Dowry system in BD & its causes and effects.

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Offline ruksana

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Dowry system in BD & its causes and effects.
« on: November 16, 2011, 11:47:32 AM »

Bangladesh is a development country. In this country there are many kinds of unpleasant customs. Dowry is the most common unpleasant custom of those. It creates many problems. It is against the success of our country. It is a much unexpected situation for the bride’s family members. They are to collect a huge amount of money for their daughters’ or sisters’ marriage. Sometime they are to take loan, sell their lands, furniture, ornaments and even their own house to collect the money. They are to lose many things and face many problems for this dowry system. There are numerous evidences that the practice of dowry can have consequences that can be harmful and sometimes lethal for women. 

Dowry system is one of the worst evil cultures in this society. A dowry is a gift of money or valuables given by the bride’s family to the groom and the newly formed household at the time of their marriage.

Often the parents of the daughter are willing to provide large sum of money and expensive goods to make the future of their daughter a pleasant and secure one. In solvent families the family of the groom expects that the parents of the bride will willingly ‘gift’ the new couple with expensive goods which they can show off as a symbol of prestige and wealth. In all cases the lives of the young brides are at stake. They have to live in a hostile environment where they become the victims of physical, social, mental and psychological torture.

In Bangladesh: Bangladesh suffers from some evil culture and superstitions. Dowry system is one of the worst evil cultures in this society. It has been an ancient and widespread practice. This bad culture is found and practiced more or less in communities of the country. In some cases, parents borrow money on exorbitant rate of interest to marry their daughters and sisters and spend rest of their life in great misery. Every year many young women commit suicide or face physical torture after marriage because their parents cannot afford to give dowry. Day by day, marriage has become a kind of business and exploitation of the parents of a girl.

Causes of Dowry

•   Poverty is the main causes behind dowry because most of the people in Bangladeshi are poor.  They often take dowry to reduce their Poverty.
•   Because of the Illiteracy, most the people are unaware of effect of dowry.
•   Narrow mentality behind the dowry system.
•    Negative attitude towards the women
•   Lack of women’s Education in Families is the reason for giving dowry.
•   Lack of decision making power of women’s in family because in Bangladesh families are ruled by father .Because of that the position of woman in a family is much disagreed.
•   Women are less independent then men.In Bangladesh; most of the women are housewives and have less economic power to control the family. Because of dependency women become a burden in a family.
•   Some time bridegroom wants money to do business or want to make his life settle with that money.
•   In a town, people think that giving dowry in a marriage creating more status in society.
•   Women spend a good life in husband’s house if dowry paid in marriage.
•   In a village, most of the people think Dowry is their legal right which has to pay the daughter’s family in a marriage.
•   In a village, Poor parents consider any expenses for educating a girl unproductive as she leaves their family after marriage.
•   In the village if brides are not beautiful to look at or if they get late married then they are to give a lot of money as dowry to the bridegroom.
•   The giving of a dower seems to be an established Bangladeshi cultural institution. The wife is expected to bring suitable gifts (monetary or otherwise) with her to her new home or shoshurbari.
•   Dependence on husband and living on their income, social corruption and so on are the main causes of dowry.
Dowry in Islamic marriages:

In the Islamic marriage, the bride may bring “jihaz” (dowry) to the house. Contrary to the popular view that Islamic mahr is a dowry; it is not. Because the mahr is mandated by the Quran and is part or the Islamic Shari ‘a; the dowry is optional.
•   Jihaz (dowry) or trousseau is the amount of clothes, household linen, furniture and other belongings contributed by the bride and/or her family to the marriage. It has to be distinguished from the mahr, which is an agreement between the wali (guardian) of the bride and her future husband by which the groom pays certain sum of money or its equivalent to the bride at the signing of the marriage agreement. The mahr is an obligation on the groom stipulated by the Quran to be given to the future wife, while the jihaz is not an obligation on the part of the bride or her family.
•   The Jihaz is not the nafaqa (support) either, because nafaqa is the material support given by the husband to his wife as soon as the marriage is consummated. The nafaqa covers clothing, food and shelter of the wife. There is no obligation in the Islamic Shari ‘a to fulfill the jihaz, however, in most cases; brides bring such jihaz to their houses once they get married.
There is no provision in Islamic Shari’a that forbids the exercise of women’s right to contribute jihaz to their marriages. In fact, under Islamic law, married women have legal rights to share in family estate. They may own properties, or be named as beneficiaries of religious waqf (endowment) assets.

Effect of Dowry in economy and Daughter’s family:

More than 35 million people in Bangladesh, around a quarter of its population, face acute poverty and hunger. Dowry payments of more than 200 times the daily wage and costly medical expenses are major causes of this chronic poverty says research from the University of Bath. It is the poor who really suffer economically and socially as a result of the practice of dowry.
•   The custom of paying a dowry to the future husband's family when a daughter is married is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still practiced by most families living in rural areas. Payment is normally upwards from 20,000 Taka (around £190) and since typical earnings are only 100 Taka (94 pence) per day, this can be a major contributor to poverty for many families with daughters.
•   The trend of rising dowries, commonly referred to as “dowry inflation,” has received much attention, as payments can represent multiple years' worth of a family's income and often cause severe destitution of households with daughters of marriageable age.
•   Through this custom the bride has to give a large amount of money, furniture, ornaments and many things to the bridegroom. It is a very terrible situation for the society. Women & their family suffer a lot for this dowry system.
•   The money of dowry is often raised by the sale or mortgaging of land at low prices. It also includes livestock, trees, household goods and family jewelry and as well as loans from NGOs and moneylenders at high rates of interest.

Effect of dowry in women’s life:

Disputes over dowry payments have led to numerous cases of “dowry violence” against brides, resulting in injuries and even death.

