Dowry System in Bangladesh

By Nurunnahar Islam Munni

Bangladesh is a development country. In this country there are many kinds of unpleasant customs. Dowry is the most common unpleasant custom of those. It creates many problems. It is against the success of our country. Through this custom the bride has to give a large amount of money, furniture, ornaments and many things to the bridegroom. It is a very terrible situation for the society. Women & their family suffer a lot for this dowry system. I think poverty, illiteracy, narrow mentality, negative attitude to the women, dependence on husband and living on their income, social corruption etc are the main cause of dowry. Some time bridegroom wants money to do business or want to make his life settle with that money. In the village if brides are not beautiful to look at or if they get late married then they are to give a lot of money as dowry to the bridegroom. It is a much unexpected situation for the bride’s family members. They are to collect a huge amount of money for their daughters’ or sisters’ marriage. Sometime they are to take loan, sell their lands, furniture, ornaments and even their own house to collect the money. They are to lose many things and face many problems for this dowry system. We saw that women are tortured when they can not give any money to their husband. Some time we hear and see in the newspaper that some women are killed, some are hung and some are burnt by their husband, in-law’s family members and others. For this dowry system divorce, doing suicide, mental and physical tortures, number of broken family are increasing day by day. It is also affecting on the new generation. They can not give attention in their education; can not contribute in any development activities. It hampers their mental development. This custom is very disgraceful for our country. So we should try hard to remove this system from our country. There are some laws to remove it. But we can not apply them properly. We have to try to use these laws properly. There should be more steps on women’s right in our Law system. We should change our outlook, mentality by our Law rules. Narrow mentality of the greedy people should be changed and a hard punishment should be given to them. But good thing is that, at present our Government is aware about it. Therefore this system is changing. In the past it was so high in our country. Now we have a law that who will give dowry and take dowry--- all will be known as a criminal. So if we stop giving dowry then I think that this system will be end soon.

Dower and dowry: Muslim women still denied empowerment

It is paid to the wife only as an honour and respect and to show that he has a serious desire to marry her and is not simply entering into the marriage contract without any sense of responsibility and obligation or effort on his part. personal private. giving more value to property and money than the bride itself. By this very verse. there is now a large volume of ethnographic and theoretical literature on dowry and bride price. etc. dower. In . the dowry-related phenomenon is on the rise. its dissolution. Whereas dowry is a subsequent social development for the Muslim communities in Bangladesh with renewed effects after independence. Allah says in the Holy Quran: "Waaatoo an nisaa'a saduqaatihinna nihlatan" and give the women their dower with a good heart. such as. land laws. Much of this literature concerns the problems of the widespread switch from bride-price to dowry as marriage pre-stations. Outgrowths of Dowry: In South Asia. Social dowry: The rise in Bangladesh of the institution of dowry or daabi or joutuk has become widely prevalent. But except a few cases. mohor is not paid to the divorced women. and lastly. Nowadays it is seen that the dowry has become rampant for marriage in every community and is near universal in Bangladeshi society.g. that it is given by the husband to the wife as a mark of respect. Dowry or bride prices have received substantial attention in the anthropological literature. After divorce. which the wife is entitled to receive from husband in consideration of the marriage. In fact. LL. The word consideration is not used in the sense it is used in the Contract Act. In many respects. One is that in its incidents it is similar to Donatio Propter Nupteas of the Romans. In respect of dower there are three different views.Md Nur Islam. criminal law. It is also a provision for her rainy days and socially it became a check on the capricious exercise by the husband of his blanket power of divorce.M In Bangladesh. One of the very conceptions of Muslin personal law is dower/denmohor. The Islamic Law with regard to the same also prescribes that dower can be paid instantly or after marriage. that it is a device to control the unfettered power of the husband to divorce his wife. the legal system may be said to be pluralistic in the sense that there exists an uniform and non-religious system of law applicable to all Bangladeshis e. the husband has been assigned with the responsibility to pay the dower. There is a considerable debate what constitutes dowry in its various forms. Mulla defines dower as sum of money or other property. The Dennohor/ Dower is something that is paid by the husband to his wife. it becomes mandatory. the poormen are taking this chance of exploiting the bride's family to improve their fate from poverty and this is making marriage a commercial transaction. Joutuk is the money or valuable property demanded from the bride by the groom or his family as a consideration of the marriage. In a patriarchally-dominated social context dowry refers to property given to the bridegroom and his family but the anti-dowry law regards it as the exclusive property of the bride. According to Islamic law where there is a marriage there is a dower to the bride. while. custody of children and so forth fall within the purview of personal law of each religious segment. But most of the divorced women fail to realise the money despite repeated attempts. Second. marriage. family matters. Dower is considered a security to women who are always at risk of divorce in the social context of Bangladesh. on the other hand. Dower Under Islam: The mohor or dower is an essential component of the marriage contract.

