Dowry is a payment of cash or gift from the family of the bride to the bridegroom’s family upon marriage. The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act, makes the payment of dowry illegal in India, but the practice continues, putting great financial strain on the bride’s family. The size of the dowry is usually seen as a reflection of wealth. Because of the dowry system the birth of a girl is considered a curse and girls are considered as burdens. This has given rise to growing cases of female foeticide. Thousands of girls are killed never getting the chance to make it from their mother’s womb alive.
In 2010 there were 8391 reported cases of dowry deaths in India. Women’s right groups estimate the annual dowry killing to be around 900 in Delhi alone. A dowry killing occurs when a new bride is murdered by her husband or in-laws. When the dowry is not considered sufficient the bride is often abused, harassed and made miserable. This can get to the point where the husband or his family burn the bride alive. They often do this by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it. These killings are often reported as accidents or suicide. Driven by greed the choice to kill the bride rather than return her to her parents ensures that the in-laws will not have to return the dowry. The very sad part in all of the is that the bride is dead while the groom is free to take himself another bride.
- The agony of India’s daughters (telegraph.co.uk)
- Another #Dowry Torture Case in #Canada (genderbytes.wordpress.com)
- Study seeks end to dowry custom (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Rise in Wealth Brings Rise in Dowry Murders to Assam (genderbytes.wordpress.com)