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India Dowry Deaths: One Woman Dies Every Hour

Jan 7, 2005
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Dowry deaths: One woman dies every hour

PTI - Sep 1, 2013, 11.00 AM IST

NEW DELHI:
One woman dies every hour due to dowry related reasons on an average in the country, which has seen a steady rise in such cases between 2007 and 2011, according to official data.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures state that 8,233 dowry deaths were reported in 2012 from various states. The statistics work out to one death per hour.

The number of deaths under this category of crime against women were 8,618 in 2011 but the overall conviction rate was 35.8 per cent, slightly above the 32 per cent conviction rate recorded in the latest data for 2012.

The number of dowry deaths in the country has seen a steady growth during the period between 2007 and 2011. While in 2007, 8,093 such deaths were reported, the numbers rose to 8,172 and 8,383 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

In 2010, 8,391 such deaths were reported, according to the NCRB.

The agency is the central nodal department to collect and process crime statistics at the national level.

Suman Nalwa, additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Unit for Women and Children), said the problem is not only limited to the lower or middle class.

"Higher socio-economic strata is equally involved in such practices. Even the highly educated class of our society do not say no to dowry. It runs deep into our social system," she said.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, "as consideration for the marriage" and dowry here is defined as a gift demanded or given as a pre-condition for a marriage.

"The existing law has certain loopholes and needs to be made stricter. Despite the amendments made to the Dowry Act in 1983, good results are still desired to be achieved," Nalwa said.

However, Kamini Jaiswal, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, says improper investigations by the police at the initial stage of a case slow down the process of judicial proceedings.

"We need quick conviction in such cases. Our judicial procedure has become very slow, police does not record a case at initial stage," she said.


source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dowry-deaths-One-woman-dies-every-hour/articleshow/22201659.cms
 

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spnadmin

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The number of cases may be rising because the law is being implemented more consistently. More cases reported = more cases brought to trial. I have been following the work of Nalwa and she is committed to the success of this endeavor. These stats can be read to mean that more people are coming aboard, and that only the tip of the ice berg has been touched.
 

Tejwant Singh

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It is a tragedy indeed. However,I would like to find out if there is any data regarding the income and educational levels of these people in the dowry deaths.

Yes, the article does state that it happens in all classes but it does not mention the regions thus more specific data is needed in order to pinpoint the problem, so it can begin to be solved with quick punishment to the criminals.

Please do not take me wrong. Every dowry death is a heinous crime but one should find out in which religions,sects,cultural values, villages, towns, metropolises do these things take place.

Without this data, no one can be educated/punished but the sheer number becomes the world news which disparages and puts down the whole country of 1.3 billion which is growing meteorically in population. This is totally unfair.

The laws should be changed so that the action is quick and the punishment is severe which will be a warning sign to others. People do not get it that bringing a daughter in law home is an addition to the family which is a plus in all aspects.

I hope certain member of this wonderful forum does not jump all over the numbers in an insulting way without any educated thought process as has happened before.

The main objective is to minimise these things along with abortions, female infanticide, rapes and other mals through education and interaction not by insulting the whole country while pretending to be an uppity and projecting oneself of having superior values to others.

Facts do matter, not some loaded emotional ranter where ends justify the means no matter what.

Tejwant Singh
 
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spnadmin

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That is a good question Tejwant ji. I am aware the statistics are kept on a state by state basis regarding frequency/percentage seeking family planning services. These stats are extensive. Let me look around and see if similar stats exist for dowry deaths.
 

spnadmin

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Searching I find many articles of the scholarly sort that report data on dowry death. I have downloaded one of them; however I do not plan to upload it here because it is a pdf file which will cause problems with our Photo Spotlight.

Anyone who wants a copy can download the article from this site at academia.edu

http://www.academia.edu/1205745/Dowry_deaths_a_neglected_public_health_issue_in_India

At this link there is a detailed statistical breakdown - too complicated to summarize in one comment by me.

http://www.ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=105

Disparities between NCRB police stats and National Family Health survey sources result in part because dowry death statistics are not always disaggregated from all stats related to domestic violence incidents against women in police records. When they are surprises emerge.

