Dowry is the payment in cash or kind by the bride's family to the bridegroom's family along with the giving away of the bride in Indian AND Bangladeshi marriage. Kanyadanan is an important part of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and Dana means gift.
Dowry originated in upper caste families as the wedding gift to the bride from her family. The dowry was later given to help with marriage expenses and became a form of insurance in the case that her in-laws mistreated her. Although the dowry was legally prohibited in 1961 it continues to be highly institutionalized. The groom often demands a dowry consisting of a large sum of money, farm animals, furniture, and electronics.
Originally, the purpose of a dowry was to help a husband to feed and protect his family, and to give the wife and children some support if he were to die. Even in the oldest available records, such as the Code of Hammurabi, the dowry is described as an already-existing custom. Regulations surrounding the custom include: the wife being entitled to her dowry at her husband's death as part of her dower, her dowry being inheritable only by her own children, not by her husband's children by other women, and a woman not being entitled to a (subsequent) inheritance if her father had provided her dowry in marriage. If a woman died without sons, her husband had to refund the dowry but could deduct the value of the bride price; the dowry would normally have been the larger of the sums. One of the basic functions of a dowry has been to serve as a form of protection for the wife against the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. In other words, the dowry provides an incentive to the husband not to harm his wife.
1.2 Definition of Dowry:
Dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly, but one party to a marriage to the either party to the marriage; or by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other persons, at the time of Marriage or at time before or after the marriage as consideration for the marriage of the said parties but does not include dower or Mohr in case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shari at) applies.
According to Section 2 Dowry Provision Act,1980- unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, "dowry" means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly-
(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person to either party to the marriage or to any other person;
(at the time of marriage or at any time) before or after the marriage as consideration for the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.
The words "tit the time of marriage or at any time" were substituted for the words "at or" by section 2 of The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Ordinance, 1984 (Ordinance No. LXIVofl984)
Dowry as Money, goods or other property given or promised directly or indirectly by the brides side to the groom or his father, mother or any other person from the bridegrooms side at the time of marriage as consideration or condition of the marriage and any such money, goods or property demanded from the bride or the bride's side by the groom, his father or mother or any person from the groom's side Section 2(j).Dowry refers to a gift or payment by a bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. As an archaic usage, dowry can also refer to dower, the goods a woman brings to a marriage and retains some power over. Less commonly, dowry refers to a gift or payment or property given by a man to or for his bride.
In South Asia today, "dowry deaths" are sometimes a problem: a dowry, paid on marriage, is returnable if the marriage ends. If the husband is unable to repay the dowry, the death of the bride is the only way to end the obligation.
Dowry is the payment in cash or any kinds of gift by the bride's family to the bridegroom's family along with the giving away of the bride (called Kanyadaan) in Indian marriage. Kanyadanam is an important part of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and, Dana means gift.
"Wa aatoo an-nisaa'a saduqaatihinna nihlatan… And give the women their dower with a good heart… This verse is addressed to the husband because it is their responsibility to pay the dower. This verse shows that the dower must be given to the wife and should not be given to the guardians. There are other verse which shows the obligation to pay dower to the wife. Regarding dower there are 3 different views. One is that in its incidents it is similar to Donations propter Nupteas of the Romans. Second that it is given by the husband to the wife as a mark of respect; and third that it is a device to control the unfettered power of the husband to divorce his wife. where there is a marriage there is a dower. It is a bridal gift. It is a token of respect to the bride.’
