Me and Dowry? Of Course Not… Unless Offered!

I and a couple of friends were engaged in what was intended to be nothing more than a chitchat when things stirred up. We were wondering away at some imminent wed locks when we digressed a shade onto the contentious dowry issue. We were ridiculing the outrageous amounts that some of our batch mates would receive, should they choose to accept. The last part of the previous statement is of interest here: Whether the dowry will be turned down or not, if offered. I always thought (naively, in hindsight) that all the people, as well-educated as I am, would not even contemplate accepting it. However, I was a bit taken aback when, one of my friends, the one who had forked this topic into discussion, said while he would never “ask for” any kinda dowry, he would have no issues in accepting it if the gal’s family made an offer!

One might be tempted into arguing that if I am given a ‘gift’, am I not well within my rights to accept it. The problem with this line of thought is that it looks at the receipt of dowry in isolation, devoid of the gender context. Gifts are acceptable when they are mutual. Dowry is always given by the bride’s family, never reciprocated. Moreover, though it is a voluntary act in cases like the aforementioned one, more often than not, there is some sort of coercion involved. Even in voluntary cases, there’s an issue. The moment it is known that you were open to dowry or you accepted it, many girl parents could find themselves revisiting their stance on the matter. Similarly, after seeing their peers take dowry, boy parents might also be emboldened to cash in on some cheap cash. What at first glance seems like a harmless acceptance of ‘gifts’ actually helps perpetuate a vicious cycle that forces women to lead the lives of second-class citizens.

To sum up, offered or not, dowry has no place in a fair society!


About Pulkit Parikh

A computer science researcher by training. At present, I earn my monthly wages from Microsoft, where I am a software engineer. Prior to that, I had worked with KSS and HP Labs, after obtaining MS-by-Research from IIIT Hyderabad. I hail from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), where I spent the first two decades of my life. A few years later, Sejal was kind enough to pick me as her partner for life. I am avidly fond of bridge (a riveting mind game of cards). In late 2010, I made what I consider my most significant decision:

Posted on October 22, 2007, in General Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good point! By the comment I would like to add two points. 1)woman who force their parents to give dowry.
    2)Apart from not accepting the dowry, a groom should make brides parents believe that, in current or future time, any problems that are to arise between the couple wouldn’t be because dowry wasn’t taken.
    Coming to first point, I came across few girls who are very keen from grabbing more bucks from their parents, as dowry/gift. They literally force parents to give money. Might be the reasons because daughters got less importance than sons. Or may be self centered behavior that they are leaving parents for entire life, so its better to grab possible perks in name of marriage. I urge women to take a stand and avoid doing this. Because these kinds of social issues not only affect their lives but the fellow girls lives too.
    The second point though not clear, it is very straight forward. Suppose the groom didnt accept dowry, but in future they couple had some problem. The girls parents shouldn’t feel that the problems aroused because they didn’t gave dowry. If it happens they would go and spread the word that because of not giving dowry their daughters is suffering. By the word the fellow parents would offer dowry, even if the groom doesn’t want it.So what I say is the groom should ensure that their life wouldn’t have serious problems.
    For few It would be tempting to take money for free, but no satisfaction would result by the money obtained without any hard work/work.

  2. Hi

    Good to see your Blog with level of content as expected!!!

    I had same conversations couple of times with my REDDY friends who are famous for dowry.My colleague wanted to come US becz it makes his market value increase from 50 lac to 1Cr. :))))))))))) .For em he was a******l.If you are doing this this then what is benefit of your education..That was first question come in my mind?I explained a bit but all worthless.

    After 2 monhs , got scenario which makes me to think whole dowry case different way.

    Case happened like this, another my friend was about to leave for india and ready to take dowry if they wants to give t their daughter.So again conversation starts.

    He said two things that I would not ustand until I stand at his palce in his shooes.

    1) His dad is under debt of 23 lacs which he gave to his daughter ,I will say why do we need to give girl to some family who takes it but they feel ,But acco to them its their society and girl must marry in society so they can also live in society.

    It was too heavy for me to ustand and digest too.

    2) He said, if he does ntot ake it then peopel doubts on him that , Guy must have some problem and thats why he is not taking it.

    Whats your thinking on this

  3. i pretty much agree to ur ideas..even i’ve the same… but i know many of my “well educated” frens (most of their families have links to villages) who openly admit tht they ll take whatevr dowry comes thr way… this used to shock me first but now having herd the same from many ppl, hv come to see the reality… how many we may make about the modernization of our society.. issues like dowry and caste appeasement/discrimination are her to stay for long unless some revolution takes place…

  4. This is to Aditya and Abhishek.
    Aditya, you said you saw the reality. (So, do u accept taking and giving dowry as the ground reality?)
    Abhishek, you said: “After 2 months … makes me to think whole dowry case different way. ” (I assume that you sympathise with your friend who wanna help his father).
    Who ever give/take/support dowry are greedy and need to be boycotted by the society. There may be many issues, like “if you dont take, they will think X about u”. How diff is to say just “No” on the face of money or material that comes in the way of marriage from girls side? It shows that one lacks conviction in saying “no” to dowry. Even if it is given with love and care, return it with same love and care along with a “no thanks”. The fact is that, quick money is what todays world is looking for. That is why in Abhishek’s case the girls father went in debts, and her brother had to “save” his father by accepting dowry. In any case, the boy (bcos he takes dowry) and his father (bcos he gave dowry) are criminals and we don’t need to sympathise with criminals. The father should not have given dowry in the first place, realizing that what he thinks to be the wellbeing of his daughter (read dowry) is making the lives of many equally eligible brides (and their parents) a living hell.

  5. i just came across this blog and really found this interesting, and somehow staying in north india for almost a year, i have seen this dowry to it’s highest reality so couldnt control to comment here. there dowry is mostly demanded in terms of gold, land, cars or any other expensive materials.

    let me here first analyse satish’s comments here, its not always right to blame a girl for the dowry. say in what case a girl will force her parents to give dowry to her in-laws.. those would mostly be the cases of uneducated/unemployed girls, who does not have much financial security and also the cases of arranged marriage where she is insecure about her upcoming married life and the impacts of not giving dowry in her life. most common expectation of a girl would be dowry in terms of gold, which she might be sure that it will stay with her and may be helpful in case she requires any financial help in emergency situations.. i have not come accross any other cases than these. so a girl forcing parents for dowry is not always negative.

    completely agreed to pulkit, the main important role in dowry exchange is played by ‘society syndrom’, where people/parents need to show off to so called society. i have seen some of my guy friends from hariyana discussing about how much land in dowry they would expect from girl’s parents, which brand of car they will ask for to girl’s parents.. and this used to make me sick of that place. but i guess this issue will still remain for one more generation untill the present generation will start the trend of marriages without dowry.

  6. Hi,rishab here,the only 1st thing is tht a boy have to decide he have to take dowry or not simply from my point of view as now a days dowary has been given as a beg, they think we r begining to them bt frm my point of view i will not take dowary bcoz i believe in love marriage.simple no party no dhamaka simply main uska aur wo meri.but by taking dowary we r creating a fear.simply who have a littile bit of humanity they dont take dowary.bye rishab

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