KARACHI: Hardly a day passes by when one does not come across news about a young woman taking her own life because of constant harassment by her in-laws, or of a new bride being beaten to death by her greedy husband in connivance with his family. Most of these cases occur because the women refuse to give in to the constant demands of dowry.
Despite the discouraging numbers of abuse, many women have successfully stood up against the demands of dowry and their example should be emulated by others. It is often heard that dowry is a tradition and hence socially acceptable. The girl’s parents try to fulfil all the demands so that their daughter would be at peace once she has to live with her in-laws. However, the demands gradually increase to the point where her parents are often on the verge of bankruptcy. In the meantime, the girl is physically and mentally tortured by the in-laws.
The government has introduced legislation to prevent this practice and has made it a punishable offence. Moreover, the act of giving dowry should also be a crime so that people stop giving in to this pressure. Boys should come forward and refuse to accept dowry and girls should refuse to give in to the demands of such prospective proposals.
Media should play a very important role in combating this social evil. Running advertisements against the custom of dowry featuring popular personalities can have a strong impact. A similar campaign was conducted recently, and despite mixed criticism, it got many people speaking up against dowry. Of course, a social revolution is needed to completely eradicate this evil from our society. The fight put up by many brave girls and their families will hopefully encourage others in doing the same.
Syed Shahzain Naqvi
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2019.