There is considerable debate what constitutes dowry in its various forms. The confusion is more acute as in the societal context dowry is differently defined than in anti-dowry law. In a patriarchal dominated social context dowry refers to property given to the bridegroom and his family but the anti-dowry law regards it as the exclusive property of the bride. The, modern phenomenon of dowry, property given or agreed to be given to the bridegroom or his relatives, does not tally with the earlier concepts of bride-price and with the customary concepts of giving property to the bride herself. Dowry and bride price have received substantial attention in the anthropological literature. In fact, there is now a large volume of ethnographic and theoretical literature on dowry and bride-price. Much of this literature concerns the problems of the wide-spread switch from bride-price to dowry as marriage pre- stations. Dowry (Dahej/Hunda) as we all know is paid in cash or kind by the bride's family to the groom' s family along with the giving away of the bride (Kanya-dana). The ritual of Kanya-dana is an essential aspect in Hindu marital rites: Kanya = daughter, dana = gift. A reason for the origin of dowry could perhaps be that the groom and his family had to take up the 'onerous' responsibility of supporting the bride for the rest of her life. Bride-price on the other hand involves the receipt of presents, in cash or kind, by the bride's family in return for giving away of the bride. Hence bride-price has the character of an exchange.l9
A dowry (also known as trousseau or to cheer) is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage.'1' Compare bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both dowry and bride price. The dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well predate records of it.20 So it says that the money, goods, estates, ornaments, property or any other payment which is given by parents or any other members of the family of bride to the bridegroom at the time being of marriage or before or after the marriage by forcibly.
2. History of Dowry System
The Dowry Custom in Bangladesh has a long history in Europe, South Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. One of the major functions of the society and the state should be to protect women against ill treatment by their husbands and husbands' kin. The giving of a dowry more or less disappeared in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. In India and Bangladesh, although illegal, the dowry practice is still common. It is especially common in arranged marriages and rural areas and widely recognized as a Traditional ritual of marriage.
Bangladesh suffers from some evil culture and superstitions. Dowry system is one of the worst evil cultures in this society. A dowry is a gift of money or valuables given by the bride's family to the groom and the newly formed household at the time of their marriage. It has been an ancient and widespread practice. This bad culture is found and practiced more or less in communities of the country.
In some eases, parents borrow money on exorbitant rate of interest to marry their daughters and sisters and spend rest of their life in great misery. Every year many young women commit suicide or face physical torture after marriage because their parents cannot afford to give dowry. Day by day, marriage has become a kind of business and exploitation of the parents of a girl. A recent survey conducted by Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation in 2008 in three districts in northern side of Bangladesh found that every two out of four family are involved in this bad tradition.lt is obviously true that some parents meet up their demand behind cause of brightness future of their daughter. But this system would break family ties in future. They would not think the long term bad effects of it. The dowry system creates several kinds of gender discrimination. Maximum sectors of our society the dowry system are prevailed. The opinion of social researcher Mohammad Khairul Alam is that dowry system is a matter of great shame and bad culture in our society. It paves the way of gender discrimination. Apart from that, the bad culture hinders a good relationship between the provider and receiver of dowry. As a result, it creates problems between family and within the society. Each year, this bad culture costs a large number of women's life while it causes many other women to live a degraded life."Social researcher Altaf Hossain Mahabub said, "If we don't stop this practice, our society will destroy one day." Md Ismail Hossain, Assistant Director of Bangladesh Bank said, "If we want to overcome this situation, we have to emphasize ant- dowry campaign in our society." Md. Ahsan Habib, Professor of Asian University said, "Only by changing our social perception, it is quietly possible to remove dowry system from our society." Social researcher Md. Mostak Ahmed, "If we can reduce the availability of using the women in commercial purpose, their social value will increase and then it will be possible to reduce the dowry from our society." There are thousands of cases that few offenders are actually punished. It shows that only law is not enough to protect the women against injustice. It needs social awareness and effective measures. The registration of marriage should be made compulsory. The women and their parents should refuse the men who want dowry. Men and women should promise against the dowry system. We should create a movement and strong public opinion against the dowry system. The movement should spread to villages and every nook and corner of the country. Besides, government and NGOs should be involved in the movement against the course. People who practise dowry system should be socially boycotted.
Some manners and customs have maintained existence with their harmful power in Bangladesh, a congested country. Among of them, one is the dowry custom and it has been extension since long time in our rustic society. Mainly, this custom came from the manliness society. In rustic society, at the time of a girl's marriage, her helpless parents have to give wealth to the bridegroom as gifts and the wealth is called dowry. Dowry has become a disease in the villages of Bangladesh. In villages, the poor parents have to buy the happiness of their daughter by exchanging money from the group of bridegroom. The group of bridegroom considers the dowry as their due and the bride as the thing of business.
