Understanding dowry

If the pervading propaganda (initiated by feminists) is to be believed, India is a uniquely depraved nation as marrying women are supposed to bring dowry to matrimonial home, a practice with no parallel elsewhere in the world. Many naively swallow this and there is no dearth of social-media posts that urge so called patriarchal-minded men to give up this outdated ritual that places a monetary value on women without respecting them for what they are.

The educated youngsters or feminists, who no lose no occasion to criticize this practice, never make efforts to learn what dowry giving/taking families think about this system.

  • Women themselves (those not working) wish to go to matrimonial home with dowry, for they think they will not be respected otherwise. Till the relation cements, newly-wed women are reluctant to ask husbands to buy them their requirements and do not wish to go empty-handed.
  • In families, where the woman has male-siblings, almost invariably dowry is the only form of inheritance they receive. In most cases, after marriage woman loses her rights in parental home and henceforth her rightful claim is only in matrimonial home.
  • Refusing to bring dowry doesn’t work in favour of woman because it ends up only in giving her brothers a larger share in property. It is seen in many instances that when woman do not marry, they do not get any share in the parental property at all. So for women, it is a choice between dowry and no share in property, automatically leading them to favour the former.

Further, dowry has more to it than appears:

  • Even from the same family, a man with a good position will get higher dowry than his brother who hasn’t been as successful professionally. So dowry is a move to buy connections and upward mobility for the woman’s family, since they as a family are poised to gain from this alliance. Rural families often give huge dowries to city-based grooms, in order to get a readymade footing for their entire families in the city. It is not uncommon to see wife’s brother(s) staying with the couple in city to pursue education or job. Dowry is given as an investment for the family’s growth.
  • With families going nuclear even in rural India, and many wives forcing their husbands to set up a separate household, the cinematic cliché of a bahu struggling in a huge joint family is hardly seen today. Irrespective of whether the couple is living with husband’s parents or not, the parents these days are no longer able to count of son’s support post-marriage as wives are increasingly allergic to this and differences crop up between the couple on this account. In the larger interest of their son’s marital life, parents are often forced to let them live separately and refuse to accept any financial assistance. Now, wife is the major if not the sole claimant to husband’s income and should she be able to win him over, the parents will be left stranded in their old-age.
  • With such unfortunate events not uncommon these days, parents are reconciled to let go their rights on the son after marriage. Indeed, that’s the reason why parents insist on marrying the daughters first, as they’re doubtful of receiving support from sons once married. But to recompense for the investment they’ve made on bringing up the son and forfeiting their rightful claim on his future income, the parents seek a full and final compensation during marriage in the form of dowry.

If the girl has brother(s), the girl’s parents in the pretext of giving dowry are actually disinheriting her. And in most cases, the boy’s parents in return of accepting dowry are forfeiting their claim in son’s future income. These two different unfortunate trends have fueled dowry-rise.

Propaganda surrounding rape in India

The ban on IndiasDaughter has attracted criticism from several quarters. Apart from the issue of freedom of press involved, the ban supposedly exposes India’s unwillingness to recognize its problems head-on. Many youngsters, whose understanding of the situation is almost entirely shaped by feminist sloganeering, fail to grasp the larger issues on hand.

Large number of rape cases

The moment we hear of a rape incident, we conjure images of a man/men brutalizing a hapless girl at knife-point or some equally gruesome scene.Going by the large numbers of rape cases registered, people invariably assume such scenarios in each of the reported case. However, this is but one of many instances that constitute rape from legal perspective.

Other scenarios include premarital sex with the promise of marriage if the man refuses to marry the woman later. Interestingly, a woman in relation with man for years (even live-in relation, for that matter) too can slap a rape case on him.

In other words, a woman can by retrospective withdrawal of consent turn consensual sex into rape case. In India, overwhelming percent of the rape charges are against a known man. So in most cases a mutually willing relation was later converted to rape charge by the woman (or by her parents) to absolve her guilt in public perception or to punish the man.

