While you might want to believe that marriages are made in heaven, in India they are only solemnized when the girl’s side hands the boy’s side “gifts”, like a fancy car, cash and gold. How are you making tall claims of equality, when so many women are still being treated as an encumbrance? The time has come for every woman to take charge and make a vow to remove this evil from society.
1. There is an Anti Dowry Act that came in to being in 1961.
Educate yourself and your daughters, sisters and friends about it. All forms of dowry are punishable by law.
2. Say ‘NO’ to the shagan ceremony.
The shagan was started as a simple introductory meeting. But the friendly gesture has become a reason to exchange lavish gifts. If your would-be doctor or engineer groom comes with a tag that goes into lakhs of rupees, get up and walk out.
3. Beware of a matrimonial ad that says: Looking for an IT professional or a working bride.
Modern society has designed modern forms of dowry. It might be an indirect method to stuff their lockers with your hard-earned money. Your in-laws and future husband might expect you to commit a part of your future earning to them in exchange for your professional freedom. You might be walking into a trap.
4. Say ‘No’ to all fancy car deals, which might come wrapped in the façade of a doli gift.
If your in-laws are expecting you to come to their home in a fancy big car, ask them to send one to your doorstep. Your parents are already handing them their most precious jewel. Break the norm of shaadi = big car
5. Stop endorsing the giving of gifts to all relatives.
The chachis and bhabhis of the boy’s side might have traveled many miles to bless you and the groom. That does not guarantee them a gift in gold or branded clothes in return. Since when did blessings go on sale?
6. Your daddy’s wealth should not be a criterion for marriage.
There will be prospective grooms who will be more interested in your father’s annual turnover, than your basic qualification. If you sense an unusual love for your father’s wealth, please show them the door instantly. A poor boy might make a better husband, and a rich girl might not make a good wife. Look for the perfect mate, not the richest mate.
7. Be adamant to carry only the wealth of values, ideals and the right morals with you as dowry.
If the boy’s side is shameless enough to ask for a share of your father’s property, imagine the level they are capable of stooping to once you get married. The choice is yours – a wealth monger or a simple, honest human being?
8. Don’t be willing to sell yourself to a green card holder.
While there is nothing wrong in looking for a well-settled boy, the problem arises when the groom and his parents put a tag on the kind of life that they are willing to offer you. We hope that in all the mayhem, you keep in mind that, at the end of the day, a wedding is supposed to be the bonding of two different souls for life.
9. It is better to get heart-felt wishes rather than a eight-course feast in a fancy hotel.
Convince your parents that they don’t need to compete with the rising levels of showing off, by spending lakhs to show your worth to the boy’s side. In order to be happy, all you need is the love and good wishes of a handful of close relatives and friends. The infamous Indian wedding drama needs to be stopped immediately.
10. All that glitters is not gold, it is greed.
Why choose to wear a wedding saree that cost lakhs and you don’t even look at it once you are married? That diamond set which cost a small fortune will spend the rest of its life time in a bank locker. Stop with this nonsense and set an example by keeping it short and sweet and simple. All those diamonds cannot guarantee you an ounce of true love. Only your true virtues can.
11. Your guests want an exotic location wedding? Ask them to pay for their tickets.
India must be the only country in the world where there is no limit to the amount of money that you can spend on a wedding. Your parents don’t need to pay a tax for getting you married to the groom. The change has to come from you.
12. Be open to the idea of an inter-caste or inter-religion wedding.
If you want to break the vicious circle of dowry and greed, be open to the idea of prospective grooms from other cultural backgrounds. It will take off the pressure from your parent’s head and will definitely give you more choice.
13. If things go bad, don’t give up; seek the help of the police.
Dowry demands could be made at the mandap, a day before the wedding or even before you sit in the doli. Keep your presence of mind, and just call the cops. Keep the hotline numbers handy. The problem has to be tackled at the root.