If the parents of bride can give the dowry, then the daughter can be married. Otherwise, the daughter has to lead a virgin's life at a corner of home. Sometimes it is seen that the girl is married but she has borne oppression in her in law's house because her parents could not fulfill the demand of the bridegroom. On the other hand, if the parents of the bride are rich, the quantity of dowry is being increased. In our country, many hard rules are being written for uprooting the dowry custom. Therefore, to remove this manifest problem from our country, women have to be sincere and strong. They should also do obstruction to this custom. Then Bangladesh will become a dowry less country.
2.1 Dowry in Europe
A dowry-the money or property a bride brings to her husband at marriage-was common throughout much of the ancient world, and also flourished in medieval Europe. Dowry was widely .practiced in Europe. In Homeric times, the usual Greek practice was to give a bride price. Dowries were exchanged in the later classical time (5th century BC). Ancient Romans also practiced dowry, though Tacitus notes that the Germanic tribes practiced the reverse custom of the dower. In many places around the world, weddings were formal occasions, accompanied by much gift giving and ritual. The practice of dowries apparently originated when a bride's parents gave her gifts. As time went on, the dowry developed various functions. A dowry of household goods often helped the newly weds set up their own home. A dowry of property or jewelry would help the wife support herself if her husband died. Generally, the husband returned the dowry to his in-laws if he and his wife divorced or if his wife died child less. Sometimes, the groom's family paid for the bride, often to compensate her family for the money spent raising her. If the bride had been a valuable worker, her family was sometimes compensated for the loss of her economic support. Failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could cause a marriage to be called off. William Shakespeare made use of such an event in King Lear, one of Cordelier’s wooers ceased to woo her on hearing that King Lear will give her no dowry. In Measure for Measure, Claudio and Juliet's premarital sex was brought about by their families' wrangling over dowry after the betrothal. Angelo's motive for forswearing his betrothal with Mariana was the loss of her dowry at sea. Folklorists often interpret the fairy tale Cinderella as the competition between the stepmother and the stepdaughter for resources, which may include the need to provide a dowry. Gioacchino Rossini's opera La Cenerentola makes this economic basis explicit: Don Magnifico wishes to make his own daughters' dowry larger, to attract a grander match, which is impossible if he must provide a third dowry.
Providing dowries for poor women was regarded as a form of charity by wealthier parishioners. The custom of Christmas stockings springs from a legend of St. Nicholas, in which he threw gold in the stockings of three poor sisters, thus providing for their dowries. In some parts of Europe, land dowries were common.
In Grafschaft Bentheim, for instance, parents who had no sons might give a land dowry to their new son-in-law. It was commonly given with the condition that he takes the surname of his bride, in order to continue the family name. In Victorian England, dowries were seen among the upper class as an early payment of the daughter's inheritance. Only daughters who had not received their dowries were entitled to part of the estate when their parents died. If a couple died without children, the woman's dowry was returned to her family.
2.2 Dowry in Asia
Dowry is a common practice in many Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In India, where incidents of bride burning and dowry death acquired notoriety, the payment of a dowry has been prohibited under in 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In Bangladesh the payment of dowry has been prohibited under in 1980 Dowry Prohibition Act and Nari O Sishu Nirjatan Damon Ain, 2000.
2.3 Dowry in Rome:
A groom of the Roman people pays the bride's family for the loss of their daughter. The bride price also ensures that the bride will be well treated by her new family. Negotiations between the families of the bride and groom can become quite extensive, with the bride's father calculating how much his daughter has cost him since her birth, and how much she could be expected to earn during her lifetime.
When agreement is reached, a ceremony, called a pliashka, is held. The groom's father brings a bottle of wine or brandy wrapped in a colorful silk handkerchief and attached to a necklace of coins. He puts the necklace around the bride's neck and embraces her. This indicates that she is now engaged and unavailable to any other man. The wine is drunk, but the bottle is refilled for use at the wedding ceremony.
