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Mother of all Evils

| March 16, 2015 | 14 Comments

Many parents consider giving dowry as their love, obligation and responsibility. However, understanding the concept of dowry and its impact on the society becomes crucial in the wake of suffering and deaths caused by this evil system which is mother of all evils.


The dowry system dates back to the Babylonian period wherein daughters did not normally inherit anything from their father’s estate. Instead with marriage, they got a dowry from her parents.

The Romans practiced dowry which was transferred by the bride or on her behalf by anyone else, to the groom or groom’s father, at their marriage to contribute a share of the costs involved in setting up a new household.

Dowry was widely practiced in Europe. In England, failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could cause a marriage to be called off.

Dowry was common in different historic periods of China and continued through the modern history. The dowry ranged from land, jewelry, money to a collection of clothing, sewing equipment and collection of household items.

In India, dowry is a payment of cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newly-weds set up their home or gifts from the bride’s family to the bridegroom’s family upon marriage.

Bangladesh has seen a rise in the expected size of dowries in recent decades. In Bangladesh, dowry killings are more frequently done by stabbing, acid throwing or poison rather than burning.

In Pakistan, dowry is called Jahez in Arabic (derived from Islamic jahez-e-fatimi). Pakistan has the highest reported number of dowry death rates per 100,000 women in the world. According to Ansari, Pakistan’s Muslim community considers dowry as an obligatory Islamic practice. The pressure among some Pakistanis to provide a large dowry results in some bride’s families going into debt, including debt servitude; some brides build up their dowry with their own earnings if they work outside the home.

The practice of dowry is common in Nepal, and dowry-related violence is increasingly becoming a problem. As a result, the dowry system has been banned in Nepal

The payment of dowry in Sri Lanka has a strong tradition, and has been connected to family violence

Dowry is called Jehez in Afghanistan, some houses are almost emptied so that the daughter may make a grand show at the wedding. Items included in a dowry depend on the resources of the bride’s family and the demands made by the groom’s family.

Dowry has existed in Persia for over 1000 years,

Dowry is known as çeyiz in Turkey. Ceyiz is the property and money bride’s families in Islamic Turkey give during marriage. .

Dowry is known as cehiz in Azerbaijan. Cehiz is the property and money the bride’s family must give to the groom’s family prior to marriage.

In Egypt, dowry is known as Gehaz and is typically negotiated between the groom’s family and bride’s. Gehaz includes furniture, appliances, jewelry, china, bedding and various household items. Families begin collecting dowry, years before a girl is betrothed. Many Egyptian girls take up jobs so as to save money necessary to meet the expected dowry demands

Dowry is a traditional and current practice in Morocco, and is called shura or shawar or ssdaq or amerwas depending on the region of Morocco and ethnicity (e.g. Arabic, Berber, Shloh, etc.).

Evils of Dowry System:

Sex Selective Abortions:

India is the most dangerous place in the world to be born a girl, with females almost twice as likely to die before reaching the age of five, according to new UN figures. The battle for life commences right from the day a girl child is conceived in her mother’s womb. Her existence, her survival, is as unpredictable as around 10 million female fetuses have been aborted in India,

Female feticide is not only common in rural areas where social discrimination against women, lack of proper education etc. can be considered as reasons behind carrying out such acts, but also the ultra modern, so-called ‘educated’ people living in urban areas and metropolitan cities who are a step ahead in killing the girl child in the womb.

Dowry Deaths:

National Crime Records Bureau (the country’s only source for collecting and analyzing instances of reported crime) indicates more than 8,000 women died due to dowry-related reasons last year. Dowry has been transformed into something more sinister.

Marrying off daughters to suitable men has come to mean that families frequently have to mortgage their homes, sell personal belongings or perform years of hard labor to pay the dowry demanded by the groom’s family. Even for New Delhi’s urban poor, paying dowry can cost a lifetime of daily wage labour, with no retirement age in sight.

