Project on women’s study
BY SYND BATCH
DOWRY SYSTEM AND SUICIDE
The modern definition of dowry: ‘Dowry is the payment of cash or any other valuable
gifts given in demand to the bridegroom’s family upon marriage.’
The problem of dowry has risen from past so many years. In spite of the Laws that the
Government has laid down, no strong action is taken whenever a bride and her parents are
encircled with this demon.
A verbal contract is accepted. The groom’s family keep demanding for all riches and wealth,
and the poor parents of the bride keep fulfilling , just for their daughter’s happy married life and
not to be missed ‘the big society.’
The origin of dowry system in India is not distinctly known. In the Vedic period, the
family of the bride would accept gifts and money from the groom’s family. It was this system
that led to the present day dowry system in India.
HISTORY OF DOWRY SYSTEM
The Aryans invaded the Indian sub-continent. The
Brahmins brought the idea of dowry. Wealthy
families gave dowry as insurance to the bride to care
for herself and her children during financial crisis.
Dowry was not a part of an Indian marriage before
European influence crept into the society. The
earliest examples of Europeans practicing the dowry
in India, the case of Mumbai, which was presented as
part of the dowry when Princess Catherine de
Braganza of Portugal was married to King Charles II
DOWRY SYSTEM IN ANCIENT INDIA
Dowry is derived from the ancient Hindu customs of ‘kanyadan’ and ‘stridhan’. In
‘vardakshina’ , the father of the bride presents cash or kind. All of these could be done
voluntarily and out of affection and love.
CAUSES OF DOWRY
Poverty is the main causes behind dowry. People often take dowry to reduce their
Because of the Illiteracy, most the people are unaware of the effect of dowry.
Narrow mentality behind the dowry system.
Negative attitude towards the women.
Lack of women’s Education in Families is the reason for giving dowry.
Lack of decision making power of women’s in family because in India, families are ruled
by father .Because of that the position of woman in a family is much disagreed.
Women are less independent then men. In India, most of the women are housewives and
have less economic power to control the family. Because of dependency women become a
burden in a family.
Some time bridegroom wants money to do business or want to make his life settle with
In a town, people think that giving dowry in a marriage creating more status in society.
10. In the village if brides are not beautiful to look at or if they get late married then they are
to give a lot of money as dowry to the bridegroom.
Dependence on husband and living on their income, social corruption and so on are the
main causes of dowry.
DOWRY IN ISLAMIC MARRIAGES
In the Islamic marriage, the bride may
bring dowry to the house. Contrary to the
popular view that Islamic mahr is a
dowry; it is not. Because the mahr is
mandated by the Quran; the dowry is
There is no provision in Islam that
forbids the exercise of women’s right to
contribute to their marriages. In fact,
under Islamic law, married women have
legal rights to share in family estate.
They may own properties, or be named
as beneficiaries of religious endowment
EVIL EFFECTS OF DOWRY
• PROBLEMS OF THE PARENTS
1 Emotional Disturbance, Psychological and Social Maladjustment of Parents
At one time, dowry used to be ‘accepted’ by the grooms party but now it has become to
the ‘demanded’. The result is that “from the day of the birth of the girl, the problem of dowry
haunts the minds of the parents. And if by misfortune, a man has three or four daughters; his
whole life is passed in solving only one problem how to arrange the marriage of his daughters.
This leads to emotional disturbances, psychological and social maladjustments.
2 Economic Straits
The dowry system was forced upon the society in the olden days. Whatever they earn, they
spend on maintaining the family standard in providing the necessities of family, educating
children, and meeting various social obligations. The result is that to marry their daughters,
they have to borrow money, especially when huge demands are made by the boy’s side.
3 Adopting Social Corruption of Foul Means of Earning
Parents of moderate means find it extremely difficult to meet out the expenses covering dowry
and all extravagances connected with the marriage. “Compulsion surely breeds corruption and
so sometimes the parents of the girl will have to resort to foul means to make money to meet the
dowry demand. Thus the girl’s parents indulge in malpractices in order to give money to their
4 Hard Works of the Parents
Because of demanding huge amount of dowry “the parents have to work hard to
provide the boys with good dowries. The parents are ready to do all kinds of works in order to
get money so that they can give enough dowries to their daughters. Because of their hard work
they have to face physical as well as mental sickness.
• PROBLEMS OF THE GIRLS
1 Female Infanticide
In many families, “birth of a daughter was regarded as a curse till 18th century and
there were cases when daughters born in the family were put to death. Since it was impossible
to determine the fetus sex there is no alternative in a poor or middle class family except to kill
the daughter in infancy.
