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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 11:11 GMT
Have your say
You e-mailed us with your views on the issues raised in Correspondent: Dowry Law.

The comments published reflect the balance of views we have received:


Given that women are financially independent these days, I see no rationale behind the so-called dowry system even if it's for the sheer sake of protecting the womenfolk throughout their life, as a dilapidated folklore seems to suggest.

However, I should admit that not all Indian men could be dumped into this dowry trashcan. Most of my friends (from Kerala) tied the knot with Indian guys working in the US and UK and dowry was not an issue at all. Some guys even shared the wedding costs. Are these but an oasis in the desert? I know not.
Rekha Krishnan

The loyalty, affection and devotion that so many Indian families show to one another puts most British families to shame
Thomas Williams

Dowry is an appalling crime that needs to be eradicated globally, not just in India. In my birth country of Saudi Arabia dowry is similarly embedded in the culture, yet due to tight state controls, people are too scared to talk about it.
Ibn Ali

If more and more woman like Nisha walk out on weddings the problem will be solved as women realise their power to refuse a man and still find a decent man to marry And men may be at risk of not finding a woman willing to marry a criminal.

Women of India should join hands at reporting anyone who demands dowry to help their more unfortunate sisters who may not have the education and confidence to do so. I don't think they fully realise their worth to Indian society.
DS

People have commented on this page that they would not visit a country in which such acts occur - this is a ridiculous attitude to take. From my own observations, the loyalty, affection and devotion that so many Indian families show to one another puts most British families to shame.

I encourage Indian woman to go for western men
Ammita

Yes, India must eliminate these terrible black spots on its culture and society. It is, however, time for the West to acknowledge the degeneration of family life in our own societies and perhaps learn from the good in other societies.
Thomas Williams

I agree with Ammita, my parents actually encouraged me to choose an English man because they thought that I would be treated better. I am now engaged to be married to a fantastic English gentleman and all he wants in dowry is love.
Anonymous

I had an arranged marriage and the very thing nearly happened to me, except that I had a lucky escape. My ex in-laws were simply evil, my parents innocent victims. But now I am with a wonderful and fantastic English man, so I encourage Indian woman to go for western men - there are plenty available and they are much more intelligent and appreciative.
Ammita

Only after such problems are highlighted, can they be resolved
Dylan Patel

I realise that we have no right to tell other people how to run their countries, but surely there is a human rights issue here. Why is it that so many people have to die before anyone intervenes? If there are laws, then the government of the country surely has an obligation to uphold these, and not ignore them.
Veronica Ford

Well done to the BBC! Only after such problems are highlighted, can they be resolved. I do feel however, that some of the reporting was biased, and as a previous comment said, the programme did not provide actual solutions.

They also didn't mention the numerous religious organisations doing their best to get rid of the dowry system by holding mass marriages, or, in extreme cases, offering to pay the dowry for those who cannot afford it. On the whole though, good job!
Dylan Patel

If some Indian men don't appreciate Indian women without putting a large price on their favour, I am sure there are many more men in India and around the world who would.
John Riseley

Only men who reject dowry at the time of marriage can bring about a sea change in attitude
Harsha Jani

Despite a lack of religious reference to the dowry problem in the programme, one of your opening sentences was: "Muslims never used to give dowry".

It puzzles me why you mentioned muslims while you did not make any comment on the impact of religion on the dowry issue at all, and in fact do not even mention that most of the families comes from Hindu tradition. I think that was not fair approach.
S Sparkes

I was born and grew up in India, but never saw this picture of society. I just ask the young men of India today, is money more important than to love a person whom you want to spend your life with? I would dare not even think of dowry - all I would dream of is a good educated women, that itself is the biggest gift.
Saurabh

Without a shadow of a doubt only men who reject dowry at the time of marriage can bring about a sea change in attitude. If rejecting dowry becomes the "in" thing to do, then it will over the years be considered wicked and criminal to ask for a dowry. Basically, Indian men are "mother's" boys and do exactly what is asked of them by their revered mothers.
Harsha Jani

I am surprised that a number of those sending comments seemed to miss the bits of the programme which involved those people on the ground working to change things with the dowry system, and those which gave figures of the extent of dowry killings.

