The system of dowry is a prevalent practice, most commonly taking place in nations with patrilineal laws. The term ‘dowry’ can refer to any goods, money, or property that a bride brings to her husband and his family as a condition upon marriage. While the subject has always been appealing to me, a recent incident piqued my interest to study about this issue.
A woman in my town had been a victim of domestic violence by her husband, due to the non-fulfilment of the decided amount of dowry. While she had been silent for months, it was when she got severely injured and had to be hospitalized, that the issue came forward. When she filed an FIR with the local police, her husband was arrested. This was followed by the woman being harassed by several families, forcing her to withdraw the complaint. What was astonishing to me was the kind of comments that the people were making with regards to this; while some people tried to convince her by stating that him being arrested would get him fired from his job, some other said “these things happen all the time, no need to make this an issue” and “women these days do not know how to compromise”. What was worse is that all of these people, including the victim and the accused, are highly educated people. When under pressure she finally withdrew her complaint, the same people said “She did it only to make a scene. If there was really a problem, why did she stop pursuing the case?”.
Witnessing such an incident made me realize how institutionalized the system is, and how cases arising from this are often stigmatized. For the same, I have tried to look into and analyse in this paper, the underlying controversy.