Functional Background Of The Pratice Of Dowry Sociology Essay

India is a patrilineal and patriarchal society. Work force are regarded as determination shapers and fore-runners for any attempts at development or advancement. Clouded by misinterpreted beliefs and rites of Hinduism every bit good as patriarchal norms, Indian society subjected their adult females to sculpt atrociousnesss, frequently for no mistake of their ain. It was possibly merely after intercession of the British ; that some citizens woke up to the world of the atrociousnesss faced by adult females: widowed, married, immature and old.

The pattern of Dowry was one such usage. The usage of dowery day of the months back to 3000 BC. Dowry refers to money, goods, or properness that a adult female brings into the marriage- it is paid by the bride ‘s household to the groom ‘s household. Another construct related to dowry is ‘bride monetary value ‘ considered to be the payment a groom owes the bride ‘s parents for the right to her labor and generative capablenesss, a dealing affecting bride-wealth occurs when the bridegroom and his household transportation belongings to the bride ‘s family. The pattern was characteristic of autochthonal, crude and mobile communities. Harmonizing to assorted historical histories, the pattern of bride monetary value was practiced in many parts of the universe including: Mexico, autochthonal parts of the United States, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Brazil among other states during assorted different times in the yesteryear. The pattern of dowery was carried out in states like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Vietnam. The pattern of Dowry is still prevalent in most of these states.

Over the old ages, this pattern in India has taken the signifier of a beginning of grave atrociousnesss towards adult females. Many times, this job does non impact the adult female entirely, but her household every bit good. The Government has made attempts to control atrociousnesss related to the pattern of Dowry. The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 is on such attempt. However the dowery related force is still rampant and frequently goes unreported. On an mean one Indian adult female commits suicide every four hours over a dowry difference, as per functionary informations, despite the attempts being made to authorise them.

Historical and Functional Background of the Practice

As aforementioned, the pattern of dowery is profoundly rooted in history. There are sociological every bit good as functional facets that gave rise to this pattern.

The historical/sociological facet

From historical cogent evidence nowadays in many literary histories based on India, we know that Ancient Indian society was really non oppressive towards adult females. On the other manus society really held adult females with high regard. Many powerful forces of nature and Supreme beings were depicted and believed to be manifested in female signifier. We hear aboutA SwayamvarA in the ancient Hindu matrimony traditions where it was the bride who decided whom to get married.

In the pre-colonial period, dowery was an establishment managed by adult females, for adult females, to enable them to set up their position and have recourse in an emergency.A In this ancient system of dowery, the parents of the bride gave wealth to her in the signifier of valuable gifts etc. It was merely like how parents used to give a portion of wealth to their boies as heritage in the same manner, parents gave inherited wealth to their girl at the clip of their nuptials.

It was merely towards the terminal of the colonial regulation in India, that the pattern of dowery started transforming into a threat. Till that clip, the construct of ownership of private belongings was non really prevailing in India. The land ever belonged to the authorities and people merely settled in the authorities ‘s land. Land was given an of import position in footings of wealth. This sowed seeds of greed in a society that was otherwise really communal in nature. The British besides brought about alterations in these societal norms and these affected the position of adult females greatly. The move which affected the position of the adult females in the Indian society was the regulation imposed by the British which prohibited the adult females from having any belongings at all.

It was merely every bit late as in 2005, when the Hindu Torahs were amended once more, now supplying adult females equal position with work forces in footings of hereditary belongings.

The functional facet

Many bookmans are of the sentiment that dowery has economic maps and is a manner of redistributing belongings. Involving the transmittal of belongings, dowry as monetary value is basically an economic exchange between the bride-giver and bride-taker.A Dowry may besides be seen as a manner improve the public assistance of brides by functioning as a signifier of pre-mortem heritage. As a married woman ‘s dowery can represent to what is necessary for the twosome to get down their connubial unit, it can assist to better the married woman ‘s bargaining power in the matrimonial family.

