DOWRY SYSTEM IN NEPAL
Dowry system is a practice of giving money or property or some kinds of special gifts at the marriage of a daughter by the father (sister by the brother) to bridegroom or bridegroom’s family. Generally, dowry includes the cash payment, jewels of diamond, gold or silver, electrical appliances, furniture items, bedding, chair, table, land, utensils and other household products which help the newly married couple to set up her home. Dowry is known as ‘Daijo’ in Nepali and ‘Dahej’ in Hindi, Maithili, Bhojpuri language. It is a social dangerous evil of our country Nepal. It is mainly common in Terai Madhesh region, a southern part of Nepal but now it is spreading to other parts of the country instead of being solved. Dowry system is social evils prevailing in Nepal.
Social problems and evils are unwanted activities of the society. The unwanted, immoral and violent actions are more specifically, social problems and the wrong practice of traditional notions is social evil. But both problems and evils are kept under the same basket despite their fundamental differences. Anyway both are undesired activities which create hindrance in social progress and prosperity. Every society suffers from social problems and evils, It is simply the matter of degree as some societies suffer more from them and some societies less. The societies of developing countries are affected more than the developed country societies. So far as Nepalese societies are concerned, the dowry is the main social problems.
Every society suffers from social problems as it is evolved along with human civilization. It is simply the matter of more or less. As far as possible, we should toy at our fullest to minimize the effects for this. Firstly, we should find out the root cause of the social problem and then we need to move a head rationally. After identifying the causes, we should see how the national policies and laws are, in order to know whether they promote discrimination or not. Right after the promulgation of Interim Constitution – 2063, some discriminatory laws have been amended and some are on pipeline to be amended through Constituent Assembly. In course of moving ahead to solve social problems changing our rudimentary mentality is the supreme factor.
The money or property given to groom from bride’s side during a wedding is known as dowry. Money or property given to the daughter at her marriage is called dowry. Although this is malpractice is deeply rooted in the Terai it has been practised throughout the country in the passage of time. Dowry system is very common in the Terai region but is spreading to other parts of the country as well. This has created a great problem in the society and has caused the marriage of girls in many families difficult. This dowry system has affected our society very badly and seriously. Dowry deaths are occurring day by day in our society. Many daughters-in-law and wives are physically and mentally tortured due to the lack of dowry. This system has made fun of equality of women.
If the bride fails to bring enough dowry, she is tortured mentally, physically and sexually. Even there are reports in the news that she is burnt alive. We frequently hear the news of torture by the in-laws to the daughters-in- law. Sometimes women lose their lives due to the lack of dowry. In the lack of dowry, many girls have committed suicide and many foetuses have been aborted or destroyed in the womb. As a result, polygamy has increased and the divorce rate is soaring up .The parents of the bride equally suffer from the problem. They are compelled to sell their property or take a loan in high interest for the marriage of their daughter. If they are poor, they cannot find a match for their daughter. In the past, the dowry was offered as a token of love and blessing but it has now become a compulsion. Thus, all conscious people must fight against this problem.
Nowadays marriage is supposed as the lottery of making money. But thinking like this is a social crime. Bridegroom’s family must not treat marriage as a lottery. It is harmful to society.
The bridegroom’s side openly demands the dowry before arranging the marriage. If the dowry is not as much as it was agreed, the groom sometimes leaves the marriage and puts the future of bride in the dark. It has been very difficult for the daughters of poor parents to get married. Many parents save money for the daughter’s marriage instead of spending of her education. Parents of a daughter try to collect dowry instead of giving her education. Dowry system is social evils prevailing in Nepal.
To prohibit the demanding, giving and taking of Dowry, to reduce and eliminate the Dowry system in Nepal, Dowry Prohibition Act is in. The Law, dowry act, rule and regulation of Nepal definitely helps to prevent the social evil dowry. But to make the Law effective and fruitful, people of Nepal must follow the Law, rules.
The dowry system in Nepal will remain unless there is a strong awareness in the minds of the Nepalese people. The dowry system will increase in Nepal unless the entire Nepalese society believes that dowry is a social evil. The dowry system will not reduce in Nepal unless the entire Nepalese society objects the demanding for dowry. The dowry system in Nepal will rise day by day unless every mother-in-law thinks that she was a daughter-in-law at one time too. The dowry system will grow up in Nepal unless every mother feels that the treatments which she gives to her daughter-in-law can be received by her own daughter too.
Many families are broken and many women commit suicide. They are mentally tortured or burnt due to the reason of not getting enough dowry. There are cases in which if dowry is not given as demanded, the groom’s side often refuses to accept the bride in marriage. If the demanded dowry is not given, the groom’s side will refuse to take the bride in marriage. Parents of a girl are pressured to collect or save money for dowry than giving her education. This also promotes corruptions and feticide of the female embryo. This degrades the dignity and honour of women. This must be done away. This system brings discrimination in society. Such evil traditions must be removed by all conscious people.