While many educated women are committing suicide as they are harassed by their in-laws and husband, one of our community members explored the ugly truth behind marriage gifts.
While we come across disheartening news about harassment of educated Indian women for the sake of dowry, I wonder if anything has changed for women in Modern India.
Even in the 21st century when a girl is born you could hear many relatives and friends telling parents:
“Ladki hui hai, abhi se shaadi k liye jodna shuru krdo.”
No wonder, why many girls are still killed in the mothers’ wombs for being considered as “bojh” on their family.
Times may have changed, girls might have proven the world their mettle by being successful surgeons, scientist and much more. But it doesn’t matter how successful & educated you are, you couldn’t shed away the label of being called – “paraya dhan”!
But, what breaks my heart is to see how educated and elite Indians have shunned the idea of dahej, but have created a new normal of accepting costly gifts like a luxurious car or an expensive flat in marriage.
This trend of expensive marriage gifts is no different than dowry or dahej.
What Does The Law Say
The Dowry Prohibition Act came into existence on May 1, 1961. It states that receiving and giving of dowry should be prohibited i.e. nobody is allowed to receive or give property, goods or money in the marriages irrespective of their religion. According to the law, families who indulge in the practice of giving and taking dowry can be sent to jail.
It is believed that nobody gives and takes Dahej anymore, but is it really true?
There’s a new fancy term for dowry now – Gifts!
Marriages are no longer a day event. Mehndi, haldi, sangeet are all different events to be celebrated with the expectation of massive gifts. Doesn’t matter if it is lagan or ring ceremonies or milni, it is given that the bride’s family will give gifts to the groom’s family. These gifts are a combination of some cash, gold chain, gold bangle, jewelry for mother, sister and gifts for other family members.
Sadly in many cases, the girl’s family is judged by how luxurious is the decorated car parked at the gate of that big farmhouse for the groom, which is a so-called “gift”.
And we can’t forget the gold and diamond jewelry that brides are decked up from tip to toe that cost lakhs. They take this jewelry to their homes as a gift from their parents.
No one blatantly asks for dowry anymore. But, it is an unspoken understanding that the bride’s family has to pay the price in one form or another.
What is surprising and disgusting is the fact that how families under the cover of – “Aap jo apni beti ko Khushi Khushi dena chahein”, expect the exchange of ‘gifts’ – be it car, flat, kitchenware or jewelry.
The cherry on the cake is that these gifts, in terms of cash or kind, are not taxable in India. Even though a proposition was made in the year 2017 to cap the amount of money spent on weddings, no such law has been passed so far.
As society has labeled them as just gifts to the bride or the groom, this exchange of gifts is celebrated, not questioned.
In the 21st century, when women are financially independent and earning more than their spouses in some cases, it seems highly stupid to expect their parents to give gifts for her comfort.
It is a high time that society calls out this newer version of dowry. We need to call these ceremonies, events and ‘gifts’ out for what they are – illegal and insulting.