which significantly were only applicable for the western wing or the country. These deaths of women are usually caused by the same persons who are legally and socially supposed to protect them i. prompt dower and deferred dower. The wife claiming the prompt dower stands as an unsecured creditor. Some authors confuse dower with dowry. Prompt dower becomes payable immediately after the marriage and must be paid on demand. but makes it obligatory for the husband to pay whatever amount has been specified and whatever amount is assessed if not specified. Perhaps the aspects of women's property or stridhanam in Hindu Law and as exclusive property of the wife are seen as synonymous. If the prompt dower is not paid she could refuse to stay with her husband and also can take legal action. The study shows. Where women are regarded as an unproductive burden a dowry is given to the bridegroom's side to compensate them. After Independence in Bangladesh the problems of dowry became so horrendous that activist women . Conversely. Islamic law does not prescribe any maximum amount of dower. India was first in South Asia to make an attempt to control the dowry problem by passing the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. dowry demands have been identified as one of major causes of murder of women in Bangladesh. Islamic law provides dower to enhance the status of women. jewellery. namely. the misconceptions still lingers on that she has been paid dowry than why should she be a part and parcel of the succession. And deferred Dower becomes payable at the termination or dissolution of marriage either by death or divorce. but this has now been clarified. If by deaths then dower can be recovered from her husband's estate through comprumise or suing. The anti-dowry law stated that property given as dowry belongs to the wife but later on amended the law. According to this view.Bangladesh it has become an acute problem resulting in breakage of social harmony and texture. but no similar provision has been made in Pakistan or later in Bangladesh. However. When dowry is regarded as stridhanam or promortem inheritance for women. The emergence of dowry and the switch from bride price have been explained by some authors as the cause of the decline of the earning capabilities and productivity of women. The dowry system is not recognised in the religion or the law of the Muslim societies. However. attempts have been made to curb the fixation of excessive. amounts of dower which go against the interests of Muslim women. the present spread of dowry cannot be explained only with variables like non participation of women in economic activity. Islamic law recognises two types of dower. contradictions arise and the equation of dowry with stridhanam has been disputed by several authors. Existing laws on Dower and Dowry: In respect of dower. There has been confusion over dower and dowry after the Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) Act of 1976 in Pakistan. If by divorce then dower can be recovered by compromise or suing in the family court. Some Confusions: There is a wide range of confusions in between dower and dowry system as prevailing in the society. It has been rightly pointed out that dowry deaths are gruesome reminder of the authoritativeness of patriarchy. And the dowry deaths are a common phenomenon in South Asia. Dowry as Social Stigma: Dowry is a social stigma.e their husbands or in-laws. This modern feature of dowry' means the transmission of large sums of money. cash and other goods from the bride's family to the groom's family. In India. Pakistan made relevant legislative enactments. role in productive activities. Oppositely. Subsequently. the system of dowry is closely linked with women's. the ultimate consequences of the stigma are dowry deaths.

