Dowry: The Cancer of Our Society!!!

By Noreen Akhtar

Someone has spoken my heart out by saying that ‘dowry is a cancer for the society. Eradicate this cultural cancer. Be bold and say no to dowry.”

One of the many weaknesses in our society is that people admire others a lot in terms of money and status; it doesn’t matter if that status is fake. There are still some people who are so much into gaining superior social status that they can do anything to obtain the status of their dreams.

If I specifically talk about Hunza, because I don’t know much about other regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, then the system of dowry is one of the examples of social customs that force our parents even to sell their hard-earned livelihood and property to marry their daughters. This article is based more on my own such bitter experiences.

The first reason because of which this stupid trend is still thriving in our society is that our people are much more conscious about their social status. The common pattern of thinking is, ‘what will our neighbors say if our daughter leaves our home with less dowry? What will be the impression on the family of groom? My relatives spend this much money on their daughter so why can’t I? And the list goes on and on….

dowryThey are not even trying to think about the reality that their daughter becomes more like a showcase, an entity, with all the jewelries and other expensive stuff. Her value as a human increases not because she herself has a personality but, instead, because she has dowry. I have heard about such parents who though don’t have money to educate their kids but make money by even selling their property to be able to marry their daughters.

The second cause is that dowry is not only dominant among parents but also among some boys and girls. Some girls are so much obsessed with getting dowry that the more they see utensils, craft work and other things to embellish their new home, the more they become satisfied. Moreover, there are some guys out there who are happy with this norm because they get their wife with such a huge property.

Where is the reality in our lives? Where does logic lie? NOWHERE!!!

Let’s talk about why our people think in this way and what we can do to eradicate this evil tradition.

The first cause is that parents become worried about their daughters that without dowry they won’t be accepted by the groom’s family. This is because there are some families out there who do the same. They value dowry more than a girl. The root cause of this problem is that parents usually don’t let their children to make their own future while polishing their own skills. It’s not about education only. It can be any other field as well. If a girl is not educated then she becomes a burden on her family and parents become obsessed with her dowry because they think that she is not educated so dowry can at least save her future.

Some parents need to keep their children independent so that they could join the field of their own interest and have an independent future. If a girl will have a stable life, she won’t be dependent on her husband and same is true for men. Their independent future will not let them to marry a dependent girl or a dependent boy which in return results in to dowry system.

Secondly, though this has been implemented somehow but it wasn’t successful. Councils issued letters and alarmed people that they will take fines from the ones who will spend more on their daughter’s marriage. But this has not been very successful. The reason being the fact that those who can spend more on the marriage of their children can also pay fines also but won’t stop following this custom. Some people say that if one can spend money, then it is fine with that family. But, it’s actually not fine because others who can’t afford try to do the same.

We can have two options. These laws should be equal for all (poor and rich) and rich families should stop thinking that if they can spend then they should spend whatever amount they have. Secondly, people should stop admiring others in this case and also not torture others that they couldn’t even give dowry to their daughters.

Thirdly, both girls and guys should have this sense that they can contribute equally to buy the items of their need and they can start saving money after they are engaged and/or married. Or, if one of them is not that much able to contribute then still they can manage with one’s contribution. It also happens that both can’t contribute on the spot so of course their parents and family members are there to help them but they shouldn’t show this contribution in the shape of dowry.

What we need to concentrate on is that education is the best way parents can ever help their kids to develop an independent and peaceful life. Moreover, respecting the talent of children and let them boost it is another gift.

I request all the parents, girls and boys to please don’t ever think that girls are valuable because of dowry. Let’s think that we all can be independent and have a better future ahead. Let’s reject such useless and cancerous customs from our society which takes away value of a girl and which enforces our parents to think that their daughters are dependent. Guys! Accept girls without any condition of dowry and Girls! Be bold to not give dowry and help your parents to understand the reality (y).

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  1. Extremely useless post. I think you should write a post on other issues and problems facing by our community. Freedom of speech doesn’t really means that we write what ever we want. This post really has no link with our community. There are lot of other serious problem which need to be discussed and find a better solution. Don’t make little problem a bigger.

