14 July, 2006
My dear Madhu,
Your editorial in Hinduism Today for July-August-September, 2006 (which I regularly read) on Protecting Women in Marriage was not only educative and informative but spells out the social hurdles that gender justice faces in India.
As you pointed out there is an inbuilt flaw in the definition of the dowry. ‘Dowry’ (another name for groom money) has gone underground and the in-laws do not have to account for whatever the daughter gets from her parents. Even the Stridhan has lost its sanctity.
So long as the people continue to look upon sons as an asset and daughters as a liability and parents look upon unmarried daughters as a social stigma, grooms will fetch a price in the marriage market. But when girls and boys, women and men, enjoy equal educational opportunities and when educated and gainfully employed daughters marry of their choice, then the groom market will decline. But this will take time.
In the meantime, the state can try to close the loopholes both in the dowry and inheritance laws.
With kind regards,
Ms. Madhu Kishwar,
Editor, The Manushi,
C-13, Sangam Estate,
1, Under Hill Road,
Delhi – 110 054.