|For weddings and a funeral - Why Dowry
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.
The young manager is swept away with lavish
show money the wedding has put up.
||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.
|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
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.
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?
||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.
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
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