According to the 2009 NCRB figures, the states with the highest rates of dowry deaths7 per 100,000 people are:8 Bihar (1.4), Haryana and MP (1.2 each) and UP (1.1). Despite the fact that dowry deaths should be read with 498(A) since there are provisions within 498(A) to prosecute violence inflicted in order to extract money, durables and other valuables, it is surprising to find that the states with some of the highest reported dowry deaths, have some of the lowest reported rates of domestic violence, and only Rajasthan Delhi and Haryana feature in the top 10 for both. Dowry deaths are often preceded by a period of sustained physical and emotional abuse of victims. However these figures suggest that this is seldom reported to the police; thus domestic violence rates are under-recorded and under-reported in crimes classified as dowry murders despite the expectation that 498(A) should be naturally included with 304(B) both before and after the murder of wives. - See more at: http://www.ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=105#sthash.0fiZoJij.dpuf
The article is worth reading because it reports out detailed statistics, but at the same time it describes the practical difficulties in describing the problem accurately. There are excellent tables of data.

When correlated domestic violence events are factored out, then the top regions for dowry deaths are Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Orrisa, Tripura, Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhar Pradesh
 
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spnadmin

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Further searching

The NCRB report on violence against women, including statistics on dowry death, for 2011 can be read at this link

http://ncrb.nic.in/CD-CII2011/cii-2011/Chapter 5.pdf

Likewise one can access statistics for 2012 from this site: http://ncrb.nic.in/ But you have to click on Crimes in India 2012, and then click on "Chapters."

I am still looking for the original government study for 2013, the comparison year. It may take me a while.

OK - Information directly from NCRB for 2013 are available; however I am having trouble navigating to the source document. I may be looking in the wrong place.
 

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spnadmin

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Tejwant Singh ji

I am amending the deleted response by kds ji, to retain this portion of it
Actual number of dowry death in India is around 1830.total number of people convicted
One way of looking at this issue is to say Number of convictions = Number of dowry deaths. That will result in a number much lower than the 8,000 plus reported in the OP, or one death per hour. Another way of understanding the issue as reported in the OP is that

Number of convictions ≠ Number of dowry deaths for reasons already cited in this thread.

These reasons include but are not limited to reporting failures and confusion of domestic violence against women with definitions of dowry deaths. NRCB itself disclosed this limitation.

My rationale is that we don't want to miss the forest for the tree. Everyone has been up front:

National Family Health Survey reported cases ≠ NCRB police reported cases ≠ number of convictions.

The twin problems, lack of agreement on definitions and the matter of under-reporting, are also major drawbacks of using rape statistics country by country. Does that make concern for either dowry deaths or rapes an exaggeration?
 
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spnadmin

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p/s The deleted comment posted a site in support of conviction rates rather than reported cases to measure the severity of dowry deaths. The site is the Save Indian Family Foundation which has the political motivation to show that crimes against women are exaggerated in order to "torture innocent men and their families." It has accused Renukha Chowdury, WCD Minister, of fudging the data on dowry deaths and misleading the Lok Sabha.

A definition problem is not a fudging the numbers problem - just to be clear.
 
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spnadmin

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Disparities in reporting dowry deaths - National Family Health Survey and NCRB (police reports) for 2009

Author Shreepana Ghosh's comments


A recent G20 survey ranked India as the worst place to be a woman (Baldwin 2012). Female foeticide, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and other forms of gender-based violence constitute the reality of most girls’ and women’s lives in India. That domestic violence in India and globally is grossly underreported in surveys and to the police is well known.1 But my recent analysis shows that there is a gap between what is reported in the national surveys such as the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) and the figures from the police’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).2 How large is this gap and what can it t - See more at: http://www.ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=105#sthash.Y1CUgcfS.dpuf
 

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Brother Onam

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Dowry deaths: One woman dies every hour

PTI - Sep 1, 2013, 11.00 AM IST

NEW DELHI:
One woman dies every hour due to dowry related reasons on an average in the country, which has seen a steady rise in such cases between 2007 and 2011, according to official data.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures state that 8,233 dowry deaths were reported in 2012 from various states. The statistics work out to one death per hour.

The number of deaths under this category of crime against women were 8,618 in 2011 but the overall conviction rate was 35.8 per cent, slightly above the 32 per cent conviction rate recorded in the latest data for 2012.

The number of dowry deaths in the country has seen a steady growth during the period between 2007 and 2011. While in 2007, 8,093 such deaths were reported, the numbers rose to 8,172 and 8,383 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

In 2010, 8,391 such deaths were reported, according to the NCRB.

The agency is the central nodal department to collect and process crime statistics at the national level.

Suman Nalwa, additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Unit for Women and Children), said the problem is not only limited to the lower or middle class.

