Dowry System in India
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Introduction to Anthropology
Submitted to Dr. Sarah Fessenden
Submitted by- Prabhjot Singh (100347516)
Every culture in the world has its own rituals and still many of old rituals have been performed by members of religion. Dowry system in India has same story and is still performed by Hindu religion. Well, dowry system is an old marriage ritual in which the groom`s family demands money or costly things from bride`s family before or after marriage. From ethnocentric view, this is wrong as many divorces and death cases happened from this old tradition. This essay will introduce you about why dowry system should be banned from Indian marriages along with exploring its harmful effects on people and how this ritual makes Indian marriage different from Canadian marriages.
To initiate with, dowry has still strong roots in India in this era where women are standing up with education and their career`s success. However, dowry in India is called by other name kanyadaan which literally means gift of the virgin bride and it has become major factor in marriage negotiations. From the recent researches, it is found that it has some adverse consequences for women. If bride`s family is unable to fulfil the wishes of groom`s family then it sometimes turns to crime as bride is beaten, discriminated and killed after marriage. According to Indian National crime Record Bureau of India reported that numbers of crime incidents were 8,233 in 2012 and bride was burned every 90 minutes. To add it more, dowry issues causes 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India. Overall, dowry system is major cause of discrimination between men and women which leads to rise of so many criminal activities like female foeticides, rapes etc.
Moving further, I will explore the socio-economic and cultural factors based on qualitative analysis from my researched article. It was found that mostly dowry crime cases happen due to illiteracy. For example, if girl is married to uneducated family then she has more chances to be discriminated because boy`s family does not know have basic knowledge that men and women are equal. In some cases, boy`s father think that how society will feel if they do not get enough dowry rewards in his boy`s marriage and the level of greediness increased from time to time when girl side feels burden from boy
side. Another major factor is aspiration of marrying rich family from girl side, then girl face lot of discrimination when she is married in rich family due to cheap dowry. One more interesting case is that two wives of two boys in joint family are categorised by their amount of dowry given to that family. The wife whose family give large money to boy`s family is superior than another wife of other boy. Well, this also imbalances the equality in family and within two females in same home. However, dowry does not affect the bride alone. Rather, its ordeal spreads to brides parents and they have to bear the monetary demands of their counterparts to safeguard their child. With regular demands from the grooms family, reports of suicides still common in the country.
Even though, this old ritual system is still being practiced by modern societies too and trends in Bihar is increasing but southern states of India where literacy rates are high, the people have abandoned this ritual. In fact, it is revealed that level of dowry problems and education is associated to each other. In schools of India, chapters are included in curriculum to fight against this worse cultural ritual whereas many steps are being taken by government like they are running awareness problem among people of many states in India regularly. But decisions are hand on society, it is better to deal with this problem by educating girls to marry good family who values the girls. Moreover, women who live in urban areas have more access to modern educational systems are exposed to more cosmopolitan environments that challenge old thinking and traditions. Women who work are more likely to be exposed to liberalizing influences in the workplace and their greater financial resources allow them to question traditional practices that decrease down burdens to their families and have marriage system. Even more, the girls who marry to those guys to whom they already know, will make them not to worry about dowry system and face any kind of discrimination.
Now coming to Canadian marriage rituals, it is good to say that in Canada, marriages are not done on family decisions as its only boy girl decisions, so it does not let boy`s family to demand something from bride`s family. The marriage system in Canada is more simple than Indian traditions as Canada is also country which reflects the European customs and rituals which are straight and does not have any issue if we will see from ethnocentric point of view.