End the dowry system

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- NEHA JOSHI

Dec 6, 2017-We have made many accomplishments in terms of civilisation and development. But due to our superstitious beliefs, traditions and customs, we have also produced several social evils. Gender inequality, Deuki system, Jhuma system, Chhaupadi system and dowry (Daijo) system are some of the evils still prevailing in society that cause problems for women. Especially in the far west, these social evils are deeply rooted. The practice of offering a girl child to temples, excluding girls during their period and offering furniture, money and appliances to the bridegroom’s family in the name of wedding gifts are some of the examples of these evils. The dowry system is plainly visible during marriage ceremonies.

The dowry system is the practice of giving money, property and other gifts by the bride’s side to the bridegroom’s family. It is a common practice in the Tarai region of Nepal, but now it is spreading to other parts of the country instead of being solved. The dowry system is the biggest social evil in Nepal because it has created a great problem in society and has made 

marriage difficult for girls of poor families. Dowry deaths are occurring frequently in our society. Many girls and women are physically and mentally tortured, and even killed, for bringing little or no dowry. Because of dowry, polygamy has increased, and the divorce rate is soaring. Parents of the bride suffer equally from the problem. They are compelled to sell their property or take a loan at high interest for the marriage of their daughters. Because of the dowry system, people mainly in the southern parts of Nepal do not want to have a baby girl. 

Nowadays, it seems that marriage is considered to be a chance for making money. In the past, dowry was offered as a token of love and blessing, but now it has become a compulsion. This system has made fun of the principle of gender equality. This practice also promotes corruption and female foeticide. Many parents save money for their daughter’s marriage and try to collect dowry instead of spending it on her education. The girl, no matter how qualified she is, often needs dowry to be considered as a potential bride. 

The shameful practice of dowry has been increasing day by day because of patriarchal beliefs, superstitious views and lack of awareness. As long as there discrimination exists on the basis of gender, this evil practice can never be eliminated. Legal provisions against the dowry system should be implemented strictly. Working for women’s empowerment and gender equality is a must to eradicate this problem. Parents should be educated and motivated, and they should be made to understand that even a huge dowry cannot ensure a happy life for their daughters if they are not educated or skilled. 

Published: 06-12-2017 07:50

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