"Higher socio-economic strata is equally involved in such practices. Even the highly educated class of our society do not say no to dowry. It runs deep into our social system," she said.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, "as consideration for the marriage" and dowry here is defined as a gift demanded or given as a pre-condition for a marriage.

"The existing law has certain loopholes and needs to be made stricter. Despite the amendments made to the Dowry Act in 1983, good results are still desired to be achieved," Nalwa said.

However, Kamini Jaiswal, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, says improper investigations by the police at the initial stage of a case slow down the process of judicial proceedings.

"We need quick conviction in such cases. Our judicial procedure has become very slow, police does not record a case at initial stage," she said.


source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dowry-deaths-One-woman-dies-every-hour/articleshow/22201659.cms
Another absolutely bewildering and incomprehensible Indian news story.
No hint or glimmer of explanation about what is killing these poor women, except "dowry". ??
 

spnadmin

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Another absolutely bewildering and incomprehensible Indian new s story.
No hint or glimmer of explanation about what is killing these poor women, except "dowry". ??
Brother Onam ji

I don't understand your question? Would you rephrase it?

Dowry deaths are reported to the NCRB as a subset of all marriage-related homicides against women. Other causes of marriage-related homicide include categories such as: infertility, mental illness, infidelity, quarreling with spouse/in-laws, chronic or acute illness. Methods of marriage-related homicide include: burning, poisoning, strangulation, hanging, gunshot, drowning. Dowry deaths are frequently preceded by a sustained period of harassment and sometimes torture by the husband or in-laws, making this one of the keys that law enforcement uses, along with a complaint of a prior dowry dispute leading up to the murder, to determine if a marriage-related homicide of a wife is a dowry death.

I am not sure if you are asking about the causes of dowry death, or if you are asking whether dowry demands alone are the reason for the 8,000 plus homicides of married women. Or maybe you are asking something else.

Statistics associated with dowry deaths began to attract attention of policy makers in India around 1998. I might be able to field some of the technical issues that appear to be the basis for the article and for family health policy in India. After Tejwant ji asked his questions it got me on a program of study.
 

Tejwant Singh

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Spnadmin ji,

Guru Fateh.

Thanks for doing a yeowoman's job by giving us all the data available. It was an amazing effort on your part to see where the real problem of these heinous crimes lies.

This proves my point in my initial post and shows how the title of the thread is so misleading and gives a very negative impression about India and its citizens. It is totally the false way to demonstrate the real problem by stirring the simmering pot, nothing more."Dowry deaths: One woman dies every hour".

In the following article which mentions the decrease in the poverty levels also mentions the states what your great research from different places do. I thank you again for the hard work.

"Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of poor people at 598.19 lakh, which is 29.4% of the state's total population followed by Bihar at 358.15 lakh (33.7%), Madhya Pradesh at 234.06 lakh (31.6%), Maharashtra at 197.92 lakh (17.3%) and West Bengal at 184.98 lakh (19.9%)".
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-07-24/news/40771743_1_poverty-line-tendulkar-methodology-poverty-rates

Let's take Delhi, the 14 million metropolis and still a growing in population where most of the people come from the poor villages and poverty is very common there. 100's of thousands people live on the make shift tents on the pavements of Delhi streets.

As the data you posted shows, poverty with lack of education make these people murder the poor brides after they had gone through the domestic violence trauma. Many families with boys think, dowry is a ticket to paradise for the whole family and when does not happen, then all hell breaks loose, with a result violence takes over,sad to say.

Coming back to the misleading title," Dowry deaths: One woman dies every hour", the title indicates that 24 women die a day because of not bringing enough dowry. The numbers do not add up.

So, in my opinion, the author/s of this article and the well read newspaper, The Times of India, should be taken to task for spreading false information and sensationalising it for their personal benefits rather than highlighting the real problem so it can be solved through education, laws and immediate punishments.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

spnadmin

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Tejwant ji

Good luck on taking any newspaper to task anywhere in the world!

Having said that, yes there is a pattern related to certain states. This pattern also crops up with gang rape and under-reporting and non-reporting of missing children (see thread posted yesterday) particularly girls, as well as rates of seeking maternal health services offered by the government.

Poverty and illiteracy are beginning to look like provocative issues and these data are sorely needed for India's legislators to make informed policy decisions. Just consider how some are willing to think conviction rates make a good measure of dowry deaths when all that goes before a court trial is falling apart. Or saying that laws exist to torture husbands and their families. The laws need to be improved upon, but a start has to be made. Data are not perfect, but they are a better place to base policy than sectarian prejudices that are often stuck in the mud of thousands of years of culturally vested interests, illiteracy and fatalism.