2.4. Dowry in Islam
A woman holds a very high status in Islamic faith. She is honored and respected at all times, but many startling transgressions have crept into Islamic practice. These transgressions have been caused by cultural influence that has no basis in Islamic scripture. Muslims living in the Indian subcontinent have slowly incorporated the act of dowry into their lives. Dowry originated in the upper caste Hindu communities’ as. a wedding gift (cash or valuables) from the bride's family to the groom's family. There is nothing strange or unique about a culture influencing Muslim practice, as it is a common characteristic around the globe that when a new religion spreads in an area, people who live in that area retain some of the customs and traditions which they have been practicing for centuries. There is nothing wrong with this as long as those practices do not contradict Islamic law. The practice of dowry, however, does in fact transgress Islamic law. We usually use the word gift for something, which we give voluntarily, to a person we like. A gift is something that strengthens the friendship bond between two people. Dowry, which is usually defined as a "gift" given along with the bride, by a bride's family to the bridegroom, is used as tool of coercion and greed in societies like India. The bride's family must give this "gift" or the marriage will not take place. Always the price of the dowry is set higher than the bride's family can afford and sadly, this results in the bride becoming a burden on her family. The bride's family then struggles to pay the "gift".5 In Islam it is the man who pays Mahr (dower) to the woman. The following verses in the Qur'an prove that it is the man who is obligated to pay the Maher (dower) to the woman unless the woman chooses not to take it. "And give women (on marriage) their dower (Mahr) as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer."
Cultures that demands dowry from the bride's family, are actually practicing the opposite of what Allah commanded. They have reversed Allah's words in their practice. The bride is forced to pay a negotiated amount to the groom unless the man chooses not to take it.
When the woman brings less than the negotiated amount, she has to endure constant torture from her in-laws after marriage. When the husband or in-laws are not satisfied with the dowry brought by the bride, they even go to the extent of killing the woman after marriage. The most severe among all the dowry abuse is "bride burning". The parties engaged in the murder usually report the case as an accident or suicide. While dowry abuse is most common among Hindus, it is rising among Muslims too. Dowry abuse is rising in the Indian Sub continent despite a Dowry Prohibition Act being passed in 1961. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports 6,285 dowry deaths in 2003. The official records are always under reported.
It is obvious that this crime is under reported, for e.g.: In Delhi 90% of cases of woman being burnt are recorded as accidents, five percent as suicides and only the remaining five percent were shown as murder. The statistics of dowry deaths in whole of India is spine chilling many women remain unmarried due to this dowry. Even worse is that, when Muslim men who intend on honoring the Mrt/jr(dower) to the bride, the bride rejects them.
The women prefer to remain unmarried rather marrying some one who is not from their culture. Another practice is that people tend to exchange their sons. In other words, they give a bridegroom (mostly their son) to a girl to be married in exchange for a bridegroom from girl's family (the bride-to-be's brother or any unmarried male relative) so that they can have their daughters married without dowry. This places an incredible disadvantage on the parents who have daughters and no sons.
The parents of daughters end up giving money to get their daughters married! It is a sad irony that women (mostly mothers-in-law) end up being the ones who direct oppressive attitudes toward other women (daughters- in-law). Mostly, mothers-in-law-to- be are the ones who demand dowry from the bride's family and who end up torturing the daughter-in-law after marriage if she brings less than the negotiated amount. When I asked his mother why she is demanding a dowry from the bride, she said, "We have spent so much on our son, for his education, for raising him and now we will marry him off and most of the money he earns will go to his wife. So she will be benefited from all the money we spent on him. For that they can pay some amount to have our son." So in an effort to respect parents and to conform to cultural norms, Muslim youth in India are bending over backwards to follow traditions that aren't even rooted in Islam. Demanding dowry and getting married may seem valid in the eyes of many, but will the marriage be validated in the eyes of Allah? Dowry is purely a matter of culture. One should not feel obliged to continue these un Islamic traditions. If a culture contains un Islamic aspects, then one should not feel any shame to break the culture's traditional practices. The practice of dowry has caused Muslims in many parts of the world to continue their prejudices against women despite the Islamic prohibitions against it. In the Indian subcontinent, a woman is considered to be a great burden mainly because of the dowry system. Here, it is common to see people rejoicing over the birth of a son and lamenting over the birth of daughter. In India, the reason why people prefer male children over female children is mainly due to cultural practices such as dowry. Why aren't people listening to the message of Islam instead of following the customs of others around them? Allah has given us warning of this in the Qur'an. Allah tells us that infanticide is a grave sin and that favor of one gender over the other has no grounds in Islam.
