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Dowry – A curse

“It was all perfect, I was really happy and blessed to start a new life. I liked that guy but never knew his family would turn like this. It was all good until the day of my marriage when It happened!” narrated by a girl whose dreams were shattered into pieces because of DOWRY.

Dowry is a common custom in Pakistan where the bride is given a certain amount of wealth from her family at the time of marriage. It is the most prevailing issue in Pakistan where Bride’s family are burdened to give dowry to their child regardless of their social status. Brides are often treated on the amount of dowries they have brought from their homes.
Dowry has been a reason for many deaths and delays in marriages. There are many cases reported in Pakistan where it is the major cause of murders. This system is so badly entrenched in Pakistani culture that people have associated it as an essential of wedding.
There are many rebuttals on dowry. People often say that it is a gift from bride’s family to help the new couple in their married life. Some people argue that it is a safe guard for bride’s marital affairs. However, it has many drawbacks. People often judge brides based on their dowries. Brides are tortured and beaten up for less items in dowries. Also, families are forced to give dowries at the time of marriages which shows the dark side of our society. The major problem is not the dowry but the mindset of people who are unaware and consider it as an essential and their Izzat (a matter of respect). People need to understand that materialistic things do not help in a relationship.
According to current status around 95% of weddings in Pakistan have dowries in them. Ironically, in rural areas dowry is the reason of delayed marriages. Parents of a daughter are worried for her dowry from the day she is born so that she could lead a better life after marriage. It is also a major reason behind domestic violence. Brides who took less dowry with them are domestically abused by their husbands and based on the mindset of society; brides tolerate this behavior because they consider themselves on fault.
The average value of gold given to brides in marriages in Pakistan is of Rs. 75000 and it is shocking but the electronic essentials and furniture on average costs more than gold. It costs around Rs. 136190 despites of the fact that each item on average has a lower value than that of gold.
“My father is working really hard for my marriage and I don’t want to see him in this situation. I don’t want to be a burden on him. My previous marriage was cancelled because the Jahez my father collected was not enough for groom’s family so this time my father is working to get all things. It hurts me.” Stated by a victim of dowry.
In Pakistan, every year around 2000 deaths take place because of dowry and it is increasing with a rate of 2.4 per year. This culture needs to end. If it is looked from a religious perspective, in Islam there is no such concept of dowry. However, it is duty of a husband to pay Mehr to his wife. It is sad to see that dowry exists in countries like Pakistan which turns daughters into a liability.
Daughters are God’s beautiful creation they are most precious which a father is handing over to a new family. The emotions attached to it are worth more than these materialistic things.
A campaign was started in Pakistan earlier in 2018 naming it as “Jahez Khori Band Karo” which was on hype on social media for months. Various celebrities and influencers came forward and joined hands for this campaign. However, no prior action was taken and no law has been passed yet on the ban of Dowry in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan’s Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill, 2008, dowry has been restricted to Rs. 30,000 and entire gifts value to a bride is limited to Rs. 50000. Also, it is illegal for a groom’s family to demand dowry from bride. However, the real face of the society is other way around.
This is an increasing trend which Is taking lives. People need to understand that it is the high time and this trend needs to be stopped. Marriages are not anonymous of burdens and debts. It is a new phase of life and a cursed thing like ‘dowry’ shall not be involved in it. We can bring the change, instead of feeding these greedy people with their desired objects. We shall raise our voice and completely eradicate it from our society so no other family suffers from it. Also, we need to educate people around us and make them aware of this curse.

By Karishma Feroz

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