The bride looked heavenly seated on a royal parapet lit up with hundreds and thousands of artificial lights, huge pillars decorated with thousands of fresh and artificial flowers surrounded her. Every one present there fell silent with awe and admiration at her radiant and pristine beauty; laden with heavy gold and diamond jewelery, a trousseau embellished with pearls and sequence...She looked like a goddess waiting to enter a new and beautiful phase in her life..or at-least hoping to...! But were all those around only dumbstruck by her beautiful appearance or were they figuring out if she was loaded with so much expensive stuff then at what cost was the groom actually bought...?? !! Yes, now the latter seems to be more pertinent...!!
This is not the scenario of just one wedding or a wedding in just one part of India; It is infact true to many communities and many parts of India. A fairytale wedding is every girl’s dream – that one perfect day! But in the connotation understood these days it is expected to be a show of ones wealth;it is expected to be a show of how much the groom has received in the marriage market;marriage has become more of a cheap business deal rather then something ethereal and solemn.
Society pressurizes us to give every imaginable gift while marrying off our daughters – from shoes, a hundred dresses, cutlery and crockery sets to furniture for the newly weds room or better still, for every room in the house, a wide variety of gold, silver and diamond jewellery, a vehicle, gifts for every member of the grooms family and ideally a large piece of land as well. Most would term it as culture and tradition when actually this practice is "plain social blackmail".
Who is responsible for promoting this social evil? Is it the groom's side for demanding it directly or indirectly;the brides side for always obliging or today's brides and grooms who inspite of being well educated and well settled in terms of jobs still don't stop their parents from promoting this social evil in the pretext of age old traditions and culture !!!! Who is RESPONSIBLE ??
Why parents give daughters a good education when in the end they still have to ‘purchase’ a suitor?And how can a girl live "happily ever after" with a groom, who is like an expensive machinery and for life requires maintenance in terms of money from her parents ... !!
This is just one facet of this social menace has, people expect the brides family to get jobs for their son-in-law, pay their debts, finance births and education of their children, present the new family with lavish gifts on each and every occasion to come for the rest of their lives.Shouldn't all this extravagance and greed be baned from our society?
So how do we eradicate this social evil? In my personal opinion, I do not think that the senior members of our society who still think "dowry" is not "dowry" but a part of culture wherein we show our love for the in-laws can or ever will change their thinking...It is upto us the new generation and the generations to come to take a stand that no dowry disguised as "mandatory rituals", or "gifts" be either given or exchanged during marriages...It is upto us to make sure that marriage is the spiritual unification of two individuals and not a groom sale bazaar...!!