By: Nisar Ahmad Wani
he custom of dowry though almost universally accepted and practiced in Kashmir has produced adverse effects on our society. Most people now feel that if this social evil continues it is prone to alter the institution of marriage. Due to the prevalence of the dowry system people feel mentally disturbed and ultimately expect financial ruin. The consequences are felt more by the middle and lower middle classes. When at the time of marriage demands are made by the boy’s side ,most of the parents of the girls are unable to meet them and this leads to the psychological, social and economical male adjustments in society.
In Kashmir, an average man has a large family and if, by misfortune, he has three or four daughters, his who life is passed in solving only one problem, how to arrange the marriage of his daughters without incurring much expenditure. In this attempt he gets into debt, the debt may pass from generation to generation. These evils are apparent only in towns with any artificial attractions of life. But also in villages with very poor and backward economies.
The dowry system in our society has become kind of a bargaining system .which is unspiritual in nature and has no ethical value.it is unfortunate that the boy’s side not only wants that the girls should be highly educated, should belong to a well off family but also demands dowry. It is strange that the girl is considered to be inferior and degraded. She is in fact superior in that she performs a double set of duties. She looks after her home and also earns money. If so desired by the person who marries her, the dowry system is an indicator of great social injustice.
Also Read : October effect – Myth or fact
There is no social evil that cannot be eradicated and there is no society in the world which is without some social evils, although their nature differs in different countries depending on the social, economical and cultural set up of a particular society. The right step in this direction would be the implementation of the dowry prohibition act 1961 to abolish this custom. The admin should take a bold but well planned action to enforce, this legislation.it should not be regarded by the public as an encroachment upon their social liberties or personal affairs.it should be looked upon as dignified statues that will create a spirit of harmony and happiness in society and protect it from economic and mental frustrations and harassments.
At the moment the dowry prohibition legislation appears to be an enactment for the state book to become a dead letter like many such laws in the past .It is defective in so far as it completely bans the payment of dowry. It ignores the difference which ought to have been made in punishing the giver of dowry and receiver of dowry and finally the provision that no court can take cognizance without complaint is a great handicap in the way of social reforms legislation and even the fear of punishment for violating laws may however, prove to be insufficient.
Association can help the people in two ways ,first by propaganda, they can spread anti dowry feelings among the masses and secondly, they can help people by arranging suitable marriages without dowry .it is necessary that such associations should not become commercial in nature .they should retain their benevolent outlook with which they start this work.
Author studies at Aligarh Muslim University. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org