the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act of 2000 exaggerated punishments in most cases up to death penalty for crime against women and children. The time has come to assess whether women are actually able to use legal remedies available under these new statutes. Even modern.e freedom from economic deprivation and violence.at least not for another century. well-educated families start saving up money for their daughter's dowry as soon as she is born. Under such pressure. which is not Islamic and specifically prohibited by state law. By abolishing the dowry system and proper appreciation and observance of the custom of dower the Muslim women can be empowered in the society. whose only form of education is tradition? When demands for killed. . The Dowry System Share Keywords: Indian | Women | Gender | Issues | Female | Tradition | Daughters | Marriage | Dowry | Brides | Gifts The dowry system is so deeply rooted in Indian culture. and often even parents don't want to have daughters is because of the dowry they will have to shell out at her marriage.and some enlightened males were demanding legislation to stamp out this social evil. The reason many dowry are not met. Concluding Remarks: 'For all practical purposes this dowry system. the Muslim women still are being deprived from empowerment. but will need to be supported by education and legal awareness. As the root of the problem of dowry appear to be social. Despite the enactment of stringent laws dowry related violence continues to increase. and the stress they go through due to never ending demands from her in-laws. is to be protected from violence and economic deprivation. this can be attempted by legislation. has become of much greater significance in the lives of the Bangladeshi people than dower. the bride is subject to torture. that sometimes one feels that there's going to be no way out . so what can one expect from the uneducated masses. Dowry problems involve both aspects of the needs i. remedies can only be achieved by changes of attitude in society. Due to inability in respect of realisation of dower and social impact of dowry system. the government passed the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980. More recently. The real need of women in Bangladesh.

Get serious about your daughter's education. If such giving is self-inflicted. but don't emphasise career options. One of the reasons dowry. is that they often expect that their son will be earning and supporting the wife. Those from regular middle and upper class backgrounds do send their daughters to school. You don't need to if your daughter is happily married and has a supportive husband . you're making a mistake. to help them save up for her dowry. They view education as a rite of passage. do so. very wealthy parents will happily support their daughters until they get married. When you go out of your way because you are the parents of the girl. at some level. parents of the boy ask for no matter what your financial standing. you are contributing to this evil. If your daughter is educated and has as good a career as her husband to be. it's something to brag about at kitty parties.Dowry is an evil. and it is only fair that she contribute somewhat towards the household by way of dowry. but don't feel pressured to give anything more than you receive to her in-laws. dowry. If gifts are expected . Give a token present to your daughter. In such cases. Often the boys parents don't demand dowry. Encourage her to have a career of her own. Similarly. so why push them so hard? Poorer sections of society would rather send their daughters out to work and earn some money. If their daughters do well. and the parents of the daughter flood her in-laws with gifts. If you want to give her something more. they know they will education very Because of the family status and their ability to fork out a high get good matches for their daughter.your daughter is married into the wrong family. give as much as you receive. condone it and even contribute to it. They believe their daughters will get married eventually. . Come festivals like Diwali or Holi.so DON'T. and husbands will support them. but our culture is such that we feel we must give something to the in-laws. you've got a strong step in your favour. and don't take their daughters seriously. Educate your daughters An astounding number of parents still don't lay enough emphasis on educating their daughters. evil system and all of us.

So if they treat her badly. delayed or insufficient dowry made some young wives the victims of murder by their husbands or in-laws. as she is not dependent on them. since a dowry can be a conditional gift. Providing your daughter with a solid of her choice is the best education. and other parts of the world. or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. Africa.Instead of giving her dowry so everyone is nice to her at her new home. a practice known as "bride burning" or "dowry death. to help the husband discharge the responsibilities of marriage. and to compensate the groom's kin for their payment of bridewealth. The giving of a dowry more or less disappeared in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. however. the dowry served to build the power and wealth of great families and played a role in the politics of grand alliance through marriage. so they can't help but respect her. give her a great career. to provide the wife with support in case of her husband's death. So they need her monthly contribution to the household expenses and dare not mess with her. and encouraging her to pursue a career dowry any parent can ever give their daughter. Some of its basic functions are to protect the wife against ill treatment by her husband. she can walk out. The practice grew. The dowry has a long history in Europe. In Europe. South Asia." . goods. since the dowry makes it possible for the young man to establish a household. in South Asia. In some cases. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: dowry Top Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Britannica Concise Encyclopedia Money.

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