In the days of yore small gifts like bicycle or a radio were enough, but today dowry constitute huge sums of money and an array of consumer goods.
Whereas the role of dowry seekers is highlighted, the role of dowry givers is often overlooked conveniently.
Dowry is paid by greedy parents of the bride as an enticement so that a groom who is wealthy, earning a handsome amount, holding a powerful post or settled abroad can be secured for their daughter. This will enable the bride to live a life of comfort and also get all the advantages offered by the social position of the groom. The irony is that if the marriage works, then this is regarded as a gift given out of love (and no further discussion regarding this matter is entertained by the bride’s family). If the marriage fails, then it is treated as dowry. Parents of prospective brides judge a man by his money rather than his character, moral upbringing etc.
Since the groom is treated as another consumer good that can be purchased for one’s daughter, the families of brides have no moral standing to complain about dowry. It is just another malaise of a hedonist society.
In certain states often the groom is coerced to pay heavy amounts to the family of the bride, even at the cost of his own parents and siblings. The bride’s family often lives comfortably at the expense of the groom. This should also be looked as dowry harassment of the groom by the bride’s family. Whereas the law provides for punishment of both dowry seekers and givers, feminist especially those at the helm of the National Woman’s Commission would like to reduce the punishment to dowry givers. Heavy penalty is imposed on dowry seekers but dowry givers are left scot-free. In an egalitarian society all laws should be gender neutral including dowry laws.
The problem of dowry stems from the current wind of consumerism and materialism that is sweeping our society and hence can only be treated through moral upliftment of society. Draconian laws are only used by feminist to further their anti-male, anti-family, anti-God agenda