Women Dowery Deaths In India Essay

This essay has a total of 1524 words and 8 pages.

Women Dowery Deaths In India


Silenced by their culture large populations of women in India tolerate abuse and
subsequent death because they have provided insufficient dowry. In a culture that is male
dominated women are raised to be servants to their husbands often arranged to marry a man
that they have never met. Women that are beaten or just unhappy must suppress their
feelings to keep their husbands blissful or face shame and be turned away by their own
families. Indian women's household must pay a dowry for the privilege of marrying a man of
status. The dowry often consists of money, merchandise, or gold that is displayed when the
couple is married. Women are being mistreated for insufficient dowry money because the
groom's family may be greedy and would like more items. If the bride's family cannot
provide more for the in-laws they will kill her so that he may keep the dowry he already
had collected and then marries another that may possess more money or status. The original
dowry is determined by the perceived value of the husband's hand in marriage. If the
husband is very desirable then he commands a very high dollar figure, if the offer of
money is too low then the groom's family will not accept it because it is an insult.


"A woman held a PHD and married a man that was a shopkeeper with less education than she
possessed. Her father provided a year's worth of salary and many gifts. After the couple
had been married six months, the in-laws requested a washing machine and other items that
the bride's family could not afford to give. They taunted the bride and eventually she was
found hung from a ceiling fan. The groom was never convicted because he told the police
she committed suicide, because she did not love him enough. Since the death took place in
his home, they had no way of knowing if it was the truth. The woman was cut off from her
relatives and had once asked her father to help her because she did not feel safe with her
new husband. The father told her that she should give it time because he was not to
intervene to early in the marriage, he wanted her to stay married at the time."
(Mandelbaum p.1)


Women in India marry within their own social caste which divides people into four major
groups the Brahmin, kshatryia, vaishya, and the sudra with some of the lower people being
called so the untouchables. The untouchables are called so dirty that even a glass that
they have drunk from cleaned, will always be contaminated. Female babies are viewed as a
burden to the father, that he must work and save to marry her off and males are always
preferred. The birth of a girl is mourned in most families, which contributes to female
infanticide in India today. ("India dowry" p67) The marriages that take place are all
arranged and can take place even as children, teenagers, and twenty-year-old businessmen
and women that has to yield to the practice in society. Women that do choose their own
mates are not exempt from the dowry and often face anger from their parents or being
disowned. Parents will often look for the most suitable mate for tier daughter in
classified ads, Internet, or marriage brokers with out prior knowledge each other the
bride and groom are married if the dowry is in agreement on both sides. In Hindu laws of
Manu a woman is joined to her husband and has to suffer with him and act with tolerance,
this religion believes that women are the cause if a marriage fails and that men are
absolved from their own actions. If there is any unhappiness in the home of an Indian
woman, they look at her as the cause even if the husband is in some cases beating,
taunting and allowing his friends to gang rape her. These women have no choice but to stay
in inhumane situations because they were raised in a culture that does not give them many
rights and teaches them from an early age to be a servant. If an Indian woman needs help
there are few places to which she can turn, the family of the groom will seek her out
because she has dishonored her husband. Her own family will not take her back to their
house because she is a difficult woman that may prevent her sisters from being married if
the rumor spreads about her family. The increased supply of many luxury items in India has
escalated the demands that grooms make for dowry amounts with the sky the limit being the
normal attitude. (Mandelbaum) The parents of the groom are looking to get the most for the
hand of their son in their society they do not romanticize marriage like we do in America,
but look at it as business arrangements. If the groom's parents are very greedy they may
decide that the bride should have an accident that will lead to her death. The son then
can take another bride that will give them more gifts and they still get to keep the money
from his first marriage, giving his parents a very nice living. If a woman is widowed in
Indian society she is expected to mourn for her lost husband not to marry again or
participate in life. The act of Sati is an old ritual that involves the widow to throw
herself on the open flames of her husband's funeral fire and burn alive to assure his
place in heaven. This was outlawed in India but some of the warrior castes still have
cases of this happening today.


Deaths that occur in the home make it hard to determine the exact details of the brides'
death. Women that die often fall into accidents with their stove that sometimes explode
and other times simply catch their clothing on fire until they burn to death. They do use
kerosene stoves which are highly flammable but they also leave very little of the bride
behind for the investigators to look at. Major government hospitals in Pune City admit
eight women burn victims a day of that only 20% that they see ever live. (Waters p 525) If
a man is convicted of a dowry death he does not face a very stiff punishment. Less than
one percent of the cases end up in conviction. ("India dowry" p67) There was a case in
which the husband was found guilty of killing his wife and was sentenced to give back the
dowry and wedding costs, then he was set free to go on his own. If the same case has been
brought up here in America the man would have face a charge of life in prison. The society
offers very little push to resolve this pressing issue. The Indian Penal code amendments
and the Evidence act require an investigation on all deaths of brides that were married
for less than seven years. (Waters, p525) It is horrifying to imagine what these women go
through in the course of their lives, being brought up to believe that you are inferior
and then to be stripped of your free will with torture of the mind and body. The women are
treated like machines that just do what the husbands prefer with out any regard. These
women have only shelters to help them if they try to leave, but often find themselves with
no money, education, or place to run to. The act of dowry giving has to end before the
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