Dowry—A Social Evil
B.A. LLB (6th Semester)
Vitasta School of Law & Humanities
Dowry means the property, money etc. brought by a bride to her husband at the time of their marriage from her parents. It is an unfortunate phenomenon prevalent in the so called modern civilized societies. It is a social evil that has taken startling and dangerous proportion particularly in the urban culture and even the highly literate and well placed people demand it and receive it with out the least compunction. This practice has unveiled the most ugly and ignoble face of the present day materialistic man.
Allah the creator of this universe soon after the creation of Hazrat Adam (ASW) created Hazrat Hawa (ASN) because the creation of Adam would have been quite incomplete and meaningless without her creation. It is no exaggeration that human race exists on this globe only due to the existence of woman. Allama Iqbal, the philosopher poet has described this reality in a very splendid and Succinct manner.
Wajoode Zun sey hai tasweere kayemat mein rangh
Esyee kay saaz sey hai zindagee ka sooze daroon.
In Islam there is no room or justification for demanding or receiving dowry. The teachings of the holy prophet (SAW) and the Sunnah of the holy prophet strictly forbid a Muslim from such an inhuman and Satanic practice. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on the occasion of his last pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj) while addressing a huge congregation of Muslims, besides other things, made it mandatory upon the believers to treat women with kindness and reverence, be it a mother, sister, wife or daughter. Therefore, in Islam there is no room for harassing a woman for not bringing dowry.
In the ancient Hindu culture a woman was regarded as a symbol of love and beauty and was worshipped like a goddess. There was no question of harassing her for dowry and prompting her to take the extreme step of self immolation or suicide. But now! The social scenario of the Hindus has changed and degenerated beyond description, where self immolation or suicide or dowry death is a recurrent phenomenon.
The old fundamentals of our society have undergone a cataclysmic change in the name of modernization and so called progress. The modern man has become too hedonistic and is madly worshiping wealth, at the cost of high ethical, social and human values. The degeneration is so pathetic that the sacred institution of marriage and human relations have now been commercialized.
The news of dowry deaths and immolations strikes the headlines of local as well as national news papers at an alarming rate. Most of these incidents are reported from the urbanized societies, big cities, and metropolitans. This clearly depicts that our society is fast degenerating into an inhuman culture and barbaric society. Precious lives are lost at an alarmingly growing rate. The occurrence of these inhuman acts is more among the literate sections of our society. The more a boy is well qualified the more is his demand for dowry, though there are exceptions. Therefore, the so called literate and well placed young men of our society are the worst perpetrators of this heinous crime.
A young man or his parents do not at all take this bitter reality into account that had their respective mothers been harassed and coerced to commit suicide for not bringing sufficient dowry, how could they have come into existence? Alas! The tragedy is that man forgets things too soon because his thinking and understanding are quite finite. A frivolous young man carried away by abject selfishness and immature emotions fails to anticipate that in near future as the father of a daughter or brother of a sister he himself has to face the same menace and curse.
The evil of dowry gives birth to innumerable other social problems, evils and crime. Once a woman is tortured and teased by her husband and in-laws for not bringing dowry, it can prompt her to commit suicide and this inevitably gives birth to a chain of action, reaction and retaliationary incidents. Families get entangled and engaged into litigations, fights and hostile conditions. Life of the people involved in such unfortunate conditions becomes miserable as they find themselves caught in a vicious circle. Dowry prompts people to kill female child at its embryo stage well in the womb of its mother.
Now that the civilized world has enacted laws banning dowry, more stringent and punitive measures are required to be taken and executed so that this evil is eradicated from our society. A multi pronged strategy is needed to put an end to this menace. The evil of dowry needs to be fought on all fronts. The print as well as the electronic media can play a vital role in this regard. The campaign against this evil should form a part of our educational curricula and all students must be educated about the adverse effects of this curse. Religious preachers, scholars, writers, artists and poets also must share their responsibility in their own ways in the eradication of this evil.
To top it all, it is quite imperative upon all the conscientious and right thinking people of our society to assert and come forward with determination in the fight against dowry. Let us all pledge to eradicate this inhuman practice from our society once and for all.