What triggered the resolution on dowry?
Last week, when I saw the video of a young girl commit suicide by jumping in front of a Metro train because of dowry harassment, I asked myself, ‘what can I do as a politician’? As an individual, if we just start avoiding weddings where dowry is exchanged or lavish arrangements are made, it would send a strong message. I know a family which had to sell their ancestral house to afford a hefty dowry and a lavish wedding, but the girl came back to her parents’ house a year later as her husband’s family kept asking for more….
Several legislators, including me, regularly receive complaints about dowry harassment in our constituencies. I have learnt that in our country, there is one dowry death every 20 minutes… it was high-time that we raised this issue.
Legislators pledged today that they will not attend any wedding where dowry is exchanged or a lavish wedding is imposed on the bride’s family. How will this resolution make a difference?
This will send a strong message to the people who have elected us. They look up to us as role models. It is not that those involved in the give and take of dowry are happy about it. They too are pained by the practice but give in to societal pressures. Today, AAP MLA Alka Lamba too shared her experience of being a victim of this practice. She said she had also been harassed for dowry and now stands as a single parent of a son. Lamba said that at least for her son’s wedding, she will not let the practice continue. Several other MLAs also took similar pledges… This is a welcome move and will set a good precedent.
Will the government step in and take any measures?
I think we should start rewarding simple marriages. Maybe the Ministry of Culture can come up with some way of organising mass marriages for the socially disadvantaged as suggested by Lamba today. It is a great idea and can be implemented. We could hold awareness camps and reward and recognise those who hold simple marriages minus all the ostentation. Dowry is a big problem and we have been meeting several women and their families who are suffering a lot financially, physically and emotionally.