However this pattern has been misinterpreted over time.A The monetary value theoretical account positions dowry as an instrument whereby parents of girls unafraid confederations with high-quality in-laws ( Arunachalam and Logan, 2008 ) . Dowries are considered as chances for girls to pull resourceful work forces and means to guarantee a better hereafter for one ‘s girl and to heighten one ‘s ain prestigiousness in the community. In this manner, dowery is a gift for confederation and non a matrimony payment. Although dowery does non affect a transportation that is provided in exchange for a transportation of rights between households, there is the necessary intension that something is expected to be obtained in return for the dowery ( Bell, 1998 ) .A

Divya Pal ( Roll No. 63 )


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Legislation Against Dowry

The Dowry Prohibition Act passed on 20th may 1961 was the first effort by the Indian authorities to acknowledge and control the societal immorality of dowery. It was modified with the Dowry Prohibition ( Amendment ) Act of 1984 which was further modified with the Dowry Prohibition Bill of 1986.

The Act stated that “ any belongings or valuable security given or agreed to be given straight or indirectly by one party to the other party to the matrimony or by the parents of either party to a matrimony or by any other individual to either party to the matrimony or to any other individual at or before in connexion with the matrimony of the said parties. ”

The amendment of 1984 did non run into the outlooks of the people, more specifically feminist groups. But, it made giving and taking dowry a knowable offense and empowered public assistance organisations to register a ailment. The 1986 amendment strengthened the authorities ‘s offense against dowery as it included dowry deceases in the list of offenses in Indian Penal Code.

Harmonizing to the jurisprudence, dowery is a knowable and non-bailable offense. The minimal penalty for dowery is 5 old ages imprisonment and a minimal Rs.15, 000 mulct. The penalty for demand of dowery is imprisonment of at least 6 months and a minimal mulct of 10, 000.

The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 farther stated that dowery taken earlier, at the clip or after matrimony must be handed over to the miss within three months of taking it. If dowery was taken when the miss was a minor, it needs to be handed over within three months of her turning 18. It is of import to keep two or more lists of gifts given and received at the clip of the nuptials. These require the signature of the bride and groom or a close comparative if the state of affairs arises.

Certain other important facets of the jurisprudence is that it considers giving, taking, assisting in giving or taking, inquiring and publicizing dowery as an offense.

In order to forbid the pattern of dowery, a set of Torahs have been included in the Indian Penal Code:

Section 304B of IPC:

When a adult female dies due to Burnss or bodily hurts within seven old ages of her matrimony and fortunes show that before her decease she was subjected to cruelty or torment by her hubby or his comparative for any demand of dowery, such a decease shall be called ‘dowry decease ‘ and the hubby and the relations shall be presumed to hold caused her decease.

Under this subdivision, whoever causes a dowry decease shall be punished with imprisonment for non less than seven old ages, which may widen to imprisonment for life.

Section 113A of Indian Evidence Act:

If the inquiry of abettal at the custodies of a adult female ‘s hubby or any of his relations rises and it is shown that she has committed suicide within a period of seven old ages from the day of the month of her matrimony and that her hubby and his relations have subjected her to inhuman treatment, the Court may assume, holding respect to all the other fortunes of the instance, that such a self-destruction has been abetted by the hubby or his relations.

Cruelty ( Knowable, Non-bailable )

Section 498A of IPC: When a adult female ‘s hubby or his relations subject her to inhuman treatment, they shall be punished with imprisonment ( which may widen to three old ages ) and shall be apt to ticket.

Definition Of Cruelty Under This Section:

aˆ? Any knowing behavior of the hubby or his comparative that is likely to coerce the adult female to perpetrate self-destruction or to do serious hurt to her life or wellness ( whether physical or mental or both ) .

aˆ? Harassing the adult female with the purpose of coercing her or any individual related to her to run into the improper demand for any belongings or valuable goods, or on history of failure to run into such demands made by the hubby or his relations.

Defects In The Laws

“ Any belongings or valuable security given or agreed to be given straight or indirectly by one party to the other party to the matrimony or by the parents of either party to a matrimony or by any other individual to either party to the matrimony or to any other individual at or before ( or any other clip after the matrimony ) in connexion with the matrimony of the said parties. ”

The jurisprudence allows ‘gifts ‘ but does non let ‘dowry ‘ . The jurisprudence implies that gifts are voluntary whereas dowery is nonvoluntary

The nowadayss to the groom should non be of ‘excessive ‘ value and should maintain in head the fiscal position of the individual, who or on whose behalf the gifts are being given. But in world, this does non keep true.


Bride-burning is a type of domestic force that involves the violent death of a bride due to her refusal or inability to carry through the dowery demands of her hubby and his relations. It by and large involves put outing the victim with kerosine and puting her alight. Ironically people today have come to make “ faster and safer ” means to accomplish their terminals.

