Friday, March 20, 2009

Delhi CPI (M) Campaign Against Dowry

New Delhi, March 20: The Delhi state committee of CPI (M), organized a public pledge against dowry today at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Hundreds of people, both men and women participated. This programme marks the beginning of the party’s public campaign against dowry to be held during the course of this year.

The gathering was addressed by PMS Grewal, Secretary, Delhi State Committee of CPI (M), Anurag Saxena, Secretary, Delhi CITU, Sehba Farooqui, Secretary, Delhi Janwadi Mahila Samati, Puran Chand, Secretary, Delhi DYFI and Roshan, Secretariat member, Delhi SFI. Mohan Lal, secretariat member of the party presided.

The speakers attacked the dowry system as being based on unequal status of women in our society. Despite several stringent laws against dowry its practice has actually grown in a big way in recent years. Market driven consumerism has promoted and fuelled the practice of dowry.

Dowry has slowly gained enormous social sanction and is becoming a benchmark of social recognition and status. It is only violence related to dowry, which is viewed as a crime, not the practice, per se! Incidents of crimes related to dowry have continued to increase. The speakers sharply criticized the UPA government for diluting anti-dowry laws. The official apathy to dowry is starkly reflected in a recent study of dowry related crimes in Delhi that showed that the Delhi police recorded 90% cases of burnt women as accidents, 5% as suicide and only 5% as murder.

The speakers pointed out the havoc wrecked by dowry. Dowry has become an essential basis for the sealing of marriages. Dowry starts with the sealing of the match and continues through the engagement, wedding, birth of children and their marriages and on every important social event. Families are compelled to enter into either debt or spend their entire life-savings on dowry. Earning women today also bear the burden of dowry by shouldering the financial responsibility of their dowry for the purpose of marriage.

The increasing practice of dowry is leading to large-scale female feticide and promoting male-child preference rituals. Today the sex ratio of Delhi has dropped to only 821 females per 1000 males.

There is stiff resistance in society to self-choice marriages and giving daughters their rightful share in property that can help decrease the practice of dowry.

The speakers strongly criticized mainstream political parties like the Congress and BJP for refusing to fight against glaring forms of discrimination against women, like dowry. Such issues are often considered to be solely the concern of women’s organizations.

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