Mumbai: Marriage is generally billed to be a sort of institution that has high stake of significance in Indian culture. But in this materialistic era, persons could stoop so low that they have made it a money minting system. Parents try to fulfill every lavish demand of groom side with a hope to see their daughter happy.  The expensive wedding celebrations and heavy dowry demands end up making brides’ lives miserable and ruining their families. The marriage has turned into a business, with no value and feelings that cement the bonds between two families.

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This is exactly what Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan tried to highlight in the thirds episode of his TV show Satyamev Jayate. He dealt with the ill-effects of dowry and speaking up against the social injustice that women across the nation irrespective of financial position have to tolerate over the decades. Though dowry and women is not a new topic of discussion on television but the way Aamir presented, it really deserves kudos. In spite of showing the horrifying and heart wrenching image of women burnt for dowry he dealt with the issue with a positive approach. After the introduction of the problem, the victims of this malpractice came and shared their experience with Aamir.

This particular episode tried to shed light on the fact that irrespective of social strata and financial condition every woman is facing ill-effects of this age old custom, dowry. In order to support this fact the show included women from metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai who depicted their horrifying stories of mental torture and physical abuse they went through along with women from remote areas of Bihar and Maharashtra.

Delhi girl Komal Sethi’s parents spent almost sixty lakhs on her wedding. Since her marriage she had been tortured by her husband for more dowry.  She had been abandoned by her husband and was half dead in a foreign country before help finally came for her. Another heart wrenching story was of Madurai-based lecturer , Nishana who committed suicide after enduring verbal abuse, physical torture from her husband and in-laws for a long time.

Paramjeet Kaur’s marriage ended in betrayal of her husband who took 15 lakh rupees from her family for further study in Australia. Paramjeet’s family could never meet the demand of their daughter’s in-lawas and husband. Paramjeet’s in-laws had been harassing her family constantly for more dowry. With no choice left she had to come back to her family being tortured by her in-laws in Jalandhar. Now, her husband is demanding a divorce and wants to get the procedure done online.

Surprisingly, amidst those women and their heart- wrenching experiences there was a man, Santosh from Bihar who also had a story to share with audiences. Santosh Kumar was the victim of Pakadwa Byah”, an age old practice in Bihar where the brides’ sides kidnap the groom and compel them to marry their daughter. The perception behind force marriage is to avoid the travesty of dowry. Though the story of Santosh evoked laugh, one can’t ignore the desperation of brides’ parents which leads them to take such unusual measure to marry off their daughters.

The show included with an inspirational story, that of Mumbai’s Rani Tripathi. Belonging to a middle class family, Rani, fought all-odds to have a non-dowry marriage for her.
Instead of fulfilling the demand s of her would be in-laws she organized a sting operation and exposed them to the media. Unlike other parents her family members were standing by Rani through thick and thin and supported her decision to get marry someone  who wouldn’t ask for any dowry. Now Rani is happily married with Pawan Tripathi who loves her courage and sent a proposal of marriage to Rani after seeing her on television.

There were people from remote villages and cities who are against the custom of dowry. There were certain communities in those areas who marry off their daughters in very simple manner, without much pomp and show and most importantly, no dowry was offered. People belonging to the North-Eastern states also claimed that the custom of dowry is not prevalent in their society. More interestingly, they were alien to this custom. The story of Rani and absence of dowry system in North Eastern states set an example before everyone of us.

The above mentioned instances send a message toward our society that its every member should rise against this custom and say no to it. The final message was: the laws are in place, now it is up to the men and women of the country to find their voice, speak up, do the right thing and say no to dowry.
Last but not the least, we should always remember Aamir’s message that marriage is a union of two souls and not a business transaction as if the barter is allowed to continue, it is bound to hurt the sentiments of women in our society.


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