2 Abortions after Determining Sex of Fetus
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. The invention of determination of sex of
fetus has increased the incidence of abortion or medical termination of pregnancy, when it is
determined that the fetus is of a female, without considering the psychological effect or physical
health of “Amniocentesis”. IN India, the middle or middle high class families are undergoing
the process of the determination of sex, of the coming child so that risk of the child born as
female child can be avoided.
Literacy is defined as the ability both read and to write at least a simple message: illiteracy,
conversely, is the lack of such ability.” “Many people think that it is wastage of time and money
to give education to their girls. Parents have negative attitudes towards the girl’s education.”
4 More Labour Burden
“Since parents are not able to arrange sufficient amount of money for dowry, they
will allow their daughters and sisters to take up a job and earn some money to be utilized at the
time of their marriage. The girls are asked to leave their schooling and forced to work.
When the girls join to work in order to get money and when these originally
innocent girls come into contact with boys who work with them in offices, educational
institutions, firms and companies etc. “The false promises by these boys of a bright future will
mislead the girls, and thus misguided. It is easy for a boy to escape from the dangers of loose
sex-morality but it is difficult for a girl to hide her shame, particularly when she becomes
6 Psychological Suppression of the Girls
The boy accepts a girl who belongs to a well off family, highly educated, in
service, and earns. His likings do not end here. He also wants a girl whose parents can pay him
much at the time of marriage. There are cases where the girl is highly educated, cultured,
homely, and accomplished, but not accepted as a wife only because her parents are not able to
Dowry system is a great pernicious evil. It will draw many girls to suicide, to save their parents
from economic drudgery.When the engagement is broken due to dowry the girl begins to live in
the society with a sense of insecurity, develops an inferiority complex, and remains emotionally
suppressed. “She feels herself to be a burden on her parents and sometimes in that gloom and
mental weariness is prone to commit suicide.
8 Affinal Relations
The parents who cannot afford to pay dowry to marry their daughters consider them a burden
for the family. Similarly, brothers consider their sisters as barriers in the achievement of their
aspirations. As a result, many a time the treatment given by parents and brothers to girls in the
family disrupts harmony in intra-family relations.
• PROBLEMS OF THE MARRIED WOMEN
1 Family Conflict
Dowry system leads to family conflicts. When a mother-in-law does not get dowry
to her satisfaction, she maltreats her daughter-in-law and abuses her father, mother and
relatives. “The emotional shock on the part of the girl and the authoritarian personality of
mother-in-law will lead to family conflicts.
2 Conjugal Disharmonies
Dowry affects the marital relations in a sizeable proportion of married couples. This
is mainly so because “the present day youths threaten their wives with desertion if they do not
bring enough dowry from their parents. This social evil of dowry is the major cause of
breakdown of marriages.
.3 Lowering of Women’s Status
The boy used to think of himself a dignified individual and views the girl as a
subjugated entity with an inferior and degraded status. At parents’ house she is treated as a
burden and in the matrimonial home, the dowry she brings is more important than her person...
The in-laws of the bride in an attempt to extract more and more dowry create an atmosphere of
harassment and cruelty. Generally it is found that a wife coming to the matrimonial home
without dowry is subjected to many humiliations. She as an individual has no utility unless she
4 Women’s Oppression/abuse/maltreatment
Dowry is the symbol of women's oppression. “She goes into her matrimonial home
with gold and accompanied by dowry which her parents have bought with their blood and sweat
and thereafter, pushed into a life of subservience. It gives to man the right to put a price on her
and accept or reject her marriage according to the money and goods she brings.
5 Dowry Deaths
A dowry death is defined as “the unnatural death of a woman caused by burns or bodily injury
occur if it can be shown that the woman was subjected to cruelty by her husband or her
husband’s relatives shortly before death in connection with a demand for dowry. Dowry-related
violence against women occurs among all subgroups of the population, the rates are higher
among the poor and the lower castes. Alcoholism is also associated with increase in violence
6 Treatments and Humiliation
Though dowry-death is generally understood to involve the murder of a woman on
the dowry issue in the family of procreation but before the act of killing, several forms of
harassment and humiliation take place against the victim. The humiliation generally will start
with criticism, followed by familiar scenes-insults, abuses and demands for more money. Some
women used to put up with victimization because they know that their parents are not in a
position to give more and to some other will think that things will change after the birth of a
The methods used in ill-treating daughters-in-law are:
(1)Abuses, insults, passing sarcastic remarks
(3) Denial of food or starvation
(4) Prohibiting them from going out and meeting any one
(5) Refusing visits to the parents’ home,
(6) Not permitting them to talk with visitors from the parents’ home
8 Brides Burning
A number of unfortunate young women in the society died of burning. The cause was
mostly their incapacity to bring the amount of cash or things demanded by their husbands and in
– law during the first few years after their marriage
9 Child Marriages
Dowry demand will also lead to child-marriages. For an educated girl, the more
educated and qualified husband is needed. This necessitates greater dowry. Thus the parents
prefer early marriages than to do so at a later age with higher demand of dowry.