Islam has legislated the giving of the dower by the husband to the wife in order to please the woman's heart and to honour her. It is also meant to bring an end to what was done in the Days of Ignorance wherein she was wronged, exploited, despised and robbed of her wealth. The dower is a right exclusively for the wife. It is her possession and none of her guardians or relatives may share any part of it. No one has any power over her concerning how she wishes to dispose of it, as long as she does so in a legally acceptable manner. She may give it away as a gift, she may lend it to others or she may give it in charity or do any other permissible acts she wishes with it. The dower was instituted because the goal of marriage is not the actual act of the marriage contract in itself. In fact, the actual purpose of marriage cannot be achieved unless the spouses stay in a state of marriage. However, that may not be achieved unless the dower is an obligation at the time of the marriage contract itself. What we see happening in some European countries, and indeed some Muslim countries, is very strange indeed. This is where the woman is required to furnish a dowry or provide the furniture for their future house. This is definitely turning the natural order of things upside down and goes against the nature of mankind. It leads to a great deal of social ills and behavioral harm. It is a means by which the woman is despised and belittled. Indeed, she is ruined because of it. If the woman is not able to gather enough wealth together for marriage, she will not be able to get married and, instead, will have boyfriends and affairs, and other evil results.
2.5 Mahr (The Dower):
Islam has successfully maintained an even balance in society between men and women by giving its unequivocal endorsement to a practical division of labor, whereby women are placed in charge of the internal arrangement of the household, while men are responsible for its financing. The home is thus organized on the pattern of a microcosmic estate, with the man in a position of authority. The Quran is specified on this issue; (what means): "Men are in charge of women by [right of what qualities Allah has given one over the other and what they spend in support from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in the husband's absence what Allah would have them guard…"7 At the time of the marriage, the groom hands over to the bride a sum of money called Mahr (dower) which is a token of his willing acceptance of the responsibility of bearing all necessary expenses of his wife. This is the original meaning of Mahr, although this custom has come to have different connotations in modern times.'Give to the woman in dower, a marital gift' For a marriage to solemnize in Islam, 'Meher' is compulsory. But unfortunately in our Muslim society here, we just keep a nominal 'Meher' to satisfy the Qur'an, say 151 Rupees, or some people give 786 Rupees and they spend lakhs and lakhs of Rupees on the reception, on the decoration, on the flowers, on the lunch parties, on the dinner parties.
2.6 Dowry is prohibited in Islam
Though prohibited by law in 1961, the extraction of DOWRY from the bride's family prior to marriage still occurs. When the dowry amount is not considered sufficient or is not forthcoming, the bride is often harassed, abused and made miserable. This abuse can escalate to the point where the husband or his family burns the bride, often by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it, usually killing her. The official records of these incidents are low because they are often reported as accidents or suicides by the family.
In Delhi, a woman is burned to death almost every twelve hours. The number of dowry murders is increasing. In 1988, 2,209 women were killed in dowry relay that these are official records, which are immensely under reported of official registration of this crime is apparent in Delhi, where ninety. The lack percent of cases of women burnt were recorded as accidents, five percent as suicide and only the remaining five percent were shown as murder. According to Government figures there were a total of 5,377 dowry deaths in 1993, an increase of 12% from 1992. Despite the existence of rigorous laws to prevent dowry-deaths under a 1986 amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), convictions are rare, and judges (usually men) are often uninterested and susceptible to bribery.
