5 Inspiring Dowry Stories Of People Who Challenged This Archaic Custom

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

Have you ever wondered why girls are considered to be a burden on the family? Apart from the age-old social norms that restrict them from receiving formal education and earn for themselves, certain social practices like dowry add an extra responsibility on parents’ shoulders, thereby making it harder for them financially. Even to this day, in certain conservative families when a woman gets pregnant, special poojas are done so that she gives birth to a baby boy. According to these families, a boy supports the family financially but a girl is known to loot them off their money. While that is far from the truth, unfortunately it’s what people believe.

On the brighter side, as our society is slowly inching towards progressive attitudes and approaches, we can see tiny rays of hope in the form of change. There are people who stand up against dowry and take every opportunity to genuinely do something good, thereby making a difference.

In a country where more than half of the population is poor, girls are considered to be expensive members which is one of the major reasons for female foeticides and infanticides. For them, education and equality are secondary because survival is what they struggle for. After all, it’s not easy to stand up against an archaic system all alone. But there are people who have decided to take a different road and say a no to dowry and fight against such practices that portray women in a feeble light. We consider such people as our true real-life heroes. Here are 5 such dowry stories that will restore your faith in humanity and sensible living.

1. The Brave Heart

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At least once in our lifetime we would have heard or read about a girl who was killed or abandoned by her in-laws in a case that’s related to dowry. In a world where women have become the head of a nation and traveled to space, girls in India are tortured for something as cheap and nasty as dowry. Komal Ganatra, a girl from Savarkundala, Gujarat has a similar story. After her graduation in Sanskrit, Hindi, and English Literature, when Komal was preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam, her marriage was fixed. Even though her parents gave her freedom to a considerable extent and encouraged her to pursue her studies, her whole world came crumbling down when she got a marriage proposal from an NRI.

Komal was married into an educated family and her husband worked in New Zealand. Sounds all merry, right? Well, it wasn’t. Sometimes, even the highly educated men behave like demons. When Komal was forced to give in to the dowry demands, she refused. Within 15 days of her wedding, she had to leave the house, and her husband went back to New Zealand. Komal being the brave-heart she is, moved to Bhavnagar, a small village where she worked as a teacher to earn a livelihood. In 2012, without the help of the internet or any coaching centers, Komal bagged the 591st rank in the UPSC exams. Today, she works in the administrative office of the Defence Ministry in Delhi.

2. The Green Wedding

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Denying dowry in a society where it’s an unsaid obligation in weddings, is as difficult as saving up for the dowry money itself. What do you do when your in-laws insist on giving you dowry but you’re completely against the idea? Here’s an example of how amazingly Saroj Kanta Biswal, a school teacher dealt with the situation. He asked his father-in-law to give him 1,001 saplings as dowry! He and his wife happily distributed the saplings among the villagers and wrote an inspirational wedding story. He also made sure that there were no unnecessary expenditures like that on a DJ, baraat, and fireworks. Isn’t he an amazing son-in-law, and moreover an amazing person?

3. Dowry For A Social Cause

Image: IStock

Vehicles are a favorite among the dowry demanders and it can range anywhere from a Maruthi 800 to an Audi. During a wedding that happened in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, the groom was given an ambulance as dowry! Yes, you heard it right. His father-in-law gifted him an ambulance which was quite surprising to everyone including the groom himself. Well, it was not such a bad idea considering the fact that the people of his village didn’t have a decent transport facility to medical centers in case of emergencies.

4. The Bangladeshi Bride

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Dowry issues not only suffocate India but also our neighboring countries like Bangladesh. When Farzana Yasmin’s parents were asked for an extra amount of dowry during the wedding ceremony, she stood up against her in-laws and walked out. She knew that dowry was involved in the marriage but her greedy in-law’s last moment demands that came like a threat made her realize that she wasn’t going to be happy in the family. We’re so proud of Farzana!

5. Son For Sale!

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Zubaria Raja from Islamabad told her to-be mother-in-law that she was not getting a daughter home, but she was selling her own son for dowry. The groom’s family had demanded Zubaria to bring in a house and the whole living set up for their son who didn’t have a stable career. When she got to know about the family’s demands, she not only refused to accept it but also gave them a piece of her mind. Her would-be mother-in-law, the woman who demanded the hefty dowry was the Principal of an educational institute! Isn’t that ridiculous?

Why should anyone pay anyone to begin a new phase of life? If you educate your daughters enough, they can take care of themselves and the family. A family that demands dowry isn’t really an ideal place for a girl to be a part of and live with. It’s just the beginning of her crisis. What is your opinion about the system of dowry? Have you ever stood up against the system? Let us know in the comment section below.

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