Rajesh Chopra
Article from Rajesh Chopra
Editor in Chief - LiveIndia.com
For weddings and a funeral - Why Dowry !

Feb.21.2008. Rajesh Chopra.  LiveIndia.Com
Imagine a situation where a young aspiring manager bred with values and stirred with integrity, suddenly encounters a dilemma which can change his life forever. He has got this far in life with the sheer hard work and competence. 

But today all his values are being be called into question and being remanded to dark corners of ignorance? Because today he’s attending the wedding of his very dear friend and a colleague who is a little junior to him, but he has always had it easy. “For those who don’t have to try too hard” is the motto the colleague lives and swears by, and from today onwards he won’t ever look back in his life. Because today he is being bestowed with whatever he had always wanted.
The young manager is swept away with lavish show money the wedding has put up.
A shimmering new Toyota Corolla exquisitely embellished with ribbons right at the entrance, the podium enormous enough to host an entire fashion show, pile of Jewelry boxes and gifts lying on the side table. And the young manager starts thinking to himself, “Maybe this is what it is after all. You have it all. Or you don’t. Maybe my marriage needs to be as good if not better. I wish my ‘would be’ father in law was with me today. May be I should think about my decision on the marriage again. Because I think I'm also worth it.” Befuddled by the ‘dazzle of money’, the young manager leaves the wedding abruptly, to set things right, once and for all. No one knows how he would do it. But he won’t be the same again
Imagine a father of the bride, with his modest job and a lifetime of service with honor, standing at the crossroads of life. He has spent all his life scrupulously building a dream penny by penny, nurturing his daughter with best of education and values. 

He has also been invited by a friend on a wedding. A typical wedding, an occasion par grandeur. An event superfluous with money and what money can buy. From floral arrangements to lighting, to display of jewelry and expensive collectibles to be gifted by the parents. The luxury sedan, free honey-moon to Europe and a luxury apartment are just few of the things which the bride is being blessed with. 

The hapless father stands abashed at the naked and ostentatious display of wealth and debauchery. He tries to come to terms with his own reality. May be this is what is expected of him as well, if not more. He questions all his years of hard work and honest living, which look like garbage years wasted collecting heaps of ‘nothing’. The old man also walks away trying to grapple with the truth he has just discovered. The truth, which will never let him sleep from this day onwards.

Who’s responsible for a sudden de-generation of long standing values you’ve always held so close. Who’s responsible for the inferiority complex which the old man has to deal with, first time in his life? Who’s responsible for lack of faith in the young aspirant, now plagued with apprehensions and misconceptions?

And these two gentlemen are not just exceptions. They represent an entire Diaspora of the Indian middle class caught in the mad rush. An entire generation spanning cities, religions, states, redefining their values. Or imitating values, rather. Not because they want to, because they have to. 

The growth of nation economically has also had severe repercussions on the morality of a sensible man. It’s not only the rural India which has been inflicted with the evils of dowry, but the urban cities where it is more rampant and larger than life. The dowry has become the gift, and the gift has superseded all the rationales of a common man. The urban metro mindset which has taken dowry to the pedestal of an iconic ritual and a lifestyle statement which everyone has to follow. 

The Gift in the Garb, which has become part and parcel of any typical urban Indian marriage, The gift which is displayed to public as a branding exercise. The names have changed but this dowry or the gift, still dominates the mindsets of those ‘who have’ as well as those ‘who don’t’. And the ‘have nots’ will defy all odds to emulate and create what they see. Up against any thing they’ll create a marriage, which will be unforgettable and unsurpassable. Even if it means putting their every thing at stake. 

And this is another instance of the regression of morality of a progressive nation. Easy money can never be made straight. And those who’ve got it fast and furious also know how they’ve made it. The whole nexus of crime, politics and economics has made the progress of the nation available to few and far between, while the masses still lag behind.  The nation has over the years nurtured and propagated the widely accepted principles of corruption and decadence.
 Today we only respect the rich and the famous, while the more deserving are suitably left out and forgotten. But why? And for how long? 

If every father wants to gift his daughter something. How far is this ostentatious display of gift justified? Is gift a public display item or a status symbol?  And is if it is a status symbol there will definitely others who’ll vie for it and aspire to attain it. 

The illusion would never end. Imagine this gift become a reason for someone else’s death or debacle. Isn’t dowry or gift, hogwash to cover your own insecurities? After all it can’t provide lifetime security to anyone’s’ daughter. Nor is it a guarantee for life time of happiness. So isn’t education the best gift after all. Education which will stand the test of time and support even when the chips are down. 

It’s surprising why a community so progressive in its treatment of the child regresses so profoundly when it comes to taking or giving dowry. 

If the girls are given the best education, they are allowed to pursue careers and take up jobs like the boys; there is no need for anything else. Let the gift, if any, be personal, not a stock price which gets listed every where. And when it comes to giving wealth, it’s ‘stree dhan’: the inalienable property given to a woman at the time of her marriage. It’s a share of property no one could touch, not even her husband. 

Rajesh Chopra.  LiveIndia.Com

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    I likes your article. For weddings and a funeral - Why Dowry ! - A article from Rajesh Chopra 
    But no one thinks this way even educated and well settled people demand dowry for meeting the expenses of their wives. 
    may b our society won't change. the parents of girls are too broadminded and the paernts of grooms too narrow minded. 
    It happens, some succumb to the circumstances to keep up the relationship which is hollow and some choose to come out of it. 
    Avni Aren
    ASE Tata Consultancy Services
    Hi Rajesh, 
    I , simply surfing something else on the internet, found this article which was a wonderful to read. I, being a well educated girl and with all values given by my parents thought the same as you , that i do not need anything else in life to be happy and successful.
    My present condition shows the dowry devil is still existing and is not going to die even if the world ends one day.
    Everything in my life was a struggle still i competed very well with all difficult situations and became sucessful in education, job and marriage. For sometime I felt my life is the most contented life. I had very good and supportive parents, very caring husband and almost rich family. But dont know when the Ghost of devil entered the minds of my inlaws and they started hurting me emotionally all time. They knew they cant hurt me physically, so they wanted to separate me and my husband. And for a shock , my husband started taking thier parent's side and left me alone after i gave birth to a baby. They all felt this is the right time to black mail me or to just make me bow my head before them.  Very bad destiny right!!!   Its 6 months since me and my husband saw each other's face. Now i am alone leading my life only for my son and for also such wonerful parents :) Thought of sharing this painful experience with you in the context of dowry.
    Thanks for reading ,Regards,Kusuma 
    Sulekha Dogra · Nottingham, United Kingdom
    instead of giving dowry to daughters, one should give them best education, values, self confidence and positive attitude in life.


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