Rape charges are also filed with the intent of forcing an unwilling male-partner into marriage.If the man walks out of abusive relation, a vicious woman can file rape charges by retrospectively withdrawing consent. Many such charges are subsequently withdrawn if the man succumbs to marriage.

Nobody in right mind would have problem in adjudging that men who indulge in the demeaning act of rape should deserve harshest punishment. But are the above cases really rape? Can today’s sex become tomorrow’s rape? In legal parlance, such cases are termed ‘afterthought‘.

The existing laws make it very easy to foist false rape cases on any man without any checks. The man is considered guilty until proven innocent, in total contravention to the general presumption [innocent until proven guilty] in any other criminal charge. They’re defamed even before the trial begins, jailed and denied bail for long periods and their acquittal after long years isn’t as prominently covered as their implication was.

Consider an example of local politician wanting to remove an honest government officer from his region. The easiest way is to plant false rape case for all it takes is a willing woman.Since it takes years for the case to conclude, the officer is short-charged till such time. Of late, these cases have effectively become weapons to settle scores in rivalries.

Or as one episode of Saavdhan India showed: a tenant couple foists rape charges on their elderly landlord as they’re unable to pay rent and wish to blackmail him into giving huge amount in lieu of withdrawing case. The landlord is jailed and is denied bail repeatedly till few months. Although acquitted later, he commits suicide unable to bear the humiliation. This incident isn’t an outlier. Many rape cases are settled out of court, which is unthinkable if the woman in question was a genuine victim.

Back in 1950s or 60s, the assumption that no woman will lie on oath in this matter was probably valid, not today. However, the belief is being carried to this day. In this case Supreme Court judgment finds a man guilty of rape despite lack of corroborating evidence, on the strength of the girl’s testimony alone which was found clear and cogent. So all the girl needs to do to ruin a man is to be a convincing actress capable of withstanding cross-examination well without betraying her falsehood. Is it really unimaginable that a woman seeking revenge on a man can fake rape charges, act believably and inflict the most deadly legally available injury to him? Shouldn’t therefore circumstantial evidence attest the charges, to arrest misuse?

Unfortunately, many Indians still believe that women won’t approach police station unless genuinely aggrieved and it’s hard for them to get an FIR registered. On the contrary, there are occasions where despite the falsity and malafide motive of complaint being amply clear, the police are forced to register it as they fear being branded anti-women.

The misplaced clamour for instant justice

This is not to say that there are no genuine cases of rape, but false cases abound too. Hence the due course of law should be respected for every accused has full right to defend himself in the court of law.

Those demanding instant justice should understand how double-edged such a thing can become. Modern democracy survives on people’s faith on the system to protect them, so that they themselves are not forced to take law into their hands. Denying the falsely accused the normal course of trial and putting him to unnecessary humiliation and hardship to satiate public anger will only turn them into hard hearted criminals. Instant justice, without due diligence is the surest way to mobocracy which will shake our nation’s democratic foundation.

Why should Indians be bothered?

How do millions of Indians ‘know’ that US is a land of opportunities without once being there? How do we ‘know’ that Iraq is a war-torn without being there? Our perception, however inadequate or inaccurate, of other nations is formed almost entirely by media reports.

If a certain perception is allowed to float unchallenged, it in time becomes undeniable truth. Curiously, the west links rapes to psychology, and not to culture. Thus, it neatly pulls the issue out of public sphere (society) and places the problem where it truly belongs – private space(human psychology). It doesn’t allow media to paint their nations as insecure for women or vilify their men.

Indian women, the feminist types especially, should not confuse this issue with other areas where women are allegedly given step-motherly treatment. Rape, like murder, is a criminal act and derives motivation from darker recesses of mind and is not meant to be understood in conjunction with culture.

It has come to light that a German professor categorically denied internship to an Indian, on account of belonging to place with ‘rape culture’. Such incidents are bound to recur if Indians fail to act upon the onslaught of negative propaganda unleashed by likes of BBC’s documentary.