Why do working women insist on taking dowry?

All grown up and married!

Image: Marian. Published under this creative commons license.

The title should have been, ‘Why do working women and (working) men marrying them, insist on taking dowry’. But since this title is too long, it has been shortened.

It seems in India we are hell-bent on not following laws made by our own elected representatives. Do we have a dictatorship? No. So, we are making laws ourselves and we are so happy to break them! What kind of attitude is this and why do we make laws that we know almost everyone are going to break?

It is my understanding that giving/taking dowry is a social malpractice and it is unlawful. Please correct me if I am wrong. In spite of this, even (and especially) in cities, we see dowry being given by the girls side to the boys side. It’s no secret. People do it brazenly and openly. Some marriages even have a special (locked) dowry display room with large windows so that everyone can see what is being given!!

I don’t know what socio-economic factors compel this practice in villages (as I have not lived in one), but I just fail to understand why this practice is prevalent in cities and why educated people (both parents, sons/daughters) show their utmost patronage to this nonsense of a system?

Think about this – Boys and girls are given good education in cities. Both complete professional degrees or at least they have arts degrees. So, the amount of money spent on upbringing sons and daughters is almost the same. With a degree in hand, getting a job is not a big challenge in cities. And many women work and earn more than men.

All these things have changed according to the times. But one practice remains brazenly unchanged – Giving and taking dowry! I am surprised at the enthusiasm shown by both the involved parties (boys and girls) in looting as much as possible from the girls parents and then disrespecting them in their old age.

I can even show some consideration in case of women who are not college educated and don’t work (Even then I don’t think dowry is right). But how can women who stand in their own legs (earn sufficiently) before marriage agree to be insulted with a hefty (and often demanded) dowry? There is also a third category – people who study a lot (read: spend astronomical quantities of fathers money on their education), do not work anywhere and then expect a hefty dowry too.

Let us focus on the middle category for now. It’s quite obvious that these people do not require any support system (especially in the form of dowry) to live. Both the partners are working and they earn a considerable amount of money. Why can’t such people wait for some more years and then take the jewels when the property is being divided (after the death of both the parents)? Why can’t such people earn their own money to buy their car?

Why do such youngsters show absolutely no concern when dowry talks are going on? But the same people jump up and down when dowry harassment happens! Worse, why are youngsters so eager to know how much jewels they will be getting and what model, color and length of the car they are going to get?

I challenge any of my women commenter’s (who were working before their marriage) to say in the comments (truthfully) that they did not accept any dowry while getting married. Shame on men who take cars/other expensive items as dowry. I wonder if these men have any self-respect? I also challenge men (who were in a good economic situation when they got married) to say that they did not accept any expensive gift during their marriage.

I want to know if there are any self-respecting people among us. Of course, you can exercise your right not to comment. It’s perfectly legal.

Destination Infinity

PS: Only hypocrites will comment like, ‘Boy’s side insist. They pressure. They threaten. What do to. We are helpless. We are a like a small baby while getting married’, etc.

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33 Replies to “Why do working women insist on taking dowry?”

  1. Everything has become business and only the car has been added lately on the list of dowry. People have to realize that things never going to support anything unless the couple are mutually understood and love each other. I think if the boy decides he can stop this practice and when it comes to love marriages the prior to dowry has been given up or left to the interest of girl’s parent to give or not.

      1. It happens in love cum arranged marriages.
        The worst thing is the mentality. One of my colleague said this “If you do love marriage, you will not get respect from girl’s parents and relatives. They will say ‘even giving girl to you is a big thing. So don’t ask dowry'”. For some people money is primary. Love comes second. May be third or some n th priority.

  2. Let me tell you, I was working and my hubby was also working and I got married with just one luggage in my hand – 11 dresses including the one I was wearing. Right from a needle in my house to car is what we have purchased slowly and steadily with our money. And this is not to boast about the fact but to affirm that change is happening and there are couples who are braking the mold.

    1. fair enough Jas .. but then how many out there can boast of what you have done ..
      When I came to uk I borrowed a 1000pounds from my dad and I returned that the moment I got my first job.. and since then all i have is also what i have or could do .. But then with me 10 others came and most of them still expect the parents to send money for them here 🙂

      the problem is the number of people who according to me are doing the right thing are less, that needs to increase to make the table turn in our favours .. if you know what I mean ..