  • A day after a 28-year-old married woman committed suicide by hanging herself in Ayodhya Nagar area, a dowry death case was registered in wake of investigations
  • Srimathi (24), a homemaker who was undergoing treatment for burn injuries, succumbed at KR Hospital on Thursday. She was set on fire by her husband Shankar, on Tuesday. Sargur police said it is a case of dowry death and we have arrested Shankar and his mother
  • A 21 year old woman was found dead in her house at Kankarbagh on Saturday night by her parental kin. According to police, the woman was identified as Manju Devi. Her body was found lying on a bed and injury marks were also found on her body. Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj said, “Prima facie it is suspected that her husband and in-laws killed her for dowry and they are absconding.”
    Mundiyaan Kalaan police has arrested husband of a woman, who allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself with a fan, for inciting her to take extreme steps on Wednesday.
  • CBD police in Belapur has registered a case of dowry death after the Agroli based newly married woman had committed suicide.
  • City police has registered a case of dowry death against four people for having allegedly killed Sunita, who happens to be daughter of a Sub inspector of CID in Ambala. The accused include the husband and his family members.
  • A 25-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison in Bamheta on Friday night.
  • Rajesh Kawade, a chemical analyst, was arrested on Saturday for alleged involvement in mentally and physically harassing his wife Vanita, who ended her life along with their 23-month-old daughter Mimansha at Suradevi Vasti in Koradi on January 30.

Read more such shocking news:

Domestic violence

Dowry is considered a major contributor towards observed violence against women in India. Some of these offences include physical violence, emotional abuses, and even murder of brides and girls.

Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting herself on fire; this is known as “bride burning”, and sometimes disguised as suicide or accident.

Physical abuse

Recently married women can be a target for dowry related violence, because she is tied economically and socially to her new husband.
In addition, there are studies indicating dowry as a threat, or hostage type situation, in order to attain greater funds from the bride’s family.

Emotional abuse

The impact of dowry can leave a woman helpless and desperate, which can accumulate in emotional trauma and abuse. Brides are often considered owned by their husbands, and often have very little power in the marriage, which can lead to depression and suicide. Dowry reinforces these beliefs and is considered to escalate effects of emotional trauma in a marriage.


The system of dowry has also been linked to murder of young brides. India has by far the highest number of dowry related deaths in the world according to Indian National Crime Record Bureau. In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. This means a bride was burned every 90 minutes, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.

Giving, demanding or accepting dowry in any manner does not signify your love, responsibility or obligation instead it amounts to directly or indirectly being part of the above criminal system.

Source: wikipedia.org, google.com
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About the Author (Author Profile)

I’m Fayaz Pasha from Bangalore, the Silicon Valley and Garden City of India. I’m a Certified Life Coach and an NLP Practitioner. I love reading, writing and convey my thoughts through Poetry. I would like to make my humble contribution to the Society through this blog towards detoxification of social evils particularly the dowry system.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Highly informative. I have never read this much info about this vital issue at one place. Hats off!

  2. Saru Singhal says:

    Such stats make my blood boil. Worse is educated people are indulging in such practices.

  3. Oh! So this rotten system exists elsewhere too! It’s such a shame….
    Maniparna Sengupta Majumder recently posted…LoveMy Profile

  4. Anita says:

    Sad that dowry still exists.
    Grooms & their families demand it like their birthright…
    Hope we can do away with this societal evil
    Informative & relevant post.
    Anita recently posted…RivoKids Parents And Kids Choice Awards #PKCA2015My Profile

  5. sindhoooo says:

    OMG! Didn’t know that dowry system was/is present worldwide! Some are shocking facts!! Felt very bad reading about our neighbouring countries- Pakistan and Afghanistan…

    Probably boys of dowry taking communities take life very lightly as their in-laws would set up a life for them! Shame on such men…
    sindhoooo recently posted…Paper Quilled EarhangingsMy Profile

    • Fayaz Pasha says:

      Dowry is such a virus that it has spread across the globe particularly the Asian sub-continent. It is an epidemic that has killed many innocent girls and left many a parent in debts and misery. What’s astonishing is parents are still spreading this disease without any concern. Boys are considered so much dear that many parents kill their unborn daughters too.

      Thank you Sindhoo for your kind comment.

  6. shweta says:

    That was a very informative article. I am surprised to know that dowry is prevalent in not just India but other nations too! Think with women working and being financially more independent this will cease to be the case in the future.

    • Fayaz Pasha says:

      Unfortunately its true that dowry is prevalent in many countries. The dowry demands and the need for financial independence has resulted in a different and difficult position for women. Even working professionals have not be spared by this criminal dowry system. Having a balance in professional and personal life has become a herculean task as well as safety and security issues have made women more vulnerable. The society needs to accept that the prevalence of dowry system needs to be smothered completely.

      Thank you Shweta for sharing your views.

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