Measures to prevent dowry

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Sex is a powerful and satisfying means of human communication and marriage is a ritual ceremony through which men and women get their legitimate right to have sex with one another. In the case of life partner selection, men usually consider the appearance enhancement and emotional persuasion of women while Women consider the financial solvency of men. Most of our young generation are unemployed, financially insolvent and frustrated. The problem of unemployment creating financial insolvent people is getting more and more acute in rural areas. In rural areas most young men live from hand to mouth. It is beyond their means to afford the cost of maintenance of their wives. On the other hand, the parents are worried about finding suitable husbands for their nubile daughters. They consider to marry off their daughters as a more sacred duty than to make them educated. Thus dowering the husband has long been practiced in our society on fathers burdened with the responsibility of disposing marriageable daughters which opens another entrance of cruelty to women. Giving dowry to husband is practiced not only in villages but also in towns with great secrecy. Perhaps the number of legacy hunters who marry only for wealth is not so small to be neglected. Many dogmatic parents consider their daughter as a burden and handing over the burden (bride) to the charge of the bridegroom they compensate the husband’s parents for injuring them with the burden giving dowry. In subclasses or Aboriginal tribes, the household work of women is valued and their parents are paid for their daughter by husband’s guardians by higgling.

Taking dowry has been prohibited by the enactment of laws. Unless the people change the attitude of buying, selling and using women as commodities they will fail to eradicate dowry system from society by simply legislation. Everyone knows the enormity of the crime. Adopting blaspheme as the mainstay of the writing and accusing the patriarchal society repeatedly many feminists Writers have written legion of articles and volumes demanding equal right of women. We are not so clung to religious doctrines as they have defined. In all religions the paramount position of man has been retained whereas women’s right of ending has been restrained. But in SAARC countries where the husband always over-rides the wishes of the wife what we see is that most political leaders are women. It alludes to the fact that religion is not at the root of social evils. Having read many books of feminist writers, fighting against sexism and demanding free sex of women, it seems that they want equal right of women only in sex. Nudism is not a liberty. A nude man or a woman rather becomes subjected when he or she is caught into the sight of shameless eyes. Liberty has a fixed norm and shape. I do believe in equal right of women. They should have the same rights and opportunities in legal, political, social and economic field as man. But it is supposed woman emancipation is sure to achieve upholding the main religious doctrines. Not always accusing the patriarch and attacking the religious doctrines (dogma) the feminist should confine the area where women are overridden by men and should point out good causes at the root of cruelty to women.

Penetrating to my topic methinks giving dowry to husband is practiced and increasing alarmingly in rural areas where most people are illiterate, superstitious and financially insolvent. Lack of education, employment and financial insolvency have made them morbid. It is a matter of great regret that the rural youth have a mania for going abroad especially in the Middle East to earn their livelihood. When they determine to go abroad even they do not hesitate to sell their last resources. Among them he who is caught into the grips of knaves succeeds and being a navvy he earns a meagre amount after years of toil. On the other hand, the rest of youth failing to go abroad and having no occupation cannot but marry as desire springs from loin and they use dowry to retain the mates. By beating with cruelty and threating of divorce and remarriage, the rural husband oppresses his wife when he gets no dowry although he knows the wife family has no means to pay them off and on. It is a crying shame the way a greedy husband treats his wife. As she is not economically independent, does not have an employable skills, her parents are not supportive of her, she resigns herself to a life to servitude, torment and dignity. As she fears the social stigma and trauma of a divorced woman and knows that there is no way out of this cul-de-sac she tolerates everything mutely.

Education is mend for enlightening and uplifting human being thus to make human life sublime. Everyone without distinction of sex needs practical education through which he or she can come out from age long practice in social or religion field that goes against common sense that is from superstition. A man should have both vocational and humane education. The former will make him fit for work aimed at economic independence and the latter will expand his vision and regulate the course of life. Practical education is sure to feed him and it is hoped that he will not covet for dowry as the swallow longs for rain-water.

Female education is a pressing demand that cannot be ignored by nominees. Napoleon said ‘I want an educated mother as she will give me an educated nation.’ I, being supported by the above quotation, opine that we should give more stress in female education than male education. The light of education will make her comprehend that she is not born only to do household work, rear of children and minister to the comfort of her male partner. But it is a fact that a woman has many special tasks in life and her sphere of duties is different from those of a man. An educated wife is a potential mother as she is mature enough to build up the career of her child. In this age of price-hike it has become difficult for the male partner alone to maintain a family. Not being a burden to him, she can share the burden of her husband to make the family economically independent.

It is heartening to note that government has been taking many initiatives by fits and starts. Some educational programs are compulsory free primary education throughout country, free and compulsory education for rural girls up to class VII, mass education, food for education etc. I hail them all. Food for education is a fantastic programme but in recent time many cases of irregularities and discontinuation of the programme disclosed in newspapers dip me into grief. Urged on by their parents to do work in the field, they (little children are leaving schools en masse. The circumstances remind me a short story-a devout father would give his little son ‘Zelepi (a traditional sweetmeat)’ for saying his prayers every day. Noticing the devotion of his son to prayers he once stopped giving ‘ Zelepi ‘-hence the son discontinued his prayers.

Government should take hearty attempts to make rural people conscious about their children’s education. In the case of necessity, it may employ field workers endowed with wisdom in villages to change the outlook of rural people toward sending their children to school. Urging the wealthy people to donate money for the welfare of society, government might take initiatives to create funds from which it can give some financial support to poor school-going children. ‘Pathakali (Blooming Buds of the Streets) Trust’ an initiative taken by the former president Hossain Mohammad Ershad was a praiseworthy and hearty attempt. But political upheaval in December 1990 toppled the Ershad regime and the mission of the trust was crippled, since there is a trend in our political practice of taking a fresh move by new government and closing almost schemes of the previous government.

Although government has declared free and compulsory education for rural girls up to class VIII, no marked progression of female education is noticed in villages. Almost all rural parents do not have a considerable sum of money for the education of their daughters. The rich and high class people can take part in the noble attempt to educate women by financing the educational programmes. In this context, the great contribution of late MA Sattar, an MB (Bachelor of Medicine) and nephew of the present Home Minister Major Rafiqul Islam Miah, who stood for MP election of 1991 from Chandpur, can be set forth as an example that might inspire our high class people. Maher is a union under Shahrasti Upazilla of Chandpur district. He was funding an educational programme aimed at giving stipend each girl student of Maher High School (not full name). After his demise, his American wife expressed her firm resolute to continue the scheme. So girls from all neighbouring villages come here to study and cent percent girls of Maher are educated. Without the patronage of high class people, no education programme can flourish in the penurious economic climate of our country.

If help and assistance come from quarters methinks it will not be at all difficult to educate our children. With the spread of education throughout the country, the movement towards greater freedom of women will accelerate. Dipped into the light of education both man and woman will learn to respect each other. Hence forward he (a man) won’t find her (a woman) guilty as she has got a cast iron defense.