You’re getting married to a guy. So you pack up all your belongings, leave your parents & home behind and go live with your husband and his family. Oh, and you have to take along a laptop, fridge, AC, car and whatever else your new family asks for, because God forbid “khaali haath beti ko bhejdiya toh log kya kahaingay?”
Sounds a little absurd, right? Well, so is the tradition of dowry which oddly enough still prevails in our society. Parents start saving for girls as soon as they are born. "Iske jahez ke liye rakha hai".
In a country like Pakistan where patriarchy and male privilege (conveniently disguised as chivalry) thrive, the tradition of dowry just makes matters worse. Parents who’re blessed with a baby girl have to start worrying about her marriage and dowry because the archaic tradition is so deeply rooted in our society that it has become compulsory. In a country where we need to empower and educate women, the troublesome tradition of dowry just takes us a couple dozen steps backwards.
“Jo aap apni khushi se dena chahen, dedain” is what is typically said during the iniital discussions about the wedding where neither sides want to use the dirty word of jahaiz. However, rather than just sending the daughter off with clothes and things that she’ll need in her new house, the girl’s parents feel obligated to GIFT their daughter everything that a new house needs. In times like these of course investment in her education takes a backseat as parents stress out about how to afford the car that her in-laws have hinted at asked for.
One might argue that the concept of dowry hasn’t originated from Pakistan or India, but unfortunately both the countries have not only embraced the tradition but aggressively enforce it as well. Every year there are over 2000 dowry related deaths in Pakistan where brides are killed for not bringing enough with them. Hundreds of women stay unmarried only because the parents can’t afford the dowry that has been demanded.
But times are changing and people are understanding the negative impact of dowry. Orient Pakistan’s latest TVC highlights exactly that. It delivers a very important message when the groom refuses to take dowry by putting forth the logic “meray ghar ki cheezon k liye paisay aap kyun dain?” What’s commendable about this TVC is that even though the fact that dowry is a curse is something that we all understand but very few brands actually talk about it. This is the first time a brand has chosen to educate the audience and address the issue itself.
Bringing things from lots of blankets to crockery, to furniture to clothes not only for her but also for the entire family of men give the impact that men’s family cannot afford to buy a single dress including coats and shawls.It seems they are unable to buy a single thing for them after marriage. It seems marriage is a good deal to collect things. It seems men’s family ispoverty-stricken and girl is some Ngo who come to help them financially.
I am depicting some samples that how men’s family ask for dowry. Here is some morality jokes related to it:
We do not need furniture, there is not much space in our house, but you can give money to us, we will make wooden cupboards in your daughter’s room. It will be only beneficial for her.
(Why you cannot make cupboards in your son’s room before your daughter in-law coming to your house. It will be a gesture of kindness and will show your morality)
You are living far away from our city, so furniture would be a burden for you guys, so just give us money ,we will buy from own city and furniture of our own choice.
(Why it cannot be like, there is no need to bring furniture. Our son is earning enough or we will arrange furniture at least for their bedroom)
We donot need your dowry, we r not demanding anything but it is your daughter and it’syour choice to give her something.
(This‘something’ contains things that expand in millions)
This has become so common that even if before marriage In-laws agrees on not taking dowry,after marriage they make the girl’s life a hell. So parents of bride(in fear) give as much as they can to their daughter so there would not be any problem for her. They give their daughter everything evenminor ones, so next day she has not to ask anyone. She would just take her things and could use them.
The few people who can afford to give their daughter houses,cars and jewelry,they have made life difficult for others. Now people have expectations fromtheir In-laws and they give examples of other people that how much someone has given to their daughter. In case of daughter, parents are so helpless that not only dowry but even on every little occasion ,they are bound not to give money or gifts to their daughter, her husband or children but even the husband’s family(including his married sisters and brothers’ family) are in wait to receive lots of things.
So what can we do about it? Bring #RishtonMeinInnovation! If you want your daughter to be happy in her new home, make sure she has a good upbringing, education and send her off with lots of love/respect. It’s about time we stop putting a price on our daughters and start saying NO to dowry!