We still need to demonise former colonials with skewed reportage
John Atherton

And that some comments seem more concerned with damage to India's reputation than with the horrific murder of thousands of women every year. Should we sweep it under the carpet so that no-one has to be embarrassed?
Sally

I was shocked and appalled by the programme on the dowry system in India. Although your feedback page indicates that it is more a problem in Northern India and not so common, an official figure of some 6,000 female deaths is appalling!
J Wilkie

I feel it is utterly appalling to see that we, as Britons, have yet to move past the legacy of empire, and that we still need to demonise former colonials with skewed reportage in order to gain a false sense of self worth. Anyone who really follows Indian current affairs knows that dowry is largely a north Indian obsession, not an all-Indian one.
John Atherton

Why do Indian women tolerate injustice? A women can run India yet women cannot stand up and help to eliminate the dowry and save thousands of women killing themselves. They should help those who are strong to face millions who tolerate injustice, constant demands and taunting from the in-laws.
Manjit Bhogal

Although dowry still occurs, it is hardly as common nor severe as it used to be
Avinash

The programme did show cases of atrocities on indian women, but I did not understand why this was shown and the purpose of this programme. We all know that the dowry is a big menace in india, and it has been a problem for ages.

I did not see any solutions or mention of any programmes which have been put forth by Indian government or any social organisations. So I think it was of no use to highlight the problem already known to the world without providing any answers.
Avinash

I would have preferred it if it could have been highlighted that although dowry still occurs, it is hardly as common nor severe as it used to be, or as terrible as some of the cases highlighted. It will be a shame that people, who already have an obscured view of India and its ways of society today, may now be further affirmed of their opinions.

I feel that the documentary made out that some of what was covered is standard behaviour of the people of India today, which is completely off the mark. The cases highlighted in the documentary, and the dowry system in general, are just as controversial an issue in India at the moment as it is in the rest of the world.
Saras Chauhan

I rebelled against the dowry system in my youth
Sam Nistala, of Indian origin

I'm from Kerala which is the Southern-most state of India. Most of the youngsters down south don't even ask or accept dowry of any kind. And I think the main reason for that is education. Our state, being 100% literate, helps people to read newspapers which in turn helps parents to do a background check on the groom and the family.
Sunil, Kerala, India

I am a 65-year-old old man and I am proud to say that I rebelled against the dowry system in my youth and swore that I will not put my wife through this humiliation. I married at the registry office spending just the bare registry charges. I paid for my wife's travelling and other expenses. I threatened to disown my relations if anyone asked a penny's-worth of gifts from my wife's parents.

Proud as I am, I am ashamed that I did not make this my social agenda and raise the awareness of my friends and relatives.
Sam Nistala, of Indian origin

A programme like this makes us hang our heads in shame
Swati

I am proud to be an Indian and I love my country, but a programme like this makes us hang our heads in shame. I hope external pressure from international groups like the BBC and perhaps the Human Rights groups will make our stupid society change their ways.
Swati

I cannot believe that murder on such a large scale can be ignored by so many people. These women, many of them young girls, must die an agonizing death, and nobody, apart from their own parents seems to care. I feel pressure should be brought on the Indian Government to bring in much tougher laws against dowries. I would never want to visit a country that allows such things to happen.
Irene Smith

So now, if a bride dies within seven years, the law regards it as a crime. But this is pointless, since the accused can use the dowry money to buy off the police. Surely it would be more to the point to state that if a bride dies in the home within seven years then the dowry must be repaid to the bride's parents.
J Barrie

I have to agree with J Barrie. If the families had to repay the whole of the dowry if the bride dies within seven years (whatever the reason) the incentive to marry and murder would be gone.
Sally

There is a total lack of moral fibre in the masses
Haresh, UK

As a British-born indian, I am deeply saddened and ashamed of my so-called "culture". There is a total lack of moral fibre in the masses which means that rather than earn money themselves they would rather get the family of a new wife to simply provide them with the luxuries they crave.
Haresh, UK

I taught in an all female Teacher Training College in Bangalore this July. A fantastic bunch of highly motivated, articulate and driven young women. However, they were silenced when the conversation on the dowry deaths was raised. They can do nothing about it. Their parents, relatives, localities, in fact Indian society as a whole "buy" into it, rendering them ready targets.

Then I reflect on the Bollywood Industry, the millions who flock to the big screens week after week. The messages which are blatant and the hidden curriculum. I wonder if there is mileage in an expose of this industry in relation to its detrimental effect on the role and status of women in India?
Nasima Hassan, Lecturer in Education University College Liverpool Hope



SEE ALSO:
Fighting India's dowry crime
14 Nov 03  |  Correspondent
Dowry Law
13 Nov 03  |  Correspondent


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