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Anissia Batra was allegedly harassed by her husband and in-laws over dowry, leading her to end her life. How long will the precious lives of our young women be sacrificed in this manner?
My mornings are usually marked by ‘Love’ and ‘Chaos’ which most mothers can relate to. As I cautiously tread through the scattered toys, tiptoeing bit by bit to grab my daily dose of headlines, I land on my son’s squeaky little toys, making the loudest noise possible and there he goes! (Though today was my lucky day as he woke up smiling, asking for his favourite fruit, apple, followed by a wholesome breakfast).
Yes, it was a blessing indeed as a full tummy leads to a happy baby and happy momma but I surely have to admit that these fortunate days are quite rare. Now, as my son settles down to play with the domestic helper, I quickly catch up for some very short-lived ‘me-time’. Nevertheless I’m in a state of constant conversation with my mind, balancing my responsibilities vis-a-vis some me time and how I miss all the frenzy in those 15 to 20 minutes. I must admit, the human mind is so complicated.
Talking about ‘human beings’ who are defined and distinguished from animals on the basis of having superior mental development, I somehow tend to question this very ‘development’ that differentiates us from animals. The newspapers routinely speak of incidents of violence, and the rape of infants, young, old women. So the question remains as to how are we even remotely ‘human’?
Recently Delhi based air hostess Anissia Batra committed suicide by jumping off the terrace of her residence. It is alleged that she was assailed by the pressures of dowry and subsequent mental as well as physical torture for it by her husband. Another precious life was lost.
This incident led me to question some of the most common practices as well as the mindset associated with dowry; dowry in India, as a tool and form of torture has existed since ‘time immemorial’ but what has been done to curb this in a concrete fashion? Why despite the laws is dowry still a menace in India? Where are we failing as individuals or to put it more precisely as ‘human beings’?
Dowry is glorified and in some parts, associated with prestige, no matter how educated a woman is. Marriage is certainly considered as the ‘be all and end all of life’ even if it remains abusive and a solution to all the miseries, not to forget 30 being considered as the most dreadful deadline of marriage. If the groom’s parents are responsible for demanding dowry, the bride’s parents are equally responsible for offering one or even giving into the pressures of expensive commodities as gifts. At the time of marriage the value of a woman is reduced to dark, wheatish, fair, tall, short, fat or thin no matter how educated and successful she is! It is in fact criminal to even think that expensive gifts will ensure your daughter’s safety as well as happiness.
Have the laws failed or we have failed the laws? We have been told to raise strong daughters but it is also time to raise some strong parents who don’t treat their daughters as liabilities and think their responsibilities are finished once they marry off their daughters. We need parents who can smash the societal shackles because it is time for the cracks to seep in deep, to shatter the norms. It’s time to raise some sensitive men who will value a woman for herself, not for what she can get as a dowry for the prospective groom.
It’s about time to give a piece of your mind to all those nagging aunties and uncles who create undue pressure to marry once you reach the ‘dreaded’ 30. Marriage is an important decision that will impact you for a lifetime, so think before you leap, without succumbing to pressures. Be strong, talk & seek help – and don’t even think of ending your life because your life is precious, you are precious.
Image via Pixabay
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A passionate advocate of women's rights.
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