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   April  06, 2014


Dowry System an Issue in Our Culture

Naturally every girl has a dream of marriage and a happy life after marriage. According to Razashigri (2011) in our society marriage became impossible without dowry. Babur(2007) stated that dowry is a property or gift that the bride's family gives to the groom’s family. In past parents gave dowry voluntary, but nowadays dowry in our culture becomes an essential part of marriage. Perveen, Hadi, Moomi & Latif, (2011)reports that “dowrysystemisvery prevalent in Pakistan” .The purpose of this paper is to highlight that dowry is an issue in our culture, which has negative impacts on health, wealth, and social life
A 28 years old female was preparing for her wedding, before her nikah ceremony her in-laws demanded three lakh rupees with gifts otherwise threatened to cancel the wedding .Girl’s father borrowed half money from relatives and promise to give half after marriage. Due to poverty parents could not pay the remaining. Therefore, the in-laws and husband started to beat her even during pregnancy. Three month after delivery they kept the baby and sent the girl back to her parent’s home. She became frustrated and attempted suicide but her parents saved her.

There are many causes of giving dowry. Parveen et al(2011)states that bride’s Parent give dowry because their forefathers have done this. Furthermore they think it as a good starting and support for girl’s practical life. It will secure after marriage life, help to get an appropriate life partner and decrease feeling of sudden social responsibility (Razashigri 2011).similarly groom’s family demand for dowry because they think that they invest money on their son’s education and they compensate it by taking dowry(Admin,2012).And according to Gulzar, Nauman, Yahiya and Yaqoob(2012)themainpurpose for demanding dowry is greed. And Nandan(2010)identifiedthat illiteracy, dependence on husband and living on their income, are other causes of dowry.

Dowry has negative effect on health. If parents cannot fulfill the promise to give dowry after marriage the brides life will become difficult as happened with Missx. The grooms family will start to threaten to divorce her, and start to torture her to bring dowry these conditions mostly lead bride to depression and mental illness. Shidhaye and Patel, (2010)stated that unsatisfactory reaction to dowry leads to mental illness in girls. Razashigri (2011)identified that often the conditions become so severe that girls attempt or committed suicide to get relief. Furthermore, the husband and in-laws start to beat girl, which can cause injuries, blood lose, and organ damages. Even it can lead to death.Ejaz(2010)reported that many women died because they were severely beaten by the in-laws for dowry. And according to Babur(2007) no single day passes without dowry deaths and women violence .they are burnt alive by pushing on fires, soaks with kerosene oil and throwing acids. Further more Perveen etal.(2011) highlight that dowry not only affects the health of the girls but also the health of whole family. Like, if any person becomes ill, Instead of wasting money in hospital Parents keep money for the dowry of their daughters and in this way the health of the ill person compromise. Similarly If the couple has children ,their health will suffer ,as happened in above scenario that the breast feeding child is separated from mother when she was only 3 month .Lack of breastfeeding and staring early winning can compromise baby’s health. Similarly to complete the dowry many poor girls or mothers attempt to earn money from unethical means. Such as Davis (2011)identified that dowry is one cause of prostitution. As a result many sexual transmitted diseases can soccur.
Beside health dowry system also has negative impact on socio- economic part of life.

Firstly it can lead to poverty according to Nandan(2010) to fulfill the demands of dowry parents of the bride take loan from banks , sell plots, furniture, house, borrow money from people with promise to give more in return, thus it will lead to further poverty. According to Gulzar et al.(2012) even parents start begging and loss their self-respect.Furthermore,Ejaz(2010)statedthatmany girls remain unmarried because their parents couldn’t pay dowry .Moreover, dowry system leads to gender biasness, people prefer to have son instead of daughters. According to Perveen et al (2011)parents get depressed and feel bad at the birth of a daughter they give more food, care and attention to the boys than the girls due to the expected costs that they would have pay in the form of dowry. Similarly they didn’t give education to the daughters they keep the money for their dowry instead of giving education to them and this result in female illiteracy.

In conclusion dowry is a major issue in Pakistan .it has negative effect on people’s health, economic and social wellbeing. Therefore resolving this issue is very important. According to admin (2012) first step to solve this problem is social change. This will be possible by providing awareness and teaching in the community level as a nurse. Praveen et al. (2011)suggest to sensitizing parents against dowry. Encourage them to instead of giving dowry educate their daughter that they can earn, become independent and will be able to speak against this cruelty. Teaching to the young generations is also important to stop dowry according to Admin (2012) if the only groom is aware enough this issue will resolve. Secondly (Praveen et al. 2011) suggests that government should ban dowry and if anybody violator the rule he should be fined or punished. Thirdly groups should be formed against dowry and they should inform authorities if see any case related to breaking rule and any torture related to dowry. Fourthly media can play important role by launch, programs against dowry, give awareness and encourage people to break this system. Sixthly Perveen et al. (2011) recommends that government should help poor’s in their daughters’ marriages. Seventhly seminars can be held against dowry religious leader emphasis by religious point of view that Islam prohibit to put load on bride’s parent. Babur(2007) stated that dowry is forbidden in all the religions. All in all dowry system is a big issue in our society and stopping dowry will remove the health, social and economic problems.


Izat Jehan
Aga Khan University
School of Nursing and Midwifery


mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

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