10 Unequal Marriages
“Dowry is closely related to the financial position of the parents of the girl, many
people who are poor offer their young daughters to very elderly persons.”Girls are forced to
marry undeserving men, aged persons or with a man having one or two living wives or with
liqueur-addicts as no dowry need to be given to such persons
• As per data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in the year 2004
the number of dowry deaths reported were 7026 in 2005 the figure was 6787 and in the
year 2006 the figure was 7618.
• Cases registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act were 3592 in 2004, in 2005 it was
3204 and in 2006 the figure increased to 4504.
• According to NCRB, in 2005 more than 19 women were killed for dowry everyday, 50
were raped and 480 women were subjected to abduction and molestation.
• According to another study conducted in 2002, 45% Indian women are slapped, kicked or
beaten up by their husbands. India also has the highest rate of violence during pregnancy.
• In that study, the women who reported violence, 50% had been kicked. About 74.8% of
them had attempted to commit suicide.
A six months pregnant woman was poisoned by her husband over dowry in Vasantkunj,
New Delhi. She was declared brought dead to the hospital. A previous case was also filed
against the same man for harassing his wife who was resolved by them. This happened in a
posh colony in Delhi which tells us the concepts of dowry are prevalent in households in urban
Nisha Sharma of Noida who got the spotlight when she refused to marry due to dowry
demand getting bigger and filed a complaint against it. The groom and his father was also
arrested. The case was first of its kind to be covered extensively by the media.
• We have seen that government has been successful in passing strict anti-dowry laws.
• But according to the surveys and reports they have been unsuccessful in curbing this
menace. Crimes are on the steep rise when it comes to dowry related cases.
• Reported cases are still very low, as the families think that filing complaint would lead to
the damage of their social status.
• Leave alone crimes people of other religious groups have also started asking for dowry.
• On the other hand there have been cases in which women have misused the acts made to
protect their rights. This shows that anti-dowry law need refinement in respect of bias
LEGISLATIONS TO INHIBIT DOWRY SYSTEM
The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act: This act is in force, since 1st July 1961, was
passed with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry.
According to this law, asking or giving dowry can be punished for an imprisonment up to 6
months or fine up to 5000 rupees.
LOOPHOLES OF THE ACT
Its has dent and has proved to be largely
Does not specify the expenditure to be
incurred on marriage nor does it regulate the
gifts which are given at the time of marriage
Dowry still be extracted in the form of
customary gifts which is very vague term
Makes the giver and the taker of dowry
Thus this inhibits the parents of the bride
from lodging a complaint as they too would
IPC Section 3O4B: This section of the Indian Penal Code was inserted by 1986
amendment. The dowry death law defines a dowry death as a death of a woman caused by
any burns or bodily injury or which does not occur under normal circumstances within 7
years of the marriage. If this is proved, the women’s husband or relative is required to be
deemed to have caused her death. Whoever commits dowry death is required to be punished
with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may extend to
imprisonment for life.
IPC Section 498A: Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a
woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term
which may extend to 3 years and shall also is liable to fine. In practice, cruelty is taken to
Persistent denial of food,
Insisting on perverse sexual conduct,
Constantly locking a woman out of the house,
Denying the woman access to children, thereby causing Physical violence,
Taunting, demoralizing and putting down the woman with the intention of causing mental
Confining the women at home and not allowing her normal social intercourse,
Abusing children in their mother’s presence with the intention of causing her mental
Change the definition of dowry.
2) Gifts and presents given to the brides should be compulsorily registered.
3) Gifts and values above 50,000/- and above should be subjected to Gift Tax.
4) Women’s organization should play an active role.
5) Education and liberation of women.
6) Eligible girls and boys pledge against taking and giving dowry.
7) Enhancement and effective implementation of Anti-dowry laws.
8) Imparting education to women.
