Dowry is still prevalent because society values men more and the worth is determined at the time of marriage when dowry is given. The dowry system is widely prevalent in rural as well as urban India, although the law makes it illegal to do it. It continues nevertheless. Marriage is no longer about two individuals, but about the monetary gain that a family receives at the time of the marriage of their son.
Kerala, my hometown, the most literate state of the country has been seeing horrifying cases of dowry death in a row these days.
One such case is the case of Vismaya, a beautiful woman who would have a bright future ahead of her. In June 2021, a 24-year-old Vismaya Nair was found dead in the house of her husband, S Kiran Kumar, in Kollam, Kerala. Her parents claimed that Kumar was harassing the daughter for dowry despite receiving a brand new car, 100 carats of gold, and land. They said that he demanded money and was not satisfied with the goods provided to him and that though they suggested selling the car in exchange for the money he did not agree. Vismaya sent a series of messages to her cousin two days before her death alleging that she was being beaten up by her husband who also stomped upon her face and grabbed her by the hair. Her brother also mentions that there was no way that this was suicide as Kumar had already assaulted the victim earlier at their own house and also so injured her brother who sustained a fracture. When this was reported to the police, rather than taking action and filing a case for domestic violence and assault it was decided that Vismaya should stay at her home for a few months. However, she was picked up by her husband two months ago when she went to write her examination and after the day did not return home. The case was registered with the women’s Commission by the brother and Kumar was charged under Section 304 of the IPC and was suspended from the State transport department.
There have been cases of dowry death before this incident too, however, the negligence of the police department during the first time the complaint was reported made the case grab a lot of media attention. Cases of Archana 24-year-old Suchitra a 19-year-old were also seen.
In the past 5 years 66 dowry deaths and more than 15000 cases of harassment have been registered in Kerala alone and though there are helplines for the victims of domestic violence, most of the time they fear calling and expressing their issues. Georgia Anne Benny, an assistant professor from Ernakulam, once said that families need to teach the children that all human beings are equal and need to be treated well. This old tradition of dowry has to be changed is it just the symbol of status and belief that the more given the higher position the society.