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(19 Votes)

The history and origin of Dowry as a word in common parlance and as a practice in social relevance can be traced back to time immemorial from medieval times. What started as the daughter's share in the parental / ancestral property slowly turned into a social menace. This was attributed to girls' families' tendency to give dowry as a pre-assumption that the boys' family shall keep the girl happy and sometimes it is seen from the boys side as compensation to take care of the girl. But With increasing reports from the media about the torture meted out to the Indian Daughter-in-law about dowry harassment and deaths due to it, the Govt. of India formulated the Dowry Prohibition Act in 1961 herein referred to as The Act.

In this Act the legislature clearly laid down the process of formalization and criminalization of dowry exchange practice. The practices of GIVING, TAKING and ABETTING of EXCHANGE of Dowry were defined as a crime and in addition to that the process entailing the exchange and maintenance of gifts from either parties of marriage was defined. The Act is very comprehensive and if implemented properly can actually eradicate the dirty word called Dowry from the society.

But sadly enough this Act also met the same fate as other laws in the country - poor implementation with vested interests. And this act also became a tool to settle scores. The Act provided for appointment of Dowry Prohibition Officers, herein referred to as the DPO, in every district / taluk as the case may be, under a Chief Dowry Prohibition Officer, herein referred to as the CDPO, whose task is to oversee that there is no exchange of dowry in marriages taking place in their districts and any gift exchanges that take place is maintained as per the Maintenance Rules of List, 1985. Nearing half a century of its enactment, have the DPOs and CDPOs been able to achieve the objective for which they were institutionalized?

Well it's a difficult question to answer, as on one hand where a lot of marriages are happening with Dowry Exchange and surviving, there are hordes others that get killed by the misuse of some sections of the Act and a new form of Legal Terrorism is unleashed on innocent men and their families. Taking cudgels against both the evils, the existence of dowry system and the misuse of legal provisions made to tackle it, Save Indian Family Foundation, herein referred to as SIFF, an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony has decided to start the anti-dowry campaign with the launch of this website.

In this website we invite all the citizens of India to become Social Workers. If they happen to know that a dowry exchange is happening anywhere inĀ  a marriage or there is a whisper of extravagant / lavish spending in the marriage being done, they can lodge a complaint with us via a simple complaint form at the website.

SIFF Activists will follow up the complaint and contact the local DPO of the region and ensure with follow up actions that dowry exchanges do not happen in reported marriages and the DPO exercises power conferred on him / her as per the Act.

As the old adage goes, "Prevention is better than cure", the menace of dowry also needs the same treatment, and hence it is a strong belief of SIFF that this crusade against dowry will be effective and will achieve the goal as envisaged by the Women's Organizations but who are unfortunately grossly unsuccessful in achieving the same.

It has been SIFF's observation, that though the Women's Organizations vouch themselves as champions of women's causes and rights, they are not actually interested in doing anything about that. They are simply not interested in eradicating dowry from the society which is quite evident from their silence on non - implementation of the above salient features of the Act. They get funds from foreign agencies by showing these statistics and the day the problem is solved, their source of income stops and hence they want the dowry system to continue.

All they want to do is to appear at an appropriate time in a bad marriage and convert it to a case of dowry harassment and torture, terrorize the husband and his family. They are simply beating around the bush even when existing Act has comprehensive provisions; their demand for new laws simply shows they want to mess up the system with multiple litigations and faulty implementations so that their shop of selling Women's Rights continues.

Seeing this grave injustice and satire going on in the name of Women Empowerment, SIFF had to chip in with its unique idea of this website. The USP of the site as already mentioned is "Prevention is better than cure" and this is SIFF's belief that the dowry system will be eradicated with the support of the Indian Citizens.

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Movement Overview
Thursday, 09 October 2008

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Last Updated on Friday, 02 January 2009 13:11