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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On Dowry--A Revisit

A lot of google-search traffic to this blog come to this post on the practice of dowry and related laws. This started me thinking more about the practice, and revisit the thoughts that went into that post.

I had argued that anti-dowry laws trample on the freedom of people to spend in any way they choose. However, I started thinking whether one should willingly give up one's right to give dowry--maybe as a pre-condition to live in a society that is trying to eradicate the practice.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to come to a conclusion. To be precise, I haven't been able to think of an example where I would willingly give up a particular right in order to live in a society. More thoughts will be appreciated.

4 comments:

crazybunka said...

You might willingly give up a right and abstain from an action if you feel that the implications of the action has a reasonable chance of affecting you.

ie, when you see the society as an extension of yourself.

May be one of these
1.Use of recreational drugs.
2.Selling liquor on the highways
3.Selling alcohol/tobacco to under-18's.

But it's a different story that we are forced to forego a lot more than this to satisfy the ego of the government and/or conceited individuals in the society.
-Shankar

Vinayak said...

Truth # 1 : Any husband (male) or a relative of a male can be charged / accused under dowry laws. Pl. ref Sec 498a of Indian Penal code.

Truth # 2 : Anti dowry laws are one of the MOST misused laws in India

Truth # 3 : Irrespective of one man giving up his rights (either to give or to receive dowry), the moment the woman makes a dowry allegation, the society still considered husbands are GUILTY untill proven innocent

Truth # 4 : It takes an awful lot of time for innocent men to prove their innocence in the Indian Judicial system

Please run a google search and you will see the number of VERY SAD stories on misuse of anti dowry laws

regards
vinayak

Puranjoy said...

@bunka,
I personally support the decriminalization of recreational drugs, but good example. As are the other two.
I was concerned more specifically about the marginal cost of a single individual accepting the dowry practice, and would the society be better if that person was made to gave up the right to give/receive dowry. Haven't been able to think that through, though :)

@vinayak,
welcome to my blog. As you might have guessed from my earlier post linked to in this one, I am all for abolishing the silly dowry laws. I think they are a serious waste of time and energy and just a silly face-saving ploy of the politicians who are unable/unwilling to do anything about the real problem--domestic violence. Creating a special category of domestic violence for dowries has just created a lot of incentives for people to game the system, which unfortunately a lot have done.

crazybunka said...

Joy,
My comment was aimed at these lines. To be precise, I haven't been able to think of an example where I would willingly give up a particular right in order to live in a society.More thoughts will be appreciated.

The cost of accepting this dowry law??
1.Makes life tougher for you if someone were to give/accept dowry
2.It also emboldens the govt to think that they are the gaurdians of the society and justifies their pandering to special interest groups who want to impose their will on the society in return for power for the law makers.
3.It weakens sections of society and makes em think that they need laws to protect them. Bloody, thats what the judiciary is for.

b.t.w why is dowry wrong?
its just another transaction between people..

Its ok for people to judge the groom based on his height, looks, qualifications,personal habits, friends, family etc

Its ok for people to consult gods, look at the girl's figure, baby producing caabilities,cooking,singing, dancing abilities,acne,her friends, lack of friends, money earning power, and lot of other stuff that seems important to the one who is looking.

But somehow looking for a girl/boy who can also bring in some money becomes a sin.

Its only people's holier than thou attitude, guilt, inability to protect themselves with a powerful judiciary, inability to speak their minds and the conceit at thinking that they are gaurdians of the society that makes this dowry law something to think about it.

Its just like most of the other laws in our obese democracy, JUNK.

Is the society any better with this law? NO.

So, is the cost justified in accepting this law? - NO.

If there is no law, is the society any better becos an individual doesnt ask for a dowry from his in laws - May be, it's too complicated if we were to try to figure out how it would prevent co-erced dowrys and stupidity related to that.

Is the society any better if an individual forbids his in laws from gifting- thats plain stupidity.

Is the society any better if the one who can give dowry, but doesnt as a matter of principle- Bad for his daughter/groom, but cant say if society is any better

what if someone cant give dowry doesnt force it on himself-good for him, good for everyone else.
-Shankar