Back in 1910, a man was born, who grew up to run his own business, marry and have 7 children – 4 girls and 3 boys. In today’s scenario, one would only imagine the amount of dowry he would have to give to marry his daughters off! What transpired is actually hard to imagine today. On one occasion when looking for a proposal for one of his daughters, he visited the boy’s residence. They asked for a dowry because their son was M.A. pass. (Mind you, he didn’t have a job; was just educated enough, (apparently)). He walked away telling them that it won’t work out between them. Like I said, he was a businessman, so his logic was business like: their son was M.A pass and his daughter was pursuing M.A. (first year). So the money spent on the boy’s and the girl’s education all the way up to M.A. first year cancels itself. Also, their son used the family cycle while his daughter used a rickshaw for which the rickshaw guy had to be paid. By that calculation, actually, the guy’s family should pay him. The logic that he came up with is actually not that important – whats important is he took a stand for himself, for his daughter in the 1970s. It takes courage to be able to do something like that. He later found another suitable guy for the same daughter – the guy was practicing law at that point and later became an IAS officer. We lack that courage today because we are scared of the outcome. The man happens to be my Nana.
Two generations later, a young lady was looking for proposals for her very beautiful daughter. She found a suitable boy and found him worthy of her daughter and arranged the wedding. Only to find out a few meetings later that now the boy’s family wanted some dowry. This was just a few weeks before the actual wedding. She found the courage that ran in her blood and canceled the wedding when all the arrangements had been done. Hats off to her because we have majorly regressed when it comes to women’s independence and liberation. Things have gone from back to worse. Thankfully there are still some people who wouldn’t pay to get their daughters married off! The lady is my cousin sister.
Dowry is such a regressive practice that it is one of the many reasons that puts women in a vulnerable position, even today. Because it says so much about the fact that we are not being chosen for who we are but for how much our parents can pay. It’s not an even playing field from the very beginning. I have refused to attend any wedding where there was any exchange of dowry, and if I had to because I was little kid and my parents were going, I refused to eat. It was my protest in my little way. It didn’t achieve anything except keep my conscience clean. But today, through this medium and this story, I want to request you to take a stand for your daughter. Don’t buy her marital status. It’s possible. Sochoge to hoga! If you think, you can!