•   There are many severe consequences resulting from the payment of dowries. First, failure to meet the dowry demands or the new demands often results in verbal and physical abuse of the wife. Physical abuse includes beating; burning with cigarettes, withholding foods, sleep deprivation and denial of medical treatment. The abuse may be meted out by the husband or members of his family, especially his mother. Verbal abuse may include starting rumors about the character or behavior of the wife and often the girls feel unable to disclose the situation to her parents. If the physical abuse continues and worsens, this may lead to the wife committing suicide.

•   Additionally, a common result of unmet dowry is sending the girl or woman back to her parent’s house. When this happens everyone considers that it must be the fault of the girl or woman saying such things as: “She could not adapt to her husband” or “She cannot look after her husband properly”. So, once again both the girl and her parents suffer from rumors and criticism. This also affects the reputation of the younger sisters.

•   Apart from the social stigma attached to the girls being returned to live with her parents there are other problems. Her brothers and their wives may resent her presence, particularly if she has brought children with her. She is seen as a drain on the household resources and may be verbally, and even physically, abused by her own family.

•   Dowry-related violence is particularly problematic in Bangladesh. A survey conducted by Naogaon Human Rights Development Associations (NHRDA) revealed that 84% percent of the cases it received in 2000 were dowry related wife battering cases. In 2001, 173 girls and women were killed due to dowry demand with 79 of these victims below the age of 18.

•   Repression of women for their inability to bring adequate or repeated installments of dowry from their poor parents and resultant deaths or grievous injuries is rather disquietingly frequent.

Other Effects of dowry:

•   It has become very difficult to find a suitable match for a girl without paying handsome dowry. It has soured the relations and there are tensions, ill will and disharmony in the families. Marriage has become a kind of business and exploitation of the parents of a girl. Thus, bridegrooms are bought and sold like commodities and the girls sacrificed on the altar of marriage.

•   It is a much-unexpected situation for the bride’s family members. They are to collect a huge amount of money for their daughters’ or sisters’ marriage. Sometime they are to take loan, sell their lands, furniture, ornaments and even their own house to collect the money. They are to lose many things and face many problems for this dowry system.

•   For this dowry system divorce, doing suicide, mental and physical tortures, number of broken family are increasing day by day. It is also affecting on the new generation. They cannot give attention in their education; can not contribute in any development activities. It hampers their mental development.

Steps against Dowry system in Bangladesh:

Dowry system is against the law of equality of men and women. It is a crime to give and take dowry. But these are openly violated. There are thousands of cases of dowry every year few offenders are actually punished. It shows that laws alone are not enough. Besides laws, we need more social awareness and effective social measures.

•   We should create a movement and strong public opinion against the system. The movement should be taken to villages and every nook and corner of the country.

•   More leaders, social groups, men and women should be involved in the movement against the evil. People who practice dowry system should be socially boycotted. Women organizations should hold demonstrations against such people.

•   The registration of marriage should be made compulsory. Young men and women should be made to take a pledge against the evil. Group and community marriages can also help in removing the evil.
•   The women should refuse to marry the men who demand dowry. More and more women should be encouraged to take employment and become economically independent. The percentage of literacy among girls and women is very low. This rate should be increased. More schools, colleges and training institution for women should be opened. There should be free education for women up to the university level. Spread of literacy and education among women can prove a great weapon against dowry.

•   The women themselves should come forward and fight against the practice of dowry. They should know their rights, privileges and strengths. They should stop thinking in terms of a weaker sex. They should revolt and expose dowry practitioners. They should stand on their own feet and fight for their rights.

•   The young men should frankly reject the demand for dowry from their parents. Demand for dowry reduces a party to a status of a beggar. The evil should be fought both on the levels of law and society. A very strong propaganda and movement are needed to eradicate the evil forever.

•   We should change our outlook, mentality by our Law rules. Narrow mentality of the greedy people should be changed and a hard punishment should be given to them.

•   But good thing is that, at present our Government is aware about it. Therefore this system is changing. In the past it was so high in our country. Now we have a law that who will give dowry and take dowry--- all will be known as a criminal.

 Other steps against Dowry:

•   Start practicing dowry prohibition in your family.
•   Educate the members of your family with the provisions of law – that demanding and accepting or giving dowry is an offense.
•   If in any family there is a growing dispute between the in-laws and the lady, try to intervene to sort out the differences and educate them about the evils of dowry system. If they fail to listen to you, please inform the jurisdictional police and counseling centers.
•   Provide support and shelter to the lady in distress. If you cannot, please contact the Women organizations who can provide support in such cases
•   Gather like-minded people who are fighting against this evil and gather public sympathy and support to ex-communicate the families where the evil persists
•   In case you have any suspicion of ill treatment of a lady in any house, immediately inform the local Police. Ladies in distress, generally avoid showing their resentment to ill-treatment till it reaches a dangerous point leading to their being burnt to death
•   Encourage women folk to raise their voice about their rights and to fight against dowry system.
It shows that only law is not enough to protect the women against injustice. It needs social awareness and effective measures.
•   The registration of marriage should be made compulsory.
•   The women and their parents should refuse the men who want dowry.
•   Men and women should promise against the dowry system.
•   We should create a movement and strong public opinion against the dowry system.
•   Besides, government and NGOs should be involved in the movement against the course.
•   People who practice dowry system should be socially boycotted.

Dowry is a very harmful system in our country .Because of dowry women are badly treated in their law’s house .Sometimes they are killed, injured, abused and so on. We should stop the system for our future success.
•   To stop this we should telecast the bad effects of dowry in mass media.
•   To increase social value, women’s education, reduce poverty and so on.
•   To ensure the legal action against dowry.

 If we ensure these steps, we can stop dowry in our country.