Patriarchy is powerful, and to some extent invincible as well. Otherwise, in this age of modernity and social media, how could an educational institution in one of the most advanced cities of India come up with an article preaching the ‘Advantages of Dowry’ to its Sociology students?
Yes, you read it right! According to Facebook user Rithika Ramesh, the students of B.A. Sociology at the posh St. Joseph’s College in Bengaluru’s Shanthi Nagar were handed study materials that, among other things, also “enlightened” everyone about the advantages of dowry system prevalent in India.
So, as per the section in the chapter ‘Dowry Menace’, dowry “helps” the “ugly girls”, who would perhaps be without a partner for all their lives, get one. Furthermore, it also “helps” women lure “handsome” and “unwilling boys” into matrimony. And that’s not about it altogether. The material lists not two or three but as many as seven points in favor of dowry, which is, in reality, one of the most pronounced evils of our society.
The study material starts off claiming that though dowry is accepted as an evil practice, it has “some supporters”.
Strangely enough, despite being a study material formulated inside the college, there was not a single faculty or student (among the class of 60 odd pupils) who raised a voice of protest against this.
The Facebook post went viral in no time, with the same receiving as many as 1.6k reactions and almost about 7.5k shares on the social media site in a couple of days.
According to The News Minute, the college has said:
“The matter is being investigated and we are trying to find the root of the problem. Such views have never been part of the college syllabus. In fact the department and the college are opposed to such obscurantist and oppressive patriarchal views as are contained in the page cited.”
It is indeed strange to see how a study material in an educational institute, instead of heralding a change in the society, simply tries to showcase a social evil in a more matter-of-fact way. The way the article, in its end, says “The merits listed above does not mean dowry is recommended,” sounds much like the declamatory warning accompanying any cigarette pack.
At a time when the modern Indian society still faces much issues owing to the dowry system – with innumerable women being killed or taking their own lives as a result of the same – such articles simply go on to furnish reasons for the dowry system to go on shamelessly.