Now the important thing is that all of India not dissolve itself in controversy over political footballs, fouls and plays and stay focused on making changes that the socially engaged citizens want and are willing to demonstrate for.

p/s I am going to write to NFHS to see if there the stats are further divided by religion, economic level, education level, caste (I doubt because of the laws in place until 2011) , and other relevant factors.
 
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Brother Onam

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Brother Onam ji

I don't understand your question? Would you rephrase it?

Dowry deaths are reported to the NCRB as a subset of all marriage-related homicides against women. Other causes of marriage-related homicide include categories such as: infertility, mental illness, infidelity, quarreling with spouse/in-laws, chronic or acute illness. Methods of marriage-related homicide include: burning, poisoning, strangulation, hanging, gunshot, drowning. Dowry deaths are frequently preceded by a sustained period of harassment and sometimes torture by the husband or in-laws, making this one of the keys that law enforcement uses, along with a complaint of a prior dowry dispute leading up to the murder, to determine if a marriage-related homicide of a wife is a dowry death.

I am not sure if you are asking about the causes of dowry death, or if you are asking whether dowry demands alone are the reason for the 8,000 plus homicides of married women. Or maybe you are asking something else.

Statistics associated with dowry deaths began to attract attention of policy makers in India around 1998. I might be able to field some of the technical issues that appear to be the basis for the article and for family health policy in India. After Tejwant ji asked his questions it got me on a program of study.
SPNamin ji,
Your response provided exactly the information that was lacking in the original news item.
As is so often the case in Indian news stories, without intimate knowledge of the topic, they can be incomprehensible to a non-Indian reader. To my frame of reference, "dowry" is the goods or monies exchanged for marriage arrangements. How that then leads to death is a bafflement to a reader.
Thank you for the necessary clarification.
 
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AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:

DOWRY SYSTEM: SOCIAL EVIL IN INDIA


"Denigration of women has ruined our society".​

Today, Indian society is surrounded with many problems such as unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, terrorism, etc. Among these problems, a problem which is deep rooted in Indian society is the problem of dowry system. In modern Indian political discourse the custom of dowry is often represented as the cause of serious social problems, including the neglect of daughters, sex-selective abortion, female infanticide, and the harassment, abuse etc etc. This fact that it is condemned by every modern citizen of this country and yet it still flourishes at a very large scale in our society is a testimony of how deeply rooted this system is in the Indian society. Official statistics show a steady rise in dowry crimes. More than 9,5000 women are killed every year in India over dowry.

The dowry system is so deeply rooted in Indian culture, that sometimes one feels that there's going to be no way out - at least not for another century. Dowry (dahej) is one of the most ancient practices of India. The Vedas prescribe that a dowry be given by the bride's family to the groom. The Rig Veda states that cows and gifts given by the Aryan father of the bride to the daughter accompanied the bride's procession [ Rg Ved X.85 ] [ Apte 12 ]. ‘Kakshivat’ in the Vedas says he became rich by the father-in-law giving him 10 chariots and maids and 1060 cows during the marriage ceremony [ Rg Ved I.126 ] [ Apte 13 ]. Dowry is referred to as `Streedhana' and is an ancient practice. This custom implied that women were, in addition to being viewed as mere sex objects, severe economic liabilities for the parents. Indeed, the Brahmins raised the level of dowry to such ridiculous levels that the non-Brahmins were forced to murder their female children or face economic ruin. In this manner, the non-Brahmins exterminated their own females, perpetuating Brahmin dominance. We see this philosophy in action today. As per the book “Genocide of Women in Hinduism” authored by Sita Agarwal, over the last 65 years, more than 50 million female children have been murdered as a result of Vedic dowry and infanticide laws.

In the book aforesaid the author says that the ancient Vedic custom of kanyadan, where the father presented his daughter with jewelry and clothes at the time of her marriage, and vardakshina where the father presented the groom with cash and kind are, in essence the dowry system. This curse is fully sanctioned in the Vedas. These examples show that dowry was practiced in ancient times. Thus, in order to marry Sita to `godly' Rama, her father had to supply her with 100 crores of gold mohurs, 10000 carriages, 10 lakh horses, 60000 elephants, 100000 male slaves, 50000 female slaves, 2 crores of cows and 100000 pearls, and many other items [ Ram.wh 61 ]. Thus, dowry, which is the very root of the Hindu evils of sati and bride-burning, is given `divine' sanction by the `noble' Hindu gods.

