Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 21 June 2024 4.25 PM IST

Dowry culture is here to stay unless...


Law alone would not be sufficient to wipe out the archaic norm of dowry from the state. In India, the culture of dowry is prohibited by law. Albeit the many nuances of law addressing the issue, dowry culture is still prevalent and continues unabated in Kerala.

Political parties and their youth organizations often take up social media to make soliloquies when dowry-related abuse pops up somewhere in Kerala. However, they are not ready to do even a little work to curb this ailment that is affecting society. Even, the police in the state hesitate to register a case if a newlywed bride is beaten up badly for denying dowry.

Among many, the thought the marriage and dowry is interwoven, such that they tend to believe that the marriage would not bear fruition unless completion of the dowry. The youth needs to be at the forefront to fight the archaic norms. However, it is unfortunate that no big writers or social activists have shown the cojones to lead an awareness drive to bring a renaissance in this area.

Dowry has no caste or religion in Kerala. In the name of dowry torture, suicides and murders are happening repeatedly among people belonging to all religious groups. The rise in dowry disputes, even among the educated and economically well-off, is also a sign that the trend has gripped the society like a leprosy.

When Vismaya died due to similar dowry harassment, the state saw massive outrage while news channels engaged in full-time debates over the issue. However, the prominence faded away as another topic filled the void of ‘breaking news’. Dr Shahana had to endure a similar fate after she was harassed by the groom for the paltry sum received as dowry.

Interestingly, in all these cases, the police took a stand with the accused and only jumped ship after the cases started getting traction in social media and television. The first thing that warrants change is the lax attitude of the police towards dowry harassment. If someone demands dowry for marriage, there should be platforms to disclose it and mechanisms to take legal action on behalf of it.

In the Pantheerankavu case, the bride went to the police station with the bruise marks suffered in the harassment, but the officials downplayed it and sought ways to settle the case. The administrators should think seriously about what can be done at the government level to prevent such incidents from happening again. Actions should also be taken to inculcate the anti-dowry mentality in children early on through education. And mostly, brides should inculcate an astuteness to easily reject proposals that demand dowry. Law simply can’t put a full stop to this redundant age-old culture that keeps on killing innocent lives.

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