A little known simple girl from the coastal town of Kollam has become the toast of the state overnight. The whole issue has, for the umpteenth time, openly exhibited the social evil that is embedded deeply in our society: the dowry system. What was more interesting than the Sreekala's story was the attitude of the youth towards this system. When the fairer sex was swift in hailing Sreekala and declaring that they wouldn't concede to an an alliance which demands such nuptial endowments, the opposite division of species had some interesting questions to ask back.
Some of the rather curious points which were put to debate in the public gatherings following the incident are listed below.
1. How many ladies are prepared to enter the husband's home without such 'socially enforced wedding gifts'?
2. If the bride can place demand for a stable(read wealthy) groom, why can't it be otherwise?
3. Its the girl's family who offers to buy a man based on his job, social status, family background and salary package; with weightage on each of the 'qualities'.
4. Isn't a dowry essential for the financial stability of the couple?
Well, if you think these are tough nuts to crack, then it is not! Firstly, this dowry set-up is illegal and it is punishable by law. So that takes care of many doubts.
Marriage is a mutual relationship between two individuals, and in India between two families as well. So it obviously becomes more complicated. And since money is at the heart of all matters it is not possible to erase this system hastily. But as it will always, things are changing with time. Women are becoming more independent with flourishing careers, and it will bring down the necessity of a dowry. Many young men now look for educated women with a respectable employment as a way to safe family life rather than a housewife with hefty dowry. Increase in the percentage of love marriages would also serve in minimizing this menace.But the root of the disease still lies in the economically lower strata of society where a substantial sum is the only way for a life for young women.
So the good news is that the essentiality of dowry is stipulated to decline in the coming years.. And the worrying news is that this story of Sreekala wont be a one-off. But thats encouraging in itself! We need more Sreekalas to treat this social morbidity.
Thanks to her, people will think twice before embarking on such misadventures, as her heartless husband-to-be did.
As a happy ending to the story, Sreekala has married a relative of her, Kannan, in a social function blessed by family, friends & neighbours, community and political leaders and delegates of press.
Let love be the word that frees you from all the weight & pain of life!