9) Reduce economic division between people.
10) Active support of a woman’s family as well as responsibility on the part of the men to
understand the wrongness of the practice.
• Change the attitude of men
towards women, women towards
men and women towards
• Media should highlight
women’s issue positively
• Educate the masses.
• Public felicitation for those who
marry without dowry.
• Maximum punishment for the
offence of dowry.
Suicide is among the top three causes of death among youth
worldwide. According to the WHO, every year, almost one million
people die from suicide and 20 times more people attempt suicide; a
global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40
seconds and one attempt every 3 seconds, on average. In India,
marital status is not necessarily protective and the female: male ratio
in the rate of suicide is higher. The motives and modes of suicide
are also distinct from western countries. Suicide is nevertheless a private and personal act and a
wide disparity exists in the rates of suicide across different countries. Women’s commit suicide
due to numerous reasons, out of which sexual harassment is one of the most common reason to
be paid heed to .Women’s of all age groups i.e. is from teenage or adult women or middle aged
women can be a victim of suicide due o sexual harassment .rape not on affects the victim
physically but also emotionally., psychologically and socially.
History of Women’s Suicide
The story of suicide is probably as old as that of man himself. Through the ages, suicide has
variously been glorified, romanticized, bemoaned, and even condemned. However, the Vedas
permit suicide for religious reasons and consider that the best sacrifice was that of one's own
life. Suicide by starvation, also known as ‘sallekhana’, was linked to the attainment of ‘moksha’
(liberation from the cycle of life and death), and is still practiced to this day. Sati, where a
woman immolated herself on the pyre of her husband rather than live the life of a widow and
Jahuar (Johor), in which Rajput women killed themselves to avoid humiliation at the hands of
the invading Muslim armies, were practiced until as recently as the early half of the
20th century; stray cases continue to be reported.
Suicide rate for Adolescents
The suicide rate for adolescent is more than doubled since the 1980’s. So the challenge for
parents and educators is to be able to tell the difference between normal teen mood swings and
clinical despair. Times magazine points out that males act differently from females when it
comes to suicide.The suicide rate is six times higher among males than females aged 15-19
years of age, because of academic or peer pressure, etc. While for female between 20-35 years
of age the suicide rate is three time higher among women than men.
Causes of Suicide
In India, the top 10 causes or correlates of suicide in 2012 were family problems (25.6%),
illness (20.8%) [including insanity/mental illness (6.7%)], unemployment (1.9%), love affairs
(3.2%), drug abuse/addiction (3.3%), failure in examination (1.6%), bankruptcy or sudden
change in economic status (2.%), poverty (1.9%), and dowry dispute (2.3%). The high rates
of suicide among persons with mental illness and drug abuse/addiction, though not a measure of
intent, are of much concern. Many of the remaining causes [namely, suspected/illicit relation,
cancellation/no settlement of marriage, not having children (barrenness/impotency), death of a
dear one, dowry dispute, divorce, ideological causes/hero worship, illegitimate pregnancy,
physical abuse (rape, incest, etc.), poverty, professional/career problem reflect the unique social
structure of our society and the social pressures that individuals face
Love affairs and family problems seem
to be the major reasons why people in India end their
lives more than economic causes, such as poverty,
unemployment or insolvency, according to statistics
published by the National Crime Records Bureau
(NCRB). Incidence of suicide due to family problems
accounts for 25.6 per cent of all such deaths recorded in
the country in 2012, while love affairs account for 3.2 per
cent. According to the NCRB report ‘Accidental Deaths
and Suicides in India 2012’, 2 per cent of all suicidal
deaths were due to bankruptcy or sudden change in
economic status. Incidence of suicides due to poverty and
unemployment stood at 1.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent
respectively. In all, family problems (25.6 per cent) and love affairs (3.2 percent) accounted for
28.8 percent of total suicides in the country during 2012.Maharashtra recorded 6,496 deaths due
to love failure suicide.
Untreated mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others) is
the cause for the vast majority of suicides. Also, some people are genetically predisposed to
depression, and thus they may not appear to be undergoing any negative life experiences, yet
still become depressed, and may die by suicide.
So it is very rare that someone dies by suicide because of one cause. Thus, there are usually
several causes, and not just one, for suicide.
Many people die by suicide because depression is triggered by several negative life experiences,
and the person does not receive treatment – or does not receive effective treatment – for the
depression. (Some people need to go through several treatments until they find one that works
for them.) Some of the negative life experiences that may cause depression, and some other
causes for depression, include:
The death of a loved one.
