Thursday, September 30, 2010

It’s no more dowry; but right to parental property

The very word dowry gives so much of nightmares, tensions and anxieties for the parents of our Indian brides. Thus, the word dowry is made so complicated and complex. Now giving and receiving dowry is a criminal case in India. Dowry means the amount or wealth that is given
to the bride groom as a fixed deposit to take care of the bride.

It is my humble attempt to redefine the word dowry into right to parental property. The money received by the bride groom from his bride’s family is said to be dowry, if that is the case we should have equivalent word for the wealth received and enjoyed by bride from her bride groom’s parents, like Sthree Dhanam (in Malayalam) there should be Purusha Dhanam

It’s high time that we redefine the very word dowry into parental property. Dowry when it is translated in the vernacular language it simply means, women are valued in terms of money (Sthree Dhanam). In ancient time, when a girl was given in marriage, her parents used to give the bride groom a fixed amount as a safety measure to take care of their daughter when there is no adequate money in the hands of bride groom to look after her.

So later the small act of concern for the daughter is turned to be a social custom that whenever any girl is sent in marriage, her parents have to give the bride groom wealth in terms of money, jewellery, property, piece of land and movable goods and all that.

Now it has really become a cancer in the society. Now the situation is in such a way that no guy would marry a girl without dowry. Marriage is turned to be a money spinning business. Now so many bargaining and bidding are happening in the marriage circle. The marriage is fixed based on the financial ability of bride’s parents to meet the demands set by the bride groom and his family.

Marriage is an open market, where girls are bargained in terms of money and wealth. The amount offered by the girl’s family is tallied by the guy’s family, then the marriage is fixed. Girls are not any commodity that could be purchased by the guy’s family on an appropriate bid with girl’s family.

Unlike western tradition and customs, in India we have right to parental property, wherein children can claim their right for their parental property. Children have right in their parents’ property according to our Indian social system whether the child is male or female.

During the partition of parental property, every child gets equal share on the wealth, irrespective their gender. Therefore, what a girl is given in her marriage is not the dowry but her portion of the parental property, henceforth, it is not dowry instead it should be called parental property.

For Example: if my father has 10 acres of land and 50 lakhs of bank deposit and when it is divided among we, three boys, each one might get 3 acres of land and 15 lakhs eac and one acre and 5 lakhs are kept for parents (normal partition logic is applied here).

So when I marry a girl, does not she enjoy these 3 acres of land and 15 lakhs which I inherit from my father as parental property? So I being a male, I get my portion of parental property and it is shared with my wife.

So what I don’t understand is that when it comes to bride’s family giving bride groom her portion of parental property, so much of uneasiness and murmuring happening, though the money given to bride groom, at the end it goes to bride herself.

As the girl is given in marriage and sent away after marriage from her parental house she carries the property in terms of money, jewellary and some movable goods. As boy is not sent away, his parental property remains there, without being carried to one place to another. So the whole issue is centered on the transferring of wealth from one place to another.

So irrespective of male or female, both of them have the right to parental property. Never a girl should be bargained in marriage in terms of money and wealth from her parents. What bride groom should do that whatever portion of parental property is given to bride, out of free well, he has to be content and happy with it.

Marriage is not a market wherein we can bargain and fix our bride in terms of the money she could bring in. So it's no more dowry but it is right to parental property. What parents give with free will to her daughter is not dowry but it is daughter’s share in their wealth, rather daughter’s right to parental property.

(Picture courtesy, Google)

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