The ancient marriage rites in the Vedic period are associated with Kanyadan. It is laid down in Dharamshastara that the meritorious act of Kanyadan is not complete till the bridegroom was given a dakshina. So when a bride is given over to the bridegroom, he has to be given something in cash or kind which constitute varadakshina. Thus Kanyadan became associated with varadakshina i.e. the cash or gifts in kind by the parents or guardian of the bride to the bridegroom. The varadakshina was offered out of affection and did not constitute any kind of compulsion or consideration for the marriage. It was a voluntary practice without any coercive overtones. In the course of time, the voluntary element in dowry has disappeared and the coercive element has crept in. it has taken deep roots not only in the marriage ceremony but also post-marital relationship. What was originally intended to be a taken dakshina for the bridegroom has now gone out of proportions and has assumed the nomenclature 'dowry'. The social reformers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have striven hard for the abolition of various social evils including the evil of dowry system.

The dowry system is responsible to a great extent for child marriage and discrimination against girls. If a girl is married at a tender age, a small amount of dowry will work, but if the girl is educated and qualified, she needs an equal amount of dowry to get a bridegroom of the same status.

Unfortunately, the dowry system is still prevalent in India despite the provision in the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961. it says that: "If any person, after the commencement of this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years, and with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more."

Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC)

498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun*ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—

(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

Though law has provided stringent measures to curb this menace; Unless there is a strong awareness in the minds of the people, unless the entire society believes that dowry is an evil, unless the entire society objects to the demand for dowry, unless every mother-in-law thinks that at one time she too was a daughter-in-law, unless every mother thinks that the treatment which she gives to her daughter-in-law can also be received by her own daughter, the evils of dowry will remain in society. Society and we as a member of the society can do a lot to prevent offences of harassment, dowry death, etc by taking the following steps:

Start practicing dowry prohibition in your family.

Educate the members of your family with the provisions of law – that demanding and accepting or giving dowry is an offence.

A woman is an important member of family and is entitled to all the rights and privileges a man enjoys.

Educate the members of your family and your neighbors to respect a woman’s rights and privileges.

If in any family there is a growing dispute between the in-laws and the lady, try to intervene to sort out the differences and educate them about the evils of dowry system. If they fail to listen to you, please inform the jurisdictional police and counseling centres.

Provide support and shelter to the lady in distress. If you cannot, please contact the Women organizations who can provide support in such cases.

Gather like-minded people who are fighting against this evil and gather public sympathy and support to ex-communicate the families where the evil persists.

In case you have any suspicion of ill treatment of a lady in any house, immediately inform the local Police. Ladies in distress, generally avoid showing their resentment to ill-treatment till it reaches a dangerous point leading to their being burnt to death.

Encourage women folk to raise their voice about their rights and to fight against dowry system.

In my view, it is mainly because of lack of awareness that women have been turned into a saleable commodity. Most of the women are not educated enough to defy the pre-established social norms. Even those who are educated are continuing this ugly tradition in the name of social prestige.

Best education is the best dowry. Parents are advised to educate daughters the best as the time has changed and it is time that education has more value in the employment market and fields have been opened for women to become entrepreneurs. Amount of dowry may be invested for her secured future.

Girl’s parents should help reporting Governments or concerned authorities about the dowry demand by groom parents. Marriage with such boys should be discouraged as demand of excessive dowry means they do not want girl but money this would result to extortion after marriage by torture.

Despite every stigma, dowry continues to be the signature of marriage. It is high time each one of us should make sure not to encourage this practice, if we choose to call ourselves educated, aware & moral, and seeking for spirituality. This is just another way contributing to the ill treatment of girls and their subjugation and we should have the policy of zero tolerance in the matter which will help us solve other problems associated with it automatically. Women should insist on marrying only those men (not immature boys !) who have the courage of their conviction to say "NO!" to dowry. Men who insist on living on the wealth provided by their in-laws are as good as impotent and should be avoided at all cost. Women need real social, political, financial and moral support in their fight against the system. They have to be empowered so that they can take their decisions about their own life by refusing the dowry system.

The evil of dowry cannot be combated by a few individuals. It requires a wide spread transformation. It is for prospect grooms and sensible men to down play this evil.

source: http://www.speakingtree.in/spiritual-blogs/seekers/faith-and-rituals/dowry-system-social-evil-in-india
 

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