The news about the tragic death of Manjula Davek was doing the rounds on social media. All of 28 years, the young PhD student had been found hanging in her hostel room in IIT Delhi. It quite was disturbing to read about it. Here was a girl on the verge of completing her research from the country’s premier institute, having published papers in international journals. A girl of high intellect had been pushed to the extreme step of taking her own life. The police are clueless on the reason, as there wasn’t a suicide note left behind. However, her family and friends cite dowry harassment and domestic abuse as the reason behind the step.
Now if this is what the actual reason is, I surely am appalled! We have, as a country, made tremendous advancements in various fields. We have launched satellites and have pushed our economy on the path of development. Yet, behind all this progress, there still lurks within, the ugliness of harassment of women. I wonder if our whole education system, our society and everything else women are part off, actually are empowering them completely!!!
I had been thinking about this, the entire Sunday. It was only when evening came by that I sat relaxed chit-chatting with a neighbor of mine. As we sat discussing random things, she gave me insights on the typical Indian wedding that she had had. A lavish one, it had been, a farmhouse wedding with over five hundred guests, extravagant decorations, shimmering jewelry and clothes, multiple ceremonies et al, costing probably a couple of millions. Luckily in my friends case, it was all well within their affordability.
Surely it was a light hearted conversation. But a thought did strike me. We exist in a country where a significantly large percentage of the society, place the load of a wedding on the girl’s family. Expenses of the wedding, food, jewelry, venue etc… are to be borne by the bride’s side. Indian weddings are loaded with traditions and ceremonies, with expenditures almost always tilting largely towards the girl’s family. There is considerable anxiety, stress, and an element of pressure the girl’s family goes through to be able to deliver a “good” marriage.
With the Indian Penal Code, taking strict actions against Dowry, the practice of giving cash to the groom’s party has become minimal. Yet, the pressure to please the prospective groom and their family by giving away expensive gifts persists largely. Such gifts are not considered as dowry. And the plight of a family that isn’t able to live up to such expectations is pitiable.
No wonder the girl child is still considered a financial liability and her birth gets a luke-warm welcome. Can this ever change? Not until the cost of the wedding is shared by both the families. Until then, we would find more women succumbing to the pressure and harassment meted out to them.
Linking this post to #ChattyBlogs hosted by Shantala Nayak @ Shanaya Tales
*Featured Image Source: Pixabay