A divorce, separation, or breakup of a relationship.
A serious loss, such as a loss of a job, house, or money.
A serious illness.
Intense emotional pain.
Loss of hope.
Being victimized (domestic violence, rape, assault, etc).
A loved one being victimized (child murder, child molestation, kidnapping, murder, rape,
A feeling of not being accepted by family, friends, or society.
A horrible disappointment.
Feeling like one has not lived up to his or her high expectations or those of another.
Bullying. (Adults, as well as children, can be bullied.)
In Case Of Children
Not able to concentrate on studies, frequent absence from school, strict teachers, not
completing home work, Project work, punishment at school, ashamed of some incident, report
card tampering, failure in exams, caught stealing, Insult in the class by teachers, scolding by
Raging in the college, discrimination by lecturers in paper valuations, shortage of attendance
in college, absconding from college, not allowed to appear for exams, caught while copying in
exams, not well prepared for the exam, not done well in exams, guilt feeling of getting less
marks, dispute with lecturers, quarrel with other students, insult before class students or girl
friends, dispute in college games, involvement in politics, failure in exams, addiction to bad
habits, involved in drug addiction, mixed hands with anti social elements, involved in crime,
failure in love, love not accepted by the opposite sex, opposed by parents, triangular love,
cheated in love ,differences with parents wishes etc.
The effects of suicidal behavior or completed suicide on friends and family members are often
devastating. Individuals who lose a loved one to suicide are more at risk for becoming
preoccupied with the reason for the suicide while wanting to deny or hide the cause of death,
wondering that they could have prevented it. The effect of suicide on friends and relatives are
Myths & Facts
1. Myth-Only intelligent people commit suicide, whereas religious people do not.
Fact-Anyone can attempt suicide irrespective of their intelligence or affinity to god.
2. Myth-Strong mind and confident people never attempt suicide only weak minds do.
Fact-Strong minds do not exist. Each one of us can suffer from sadness and depression and
attempt suicide, though some are definitely more vulnerable than others.
3. Myth-People who talk about suicide do not commit suicide.
Fact-It is not safe to assume that someone talking about suicide will not attempt it; the
majority of those who attempt suicide have state their intent to someone.
4. Myth-Suicide occurs more often among the wealthy.
Fact-Suicide knows no socio-economic boundaries.
5. Myth-Those who consume addictive substance shares their pain and is less likely to take their
Fact-Alcoholics are 100 times more likely to attempt suicide than others.
6. Myth-Educational institutes are always responsible for student’s suicides.
Fact-Educational institutes may not always be responsible for all suicides but the rate can be
reduced facilities ignoring students.
7. Myth- Suicide attempts should be hushed up and treated by close friends and relatives.
Fact- Suicide attempts should be always informed to the police and a psychiatrist/counselors
examination will help to treat the cause and prevent further attempts, friends and relatives can
assist the treatment.
8. Myth-When depression lifts, there is no longer danger, of suicide.
Fact-This is dangerous misconception. The lifting of depression often accompanies the
development of a suicidal plan and the final decision to commit suicide. If the improvement in
mood is sudden and circumstances have not changed, the risk of suicide remains high.
9. Myth-People who attempt suicide just want attention.
Fact-Suicide should be considered a “cry/for help”. People overwhelmed by pain may be
unable to let others know, they need help, and suicide may seem the best way to relieve the
pain, suicidal behavior may be a desperate move to reach out for much needed help.
10. Myth-People who attempt or commit suicide are mentally ill-psychotic.
Fact-Many suicidal persons historically have had difficulty in working through problems.
Other people who attempts or commit suicide choose it as an option when their previously
successful means of coping up is not effective and they are unable to otherwise stop the pain
they are experiencing. A history of mental illness does not increase the risk of suicide
To provide emotional support make the person feel loved, affectionate.
Helping the person to solve problem. Find solutions to the problem.
Suggest alternatives to solve the problems.
Stay calm, cool and collected.
Enlist the help of professional:
A mental health professional.
A school psychologist.
A school guidance and counselor.
A school social worker.
6. Role of media :
• The role of the media is becoming increasingly relevant. The media and internet have been
identified as playing a crucial role in the dispersion of information about novel suicide
• It was hypothesized that the 80% reduction in the rates of subway suicides observed in the
subsequent 6 months was due to the introduction of these guidelines.
• A more recent study using interrupted time series analysis has confirmed these findings and
the authors believed that the effects were due to changes in the quality and quantity of