By Dean Nelson in New Delhi 1: The report comes amid growing concern over the level of violence against women following the Delhi gang rape case last December. The number of deaths is marginally less than inbut reflects a broader increase in gender violence.
The history of dowry in South Asia is not clear. Some scholars believe dowry was practiced in antiquity, but some do not. Historical eyewitness reports, as discussed below, suggest dowry in ancient India was insignificant, and daughters had inheritance rights, which by custom were exercised at the time of their marriage.
Documentary evidence suggests that at the beginning of 20th century bride price, rather than dowry was the common custom, which often resulted in very poor boys remaining unmarried.
Tambiah claims the ancient Code of Manu sanctioned dowry and bridewealth in ancient India, but dowry was the more prestigious form and associated with the Brahmanic priestly caste. Bridewealth was restricted to the lower casteswho were not allowed to give dowry.
He cites two studies from the early 20th century with data to suggest that this pattern of dowry in upper castes and bridewealth in lower castes has persisted through the first half of the 20th century.
The findings of MacDonell and Keith are similar to Witzel, and differ from Tambiah; they cite ancient Indian literature suggesting bridewealth was paid even in brahma - and daiva -types of marriage associated with the Brahmanic priestly upper caste.
Dowry was not infrequent when the girl suffered from some bodily defect. Lochtefeld suggests that religious duties listed by Manu and others, such as 'the bride be richly adorned to celebrate marriage' were ceremonial dress and jewelry along with gifts that were her property, not property demanded by or meant for the groom; Lochtefeld further notes that bridal adornment is not currently considered as dowry in most people's mind.
Available eyewitness observations from ancient India give a different picture. One of these are the eyewitness records from Alexander the Great conquest ca. Arrian first book mentions a lack of dowry, They these ancient Indian people make their marriages accordance with this principle, for in selecting a bride they care nothing whether she has a dowry and a handsome fortune, but look only to her beauty and other advantages of the outward person.
ArrianThe Invasion of India by Alexander the Great3rd Century BC  Arrian's second book similarly notes, They Indians marry without either giving or taking dowries, but the women as soon as they are marriageable are brought forward by their fathers in public, to be selected by the victor in wrestling or boxing or running or someone who excels in any other manly exercise.
He translated many Indian texts into Arabicas well as wrote a memoir on Indian culture and life he observed. Al-Biruni claimed, The implements of the wedding rejoicings are brought forward.
No gift dower or dowry is settled between them.
The man gives only a present to the wife, as he thinks fit, and a marriage gift in advance, which he has no right to claim back, but the proposed wife may give it back to him of her own will if she does not want to marry.
The daughter took this inheritance amount with her when she married, claimed Al-Biruni, and she had no rights to income from her parents after her marriage or to any additional inheritance after her father's death. If her father died before her marriage, her guardian would first pay off her father's debt, then allocate a fourth of the remaining wealth to her upkeep till she is ready to marry, and then give the rest to her to take with her into her married life.
It is also unclear when, why and how quickly the practice of dowry demand by grooms began, whether this happened after the arrival of Islam in the late 11th century, or with the arrival of colonialism in the 16th century, or both.
Causes of the dowry[ edit ] Various reasons have been suggested as cause of dowry practice in India. These include economic factors and social factors. Economic factors[ edit ] There are many economic factors that contribute towards the system of dowry.
Some of these include inheritance systems and the bride's economic status. Some suggestions point to economics and weak legal institutions on inheritance place women in disadvantage, with inheritances being left only to sons.
InIndia gave equal legal status to daughters and sons among HinduSikh and Jain families, under the Hindu Succession Act India grants its Muslim population the Sharia derived personal status laws. Despite the new inheritance law, dowry has continued as a process whereby parental property is distributed to a daughter at her marriage by a social process, rather than after parents death by a slow court supervised process under Hindu Succession Act This helped prevent family wealth break-up and provided security to the bride at the same time.
In the north, marriage usually follows a patrilocal lives with husband's family system, where the groom is a non-related member of the family. This system encourages dowry perhaps due to the exclusion of the bride's family after marriage as a form of premortem inheritance for the bride. In addition, brides may have the ability to inherit land, which makes her more valuable in the marriage, decreasing the chance of dowry over the bride price system.Dowry system is an old but worst suffering of women in India.
The system is prevalent in almost all parts of the country. While other social evils like untouchability and caste-system are falling into a decline, the evil of dowry system is assuming a gigantic form.
Dowry system has long been exploiting the weak and hampering the right to peaceful existence of a woman. Well, government can formulate rules, it depends upon the community to follow it or not. Hence, social awareness is the necessity to ensure robust annihilation of dowry system from the nation.
The dowry system in India refers to the durable goods, cash, and real or movable property that the bride's family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of the marriage. The consequences of the dowry system for Woman in India Today, Indian society is surrounded with many problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, population growth, delivery of social welfare and a very difficult and bureaucratic legal system.
Dowry which was an institution for the benefit of Women in Indian marriage system got converted into a custom to abuse and oppress women during the British Rule of India, due to the discriminatory policies of the British against Indian Women.
The consequences of the dowry system for Woman in India Today, Indian society is surrounded with many problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, population growth, delivery of social welfare and a very difficult and bureaucratic legal system.