      I mean in india it is still kids live in their parents house , almost all my friends live in the house that was built by their father or grand father.. they cant call it their own .. I can say this is my house .. because i bought it ..

      and i always told you , you are a gem of a person 🙂

      1. I know Bikram the number is less but it is increasing. You did it, I did it and might be many more we don’t know of. So what I mean is there is hope 🙂

  3. I think we need to bring in the culture that when kids grow to 18years old , they should get out of the father’s house and go and earn a living on their own.

    when they get out , and make their own place thats when things will change .. when a child is born and his parents are well off , he has nothing to worry about ..

    here in uk parents help as much but the kids take their own loans to study and work .. it teaches them the way of life .. the young people in our country have it easy , I will say.

  4. Nice post. Very well written. We had a different problem. When my parents were looking for a bride for my brother, we insisted that we do not want any dowry. That got backfired because the girl’s parents began to think that there was something wrong with the groom. May be he was already married. May he has some unknown disease. Etc.

    1. The behaviour of girl’s parents on the issue of dowry and their urge to give dowry used to startle me. Fortunately I was not your brother, that’s all I can say.

      Destination Infinity

  5. A nice hardhitting article on a theme that begs urgent attention – a social awakening that must come from within the participants. It is articles like these that do bring-in the change.
    Thanks & cheers 🙂

    1. Actions, not articles bring in change. I think the Indian youth suffer from sheer lack of grit and guts.

      Destination Infinity

  6. Even I don’t understand why boy’s side take dowries when the girl is working in multi national companies like their sons! But the girl’s parents say it is our tradition to give. But the boy can ask them to put the money in girl’s name in the bank!

    No dowry is given or taken in my mother’s side. My husband did’t take anything from us. He was reluctant to accept even dress material from my father!

    Though dowry taking is not open, some comments come out if it is not given!

    Very good post, D.I.

    1. The concept of keeping certain traditions (that suit people) and doing away with most of the traditions according to the modern times, startles me.

      Why should girl’s parents put money in their daughters name? If anything, the daughter should give her parents some money every month for all the expenditures they incurred, for so many years.

      Destination Infinity

  7. yes it is not legal
    but still we are following and people feel proud about that and proudly say i gave car to by son in law
    one reason for failure is no political will and ledership

    1. Whatever political leaders can do, they have already done by bringing up laws against dowry. If people will not follow it, what can the political leaders or even enforcers do? Only when instances of dowry are brought to their notice, enforcers can act…

      Destination Infinity

  8. My parents, thought are conservative in all other regards, are against dowry. Thank god. I even mentioned in my matrimonial profile, “boys those who expect dowry, please excuse”.

    1. We have done away with so many unnecessary traditions. But since this practice is benefiting certain people, it is still continuing. It’s high time it is shown the door.

      Destination Infinity

  9. I didn’t, and I stood up against the custom too. Like you, I have seen men and woman happy( and even eager) to take dowry. The way I see it, its become a status symbol. People are actually proud of the dowry given/taken rather than ashamed of the practice. And that, I think is the reason that the shameful practice still flourishes.

    1. People considering Dowry as a status symbol is a valid point. But this is an expensive status symbol that can (potentially) drench the girl’s parents deep into debt.

      Destination Infinity

  10. This is to do with awareness and enlightened in society and laws cannot change people’s mind-sets. In India we have so much of street and public molestation, female infanticide, wife beating and other crimes against women. Laws are there, but these things go on. I am proud to say that I belong to a family where even my grandfather did not take dowry from my mother’s father and this was a half century ago! There were no such laws then. Ofcourse laws are necessary because they put fear into people and there are some who will not do it out of fear of getting caught. If our laws were strictly implemented (no bribes, and and efficient justice system) then we would have far less of dowry taking or overall less corruption and crime. In this case only a small percentage of evil people would continue to commit crimes.

    1. I agree on the requirement for stricter anti-dowry laws and implementation. But the lack of awareness and the disrespect for this particular law is shocking!

      Most of the marriages workout an dowry-agreement between the two parties (in the beginning itself) and hence no one complains or wants to complain!

      Destination Infinity

  11. boys who do not believe in themselves, boys who are scared and can only survive on girl’s dad’s money, parents who feel their sons are good for nothing only ask for dowry .. rest knows their worth and only takes the girl not the money !

    mine is a love marriage .. i am from Punjab and my wife is Marathi .. my family never asked for any dowry .. and i feel proud of having such mom dad..!

  12. We didn’t when we got married and saved and bought everything in the house. We didn’t when our son got married and he set up house on his own. It is the hypocrites who cite tradition as the reason and spend a lot of money to keep up false prestige. But today the trend is changing albeit slowly. I agree that many girls keep quiet even if they don’t protest the giving of dowry.

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