As inspirational messages are shared on social media to celebrate International Women’s Day, a viral video shows how a lot needs to be done on the ground to empower women.
The video, said to be from Bihar, shows a groom defending his family’s demand for dowry and refusing to proceed with the wedding if they are not fully met.
Dressed in wedding attire with the bride beside him, the man says, “How is it wrong? Who says there is no dowry system? It happens everywhere, some are known, some are not. You came to know because I did not get it, if I did, you would not know. That’s it.”
At this point, the groom is told that the bride’s family has arranged a part of the dowry and has assured that they will pay the rest later. To this, the groom replies, “Whatever has to happen will happen today, now. The wedding will take place only if my demand is fulfilled. Otherwise, we will leave with the baraat.”
The groom then says that the bride’s family had told him that all he had asked for had been arranged. “It was only after we came here that we found that all of it had not been arranged.”
Continuing remarks that reek of patriarchy, he then says the bride’s family should have found a match within their “aukat” (means). “If they approach people better off than them, people with government jobs and are not able to pay, how will the wedding take place? We have spent so much on the wedding. How will we manage?” the groom says.
When the bride tells the groom that he will soon get the remaining sum, he replies that a gold chain and ring are also pending and stresses that he wants all of it immediately.
Those speaking to the groom are heard saying that he is “educated” and should be mindful of the “humiliation” both families would face if the wedding did not take place. The groom is told to convince his father. The video ends with him reluctantly agreeing.
The video drew strong reactions, with many social media users criticising thegroom and demanding his arrest.
Dowry, though legally prohibited in India, continues to be prevalent. Unmet demands of the groom’s side often lead to physical and mental torture of the bride and even murders.
Under The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, anyone giving or taking dowry or abetting such acts is punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than five years and fine not less than Rs 15,000 or the value of dowry, whichever is more.