her in-laws. Women are ill-treated, disrespected, tortured and abused in the name of dowry. Violence against women who bring less dowry or no dowry includes emotional negligence, torture, verbal abuse, refusal of sufficient food, imposition of heavy physical work and so on. In my research for Debate on Dowry System, I found that on average for every 17 minutes one dowry death occurs in our country. Further some girls, who remain unmarried due to the dowry system, make the wrong decision to satisfy their needs.
The government has come up with many laws, schemes and reforms, to eradicate the dowry system. It has also launched many schemes for the development of a girl child. The reality is that most cases of dowry violence go unreported.
Through this Debate on Dowry System, I want to awaken you that under the Dowry Prohibition Act, taking or giving dowry is a crime and illegal. If you see someone encouraging or taking or giving dowry then you can lodge a complaint against them without any hesitation.
Mere enforcing strict laws against dowry cannot solve this problem. The needed approach is the change in the outlook of society. Society itself needs to be awakened. Debate on Dowry System points out that the youth must prepare themselves in this motion to oppose this evil with courage and conviction. The youth should come forward to oppose the evil and take a pledge that they will neither take nor give dowry during their marriage. Then only this evil can be destroyed from its roots
Education and independence is another powerful and valuable gift that parents can give to their daughter.
Education will help her to be financially strong and be a contributing member of the family. It will also give her respect and the right status in the family.
Finally, I conclude my Debate on Dowry System with a message that providing girls with a solid education, and encouraging them to pursue a career of their choice is the best dowry any parent can ever give their daughter.
Debate on the Dowry System will surely make you realize the ill effects of the dowry system on women.
FAQ’s 0n Debate on Dowry System
What are the ways by which society can regulate the Dowry System?
Some ways to control the dowry system are:
- Educate your daughters.
- Prepare your daughter to be independent and responsible enough.
- Encourage gender equality.
- Avoid taking or giving of dowry.
How is the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 law deals with a dowry in India?
- This law prohibits the practice of giving or taking dowry by either of the families.
- This law also punishes the one who advertises dowry.
- If dowry has been exchanged at a wedding anyway, it imposes a duty on the person who is given dowry to give it to the bride.
- Also, the more serious crimes such as dowry death and cruelty from dowry demands are punishable under the general law on crimes – the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Who can be punished under this Act?
- A person who gives or takes dowry is punishable.
- A person who encourages to give or take dowry;
- A person who in any way demands dowry;
- Anyone who publishes these advertisements;
- Anyone who does not hand over the dowry to the bride within the specified time.
All these are punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
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