2.7 Dowry in India and on Hindus:
Dowry is the payment in cash or any kinds by the bride's family to the bridegroom's family along with the giving away of the bride (called Kanyadanan) in Indian marriage. Kanyadanan is an important part of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and dana means gift. Dowry originated in upper caste families as the wedding gift to the bride from her family. The dowry was later given to help with marriage expenses and became a form of insurance in the case that her in-laws mistreated her. Although the dowry was legally prohibited in 1961, it continues to be highly institutionalized. The groom often demands a dowry consisting of a large sum of money, farm animals, furniture, and electronics. The practice of dowry abuse is rising in India. The most severe in "bride burning", the burning of women whose dowries were not considered sufficient by their husband or in-laws. Most of these incidents are reported as accidental burns in the kitchen or are disguised as suicide. It is evident that there exist deep rooted prejudices against women in India. Cultural practices such as the payment of dowry tend to subordinate women in Indian society. According to Government figures there were a total of 5,377 dowry deaths in 1993, an increase of 12% from 1992. Despite the existence of rigorous laws to prevent dowry-deaths under a 1986 amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), convictions are rare, and judges (usually men) are often uninterested and susceptible to bribery. Recent newspaper reports have focused on the alarming rate of deaths of married women in Hamirpur, Mandi and Bilaspur districts in the state of Himachal Pradesh. According to Hindu tradition, a young man repaid his debt to his ancestors by marrying. Therefore, everything surrounding a wedding, including the dowry, was imbued with ritual meaning. Brides lived with their husband's family and poor families often saw the bride as another pair of hands. Therefore, the groom's family compensated the bride's family for their economic loss. On the other hand, in Brahman, or upper caste, households, the bride was seen as a burden, requiring the support of her husband's family. The bride's family had to pay the groom's family with a dowry for taking her off their hands. Traditional wedding rituals are often followed today in India, especially in rural areas. Hindu people in Bangladesh, it is surprising that there is also no Hindu marriage law or Hindu marriage register in the country. So, if any Hindu woman suffers in the hands of her in-laws, she does not get legal help.
As per a 1946 law, Hindu women can file cases with courts to only regain the rights to conjugal life. Besides, the Hindu women can file cases under Family Court Ordinance 1985, Dowry Act 1980 and Women and Children Repression Act 2003. But these laws are too inadequate to protect the Hindu women's rights. A total of 926 marriage cases were received by Ain O Shalish Kendra during July 2003 to February 2004 period. Of them, only 17 cases were related to Hindu women. "Hindu women do not complain much fearing the marriage will break. That fear grips thembecause divorced Hindu women find it hard to get new husbands. There is no law allowing Hindu widows to remarry. But the situation is very different in neighboring India. There are laws in that country to protect the rights of Hindu women such as Widow Marriage Act 1856, Racial Inability Remission Act 1850, Child Marriage Prevention Act 1929 (Amendment 1938), Earned Property Affairs Act 1930, Inheritance Act 1925 and Hindu Women's Rights to Lands Act 1937.
Although the clauses No 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the constitution carry clear provisions that the state will ensure equal rights to all citizens and remove social and economic disparities, no government came up with steps to reform Hindu laws for protecting Hindu women's right. The views that, "Hindu laws need to be reformed in our country because there is no provision to registration for marriage and in Hindu Law dowry is permitted which is very harmful for Hindu women and for their families." But the free democratic environment that is needed for the reforms has no Hindu religionist and the views that, "Marriage registration is as necessary as the babies' birth registration. It will be helpful if Parliament makes laws in this regard." Organizing Secretary of Bangladesh Mohila Parisad Rakhi Das Purkaistha says, "Marriage registration is a legal right of women. Marriage registration needs to be obligatory to all people irrespective of religion, cast and creed because marriage registration does not disregard religion."A Hindu woman social worker, preferring anonymity, regrets, "People in our country only think of the society. They forget that marriage registration is a right of women".
3. Dowry in Bangladesh
Marriage negotiations for Bangladeshi Muslims involve various financial transactions including primarily the religiously sanctioned dower (mahr). Added to mahr, the practice of dowry or joutuk, demands made by the husband's side to the bride's side, have in the last few decades become a widespread practice supported neither by state law nor personal laws, but apparently designed to strengthen traditional patriarchal assumptions. Based on detailed fieldwork, this article discusses the historical assimilation of dowry practices in Bangladesh, including debates regarding its social ramifications on women's rights in Bangladesh, linked social movement to eliminate growing evidence of dowry in Bangladesh: Compromising Women's Rights. Marriage negotiations for Bangladeshi Muslims involve various financial transactions including primarily the religiously sanctioned dower (mahr).
