Pakistan suffers from many social evils and superstitions. Dowry system is one of these great evils. Dowry is given in cash and any other kind to daughter during her marriage. This evil is found and practiced in all sections and communities of the country in one form or another. With it are associated many other evils like greed, prejudice against women, ill-treatment of girl child, bride-burning, taking of bribes etc., so as to be able to give money etc. in the marriage of a daughter. Many young women commit suicide because their parents cannot afford to give dowry. In many a case, parents borrow money on the exorbitant rate of interest to marry off their daughters and spend the rest of their life in great misery
It has become very difficult to find a suitable match for a girl without paying handsome dowry. It has soured the relations and there are tensions, ill-will, and disharmony in the families. Marriage has become a kind of business and exploitation of the parents of a girl. Parents of well educated and highly placed boys demand huge dowry both in cash and ether kinds. The rates are fixed according to the qualifications and career positions of the boys to be married. If the boys a doctor or engineer, the demand may be anything between 5 to 10 lakh. If the would-be groom is a CSP the rate is still much higher. Thus, bridegrooms are bought and sold like commodities and the girls are sacrificed on the altar of marriage. Marriage is no more a marriage of hearts and forging of happy relations of a convenient means, but a business transaction exploitation. Even very highly educated and well-off parents do not hesitate to turn beggars and demand huge dowries.
Dowry system is a matter of great shame and slur on Pakistani society. In no other country, an evil like dowry can be found. It reflects our prejudice against women. It underlines the fact that women in Pakistan are not treated equally and fairly. After marriages, women are harassed, ill-treated and even burned to death if they fail to bring in sufficient dowry. There is no limit to the greed of the in-laws of the bride. They demand more and more dowry even after marriage. It has turned many families into a hell. The evil has already taken a heavy toll of female life in the country. And yet there is no end to it. People are victims of double standards and double speak. They speak and preach against dowry but in practice, they make huge demands at the time of their in marriage.
Dowry system is against Islam and the law of equality of men and women. It is a crime to give and take dowry. But these are openly violated There are thousands of cases of dowry every year but very few offenders are actually punished. It shows that laws alone are not enough. Besides laws, we need more social awareness and effective social measures. We should create a movement and strong public opinion against the system. The movement should be taken to villages and every nook and corner of the country. More leaders, social groups, men and women should be involved in the movement against the evil. People who practise dowry system should be socially boycotted. Women organizations should hold demonstrations against such people.
Young men and women should be made take a pledge against the evil. The women should refuse to marry the men who demand dowry. Group and community marriages can also help in removing the evil. More and more women should be encouraged to take employment and become economically independent. The percentage of literacy among girls and women is very low. This rate should be increased. More schools, colleges and training institutions for women should be opened. There should be free education for women up to the university level. Spread of literacy and education among women can prove a great weapon against dowry.
The women themselves should come forward and fight against the practice of dowry. They should know their rights, privileges and strengths. They should stop They should revolt and expose thinking in terms of a weaker sex dowry practitioners. They should stand on their own feet and fight for their rights. Now there is much more awakening among women than before. But it is just a beginning. They should fight against all kinds of discriminations and unjust male-domination. The young men should frankly reject the demand for dowry from their parents. Demand for dowry reduces a party to a status of a beggar. The evil should be fought both on the levels of law and society. Very strong propaganda and movement are needed to eradicate the evil forever. Pakistan is a Mulsim state. We should follow the teachings of Islam. We must follow the example of our Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) in this respect. Dowry is an anti-Islamic tradition and we should discourage this practice.