No Country For Daughters Where Parents Are Equal Partners In Dowry Deaths

Hearing all the horror stories of dowry deaths won't prevent parents from marrying off their daughters at an early age without making her self-dependent first, or giving dowry.

Let us look at a common scenario that keeps repeating over and over again in this country.

A girl, the firstborn of three sisters and a brother, from a lower middle class family is married off at a tender age of nineteen. Her parents pay dowry to the satisfaction of the family of the bridegroom. Still, the in-laws starts abusing her almost immediately after the wedding.

She is allowed to meet her parents only on rare occasions subject to meeting some more demands. Situation worsens after she gives birth to two daughters at an interval of two years. Parents threaten the son-in-law saying they would report to police and he assures them of mending his ways that never happens.

The parents never consider taking her back.

When she becomes pregnant for the third time, sex determination is carried out which predicts birth of another girl child. She is forced to undergo medical termination of pregnancy by an unqualified person to do the job. The process goes wrong and she expires. On receiving the news the aggrieved parents reports to police and seek justice for their daughter.

Why is this happening over and over again in this country?

Sounds familiar? Yes, it just keeps repeating with sickening frequency. With just a little twist of plot here and there. May be instead of botched MTP, it is suspicious bursting of kerosene stove. Maybe instead of third daughter, it is about unmet demand for a vehicle.

We condemn the groom and the family; shed tears with the family of the girl. The groom and / or the family are arrested.

Whether it leads ultimately to conviction we are seldom aware as by that time another incident catches our attention.

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What’s new? Why am I playing the old record and wasting everyone’s time?

When will this horrifying cycle of society accepted abuse stop?

Yes, we must keep trying to eliminate these evils from the society. The poor woman should get justice.

But do her parents have moral right to seek justice? They would rather pay dowry than to invest in her education. Hearing all the horror stories of dowry deaths will not prevent them from marrying off their daughters at an early age without making her self-dependent first. They will keep meeting the ever-increasing demand from the family of the groom and keep advising the daughter to adjust. Even with the evidence of physical abuse (who cares about psychological abuse to a mere woman), they will not bring her back to her parental home. Even if she gets desperate and comes begging for shelter she will be counseled to go back as that is supposed to be her home now even if it is a living hell.

After all what the society will say? Who will marry the younger sisters? Her life cannot be more precious than the family honour, can it?

Yet, once she finally looses her life in some cases, the same parents will cry fowl and seek justice. Then they will lament about all the torture she had to endure. Is it not worse than death to live in constant apprehension of abuse? Can’t they feel her agony when she is still alive? Must she pay with her life to get justice?

I cannot understand the sudden seeking of justice of these parents. Rather I feel they are equally responsible for the perpetuation of these social evils. I say they are equal partners in the crime of killing of these young girls!

Image source: a still from the series Made In Heaven season 1

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About the Author

Purabi Chowdhury

A Chemical Engineer by qualification I have recently opted for early retirement from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, a Central Govt PSU, after putting in thirty years of service to pursue my passion for travelling read more...

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