Added to mahr, the practice of dowry or joutuk, demands made by the husband's side to the bride's side, have in the last few decades become a widespread practice supported neither by state law nor personal laws, but apparently designed to strengthen traditional patriarchal assumptions. Based on detailed fieldwork, this article discusses the historical assimilation of dowry practices in Bangladesh, including debates regarding its social his practice gmans ramifications on women's rights in Bangladesh, linked now to growing evidence of dowry-related violence. The existing dowry practices, despite legal intervention, continue to compromise women's rights in Bangladesh.
3.1. Present situation of Dowry in Bangladesh
Dowry is also related to early marriage and polygamy. In village life, a male person follows the polygamy system for Dowry. Dowry is the obstruction system for developing the women and their powers. Most of the person married uneducated and ungraceful women for Dowry by the pressure of his family and for that their conjugal life has been dissolved or unpleasant or unhappy. According to Janet E. Jackson, the former deputy representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to Bangladesh, Bangladesh ranks fourth among the world's nations with respect to violence against women.21 Jackson observed that "sixty-five per cent of Bangladeshi males think it is justifiable to beat up their wives, 38 per cent have no clear idea what constitutes physical violence and 40 per cent support keeping women socially dormant." At a workshop on violence against women organized by the Bangladeshi South-South Center, it was learned that Bangladesh stands second in the world in terms of violence against women in different forms like women battering, wife beating, domestic and dowry-related violence, acid attack, rape, physical and verbal harassment, fatwa, sexual harassment in [the] workplace, trafficking and prostitution, polygamy and child abuse."
Moreover, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) observes that despite the 1997 statement by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee expressing '"serious concern'" over the ability of the Bangladesh government to implement effective laws protecting women from violence in Bangladesh, the current "situation remainsgrim, as the violence against women continues unabated and remains a serious human rights concern" For instance, a report by a prominent Bangladesh women's organization, Mahila Parishad (Samhati n.d.), that was cited in the Dhaka-based Daily Star indicates that between January and October 2003, at least 3,625 women in Bangladesh were victims of violence.
Of that figure, "1,192 were raped, 306 (were] gang-raped and about 144 [were) murdered after rape" According to the report, "this is the highest incidence of violence against women in recent times". The dowry system is not recognized in the religion or the law of the Muslim societies but has spread into it. Conversely, Islamic law provides dower to enhance the status of women. Why should Muslim women, who are supposed to be protected by dower, become victims of dowry? While recent scholars have admitted the fact that dowry has spread to the Muslim communities, they have largely ignored the position of Muslim women within this discourse.
Dowry deaths are a common phenomenon in South Asia. These deaths of women are usually caused by the same persons who are legally and socially enjoined to protect them, i.e. their husband or in-laws.
3.1.1 Rape/Sexual Assault
Rape is probably one of the most common forms of violence against women in Bangladesh to date. Sometimes we see that a wife has been Raped or Sexual harassment by her husband. There is no time of husband for made a sexual intercourse but she has not been always prepared. This is a violation of women's rights. Sometime he compelled his wife to create sexual intercourse to others by taking money. It is a punishable offence under Bangladesh Penal Code. Usually money and muscle are the reasons why the crime goes unpunished. Rape in Bangladesh is a punishable offence. "Whoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, unless the woman raped is own wife is not under twelve years of age in which case he shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either descriptions for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine… Section 9 deals with punishment for rape, gang rape as well as injury or death caused as a result of rape.
For the offence of rape, the perpetrator will be sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment with additional fine. For death caused by rape or incidental to rape, the accused may be sentenced to death or rigorous imprisonment and will be required to pay fine up to the limit of taka one lakh.
On June 16th, 2003, an amendment bill of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000 was placed in Parliament to clarify definitions of certain offences and reducing punishment to stop the abuse of law. The bill was passed by the Parliament on 13th July, 2003. Under the new Act, the definition of a child has been raised from 14 years to 16 years. Moreover, where a woman commits suicide for fear of losing her chastity due to the willful act of a person, then that person will be accused as a provocateur and will be punished for the offence with imprisonment of five to ten years.