    1. Dear Rehmat bro i think that it is not a little problem.This evil custom is spreading in our society day by day.we should give awareness among people and these habits are nipped in the bud in our society.In the coming days it will b a huge problem for our society.Ya of course more other problems which we have to discussed but every one have there own opinions and thoughts and free to share there ideas.

      1. Dear Saqafat Hussain Bagoro: Both of you are right but some times we ourself make little issues huge. Dowry might be practiced in some families in Hunza but you can’t say that it is a custom.
        You are right that every one is free to share his feelings and ideas but it will be excellent when your article you are writing is based on some research.

  2. Dowry: The Cancer of Our Society!!!
    Your arguments are 100% valid regarding Dowry(marriage settlements). But you made your article unobtrusive because of reiteration of an argument.

    Now, kindly insight us about your thoughts regarding Dower(divorce settlements)… I am waiting for your reply.

    A Request:
    Kindly do not use the name of Hunza collectively, because of your insignificant research. Dowry might be practiced in some specific families around you and your place, that doesn’t mean you call it a standard custom of Hunza. Next time be specific, please.

  3. This is good to highlight the social problems on social media for the information of the people. More important is to investigate into the very roots and causes of these problems so that people could have an understanding of what is wrong with our society. I think this all comes from the foundations of our society that has never moved beyond the tribal outset. When we talk about Hunza we proudly mention that Hunza has achieved a very high literacy rate opposed to the Pakistani standards but where is the intellectual progress that should have come with the growth in the literacy? It means our education systems is unable to produce such a cadre. Take the example of KIU which is the apex institution in the region that has produced so far a brigade of a youth devoid of any progressive thinking.

  4. first of all this is use less post the people of hunza doesnot have this kind of dowry system in their communities this reaserch is baseless and use less.However this system has been practiced in other part of our country but not in hunza.

  5. i agreed with u. Today it becomes a Black Giant in our society day by day.It is spendthrift in Islam.we should obey the rules of Islam.we should more concentrate towards education of our daughters instead of so called dowry.Really it is a great problem in our society.We should develop awareness among people. we should take some immediate measures to control the grievances of poor masses.

  6. This is one of a very serious issue. I remember back in past(almost 10-15 years ago) there was a fixed items of what the parents will give to her daughter and it was very limited item but with the passage of time this list has increased many folds and this is one of very serious issue in Ghizer district(as i know about it only being habitant of it) and this post is very much need of the time for making awareness and I am surprised to see how some poeple are againts it…I doub their intentions

  7. Well elaboration Noreen beta. Actually in some part of Hunza this curse is discouraged and rejected adversely as in upper hunza. This menace need to eradicate in lower and central hunza. Of course the valueable and everlasting assets for daughters is degree not vehicle or bank balance. All competent authorities of communities need to more work on it to reduce and discourage this menace.

  8. Every body think about their own village only one unit can not bring the changes in the whole society, we the young generation should think and abohr such type of customs and emphasised over the education

  9. i think it has not yet become a custom or common practice in our area as compare to other parts of Pakistan. Having said this, no matter whatever the scale of this social menace may be, as an educated society, we should discourage it at all level. Such social behaviours can be better addressed through awareness and sensitising the masses. For the author of this article, i would suggest while talking/analysing any issue, it is prerequisite to do some research and quote references while sharing facts or findings, lets say, you argue about the increasing trend in the area, do you have any reference to support your argument besides your own “bitter experience”. Finally what measures/actions/strategies do you suggest should be taken to curb this increasing social menace The issue is important but how to present it is also very important.

    So again review your article and submit again. it needs lots of improvements.

    First paragraph ” start with some nice quotations”
    Historical aspects of this social custom in the context of our region
    Cultural aspects /try to do some analyses ask some learned people from the area
    discuss root causes vis a vis social , economic, political or religious etc
    conclude it with recommendations and suggestion



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