Rakesh Bedi of The Telegraph reported on 27th Feb, 2012 which stated that “ in 2010, 8391 dowery decease instances were reported across India, intending a bride was burned every 90 proceedingss, harmonizing to statistics late released by the National Crime Records Bureau. A decennary earlier this figure was 6995, but climbed to 8093 dowery deceases in 2007. ”

Himendra Thakur in his aricle in 1999 wrote, ” Years ago, Rabindranath Tagore summed it up as: Desh mrinmoy noi, desh chinmoy The state is non a ball of Earth: it is a saga of consciousness. Without the scruples of our people, this consciousness will melt. We must bestir ourselves to the day-to-day indignities that surround us. “ ( )


Stridhan can be explained as that part of a adult female ‘s wealth over which she entirely has the power to sell, gift, mortgage, rental or exchange – whole or in parts. It comes from two words Stri-woman and dhan-wealth. This wealth is a adult females ‘s sole belongings. Other than the decorations and trousseau given at the clip of matrimony, stridhan is inclusive of gifts of money, belongings, jewelry and other touchable assets which the adult female receives before, during and after matrimony from her household and her hubby ‘s household. A adult female could have stridhan in her capacity as a girl, daughter-in-law, sister and married woman.

Traditionally, stridhan was supposed to supply a certain sum of economic security to a adult female in instance of divorce, widowhood, etc. Besides, it was supposed to let some heritage to the girl of the family as she did non hold the right to equal heritage like the boy. However, this was taken attention of ( on paper ) after the amendment of the Hindu Succession Act, 2005 which gave equal rights of heritage to the girl and boy.

Stridhan has caused a batch of argument in society. Most nuptialss are declarative of stridhan ‘going with the bride ‘ instead so ‘to the bride. ‘ However, playing Satan ‘s advocator, it must be pointed out that Stridhan consists of consumable goods that can non be put aside by the bride for her exclusive usage. Another issue that brings out changing sentiments is the component of extortion in Stridhan. It is expected to beef up a adult females ‘s place, but it can besides be used as come-on that influences the behavior of the in-laws towards a adult female. Another issue that raises uncertainties about the intent of stridhan is the ownership of the stridhan. Stridhan is supposed to be in the ownership of the adult female as per the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, but real-life cases throw visible radiation on a really different world. Personal experiences have shown that an immediate deliberation of the bride and her parents followed by a speedy sedimentation of the bride ‘s stridhan in the mother-in-law ‘s cabinet really closely follows the bride ‘s entry into the house.

“ At a Bengal Hindu nuptials, the establishment of tattwa – the formal show of gifts between the get marrieding households ne’er fails to turn my tummy. It is a rare nuptials where pride of topographic point is non occupied by a roomful of cellophane-wrapped trays of apparels for the twosome, apparels for a broad circle of relations, linen, houseware, make-up, Sweets, spices, fishaˆ¦I even saw a container of Glenlivet individual malt as portion of a recent show! It is possible to engage a professional tattwa interior decorator these yearss to do this show of ‘artistic ‘ vesture shaped into antic silhouettes ; bamboo or Styrofoam sculptures ; jewel-like accessories. Peoples necessarily hasten to state me that I am misreading tattwa as ‘dowry ‘ in the same sense as ‘dowry deceases ‘ : as opposed to that awful greedy and mercenary material, this phenomenon is cast as an reliable jubilation of cultural traditions, a cardinal constituent of marrying ceremonials ” , writes Shrimati Basu in her paper on ‘Politics of Giving: Dowry and Inheritance as Feminist Issue. ‘ ( )

Why is it that imposts do n’t function the intent they are expected to? How is it that adult male manages to tweak them in such a mode that their end of being is defeated? Stridhan was expected to supply some economic backup in instance of socio-economic perturbation in the adult female ‘s household life, but alternatively of making that, it has become a step on which her intervention is dependent.

On a more positive note, Stridhan has begun to function its intent as households are get downing to esteem a bride ‘s right to security. Along the same lines, brides excessively have begun to take a base and oppose any kind of misdoing against them.

Nandita Palrecha ( Roll No. 64 ) & A ; Rakesh Paswan ( Roll No. 65 )


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