The Act uses and defines the terms sexual abuse and sexual harassment for the first time. Section 10 states that if any male, in order to satisfy his carnal desires, touches the sexual or any other organs of any woman or child with any organ of his body or with any other object, his action will amount to sexual abuse or abuses the modesty of any woman or makes any indecent gesture, his act shall be deemed to be sexual harassment and for this such male will be punished by rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend up to ten years but shall not be less than three years and shall additionally also be liable to fine.
Sometimes in Bangladesh acid violence is a dreadful and vindictive form of crime which is committed mostly against women for demanding dowry. Sometimes we see that husbands are throwing acid to his wife in the question of not for taking money from her father's house. It is a major subject of national concern and is being reported frequently by media throughout the year. Acid violence is a terror which must not be adhered in any civilized society, prescribes death penalty or rigorous imprisonment for life including fine taka not more than one lakh if anybody causes death or makes an attempt to cause death to any child or woman by using any burning substance, e.g., acid, import, production, storage, sale or usage of acid without a license is a punishable offence.
Sufia Khatun writes in the Nari Jibon Bangla Blog Amader Kotha about bride dowries which are still a menace in Bangladeshi society. Although the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980 made dowry a punishable offence to prevent the oppression and even murder of married women, it is still stealthily practiced throughout Bangladesh.
Poverty does not bring happiness, but rather it destroys an organized life. Dowry has become an inevitable common practice in our society. The poor fathers in our society think that fatherhood of a female child is a curse. He has to spend a lot on girls from birth; carrying out expenditures of livelihood, education and what not. It's the same for a male child, if not more. But during marriage the males do not have to go through what females endure.
It has become a practice in our society that if the daughter is to be married with an educated bridegroom, he and his house must be properly decorated with dresses, furniture etc.. So many educated girls like Shilpi are married with an uneducated man. She has to stay back at home without applying her education
3.2 Outgrowths of Dowry:
In South Asia, the dowry-related phenomenon is on the rise. In Bangladesh it has become an acute problem resulting in breakage of social harmony and texture. This modern feature of dowry' means the transmission of large sums of money, jewellery, cash and other goods from the bride's family to the groom's family. The emergence of dowry and the switch from bride price have been explained by some authors as the cause of the decline of the earning capabilities and productivity of women. According to this view, the system of dowry is closely linked with women's, role in productive activities. Where women are regarded as an unproductive burden a dowry is given to the bridegroom's side to compensate them. However, the present spread of dowry cannot be explained only with variables like non participation of women in economic activity.
3.4 Effects of Dowry
In most cases the payments of dowry make sever economic crisis for the families of the bridges, for the payment of dowry, several families are to sell out their land and other household items. Even after that some parents are not yet sure what would happen to the faith of their daughter. In some instances, even after payment of dowry as was agree upon by both sides, fresh demand of dowry from the groom's side is not uncommon.
After all, it is social crime and it has cancerous effect on the society. At almost all the cases, dowry degenerates more oppression against women and adds more injustice and inequality to our social life. In sometimes makes our familial life more unsafe and flamboyant. More particularly, the fresh demand for dowry after marriage creates troubles in the conjugal life of the spouse. Even it may cause death to any of the, specially to the brides.
Besides, dowry is against religious codes. Particularly, Islam has prohibited the acceptance of dowry rather there is the system of mahr where the bride is to given a certain amount after marriage.
Dowry is also related to early marriage and polygamy. In village life, a male person follows the polygamy system for Dowry. Dowry is the obstruction system for developing the women and their powers. Most of the person married uneducated and ungraceful women for Dowry by the pressure of his family and for that their conjugal life has been dissolved or unpleasant or unhappy.
The term 'dowry' has been defined by the 'Joutuk Nirodh Ain 1980' or the Dowry Prohibition Act – 1980, as "property or valuable security given or agreed to be given as consideration for the marriage of the parties" and it is generally offered by the wife's family to the husband before the marriage. The Dowry Prohibition Act of Bangladesh provides that payment or demand for payment of dowry by any one is punishable with imprisonment for up to five years or a fine or with both. The law was amended in 1983, 1995 and 2000 to provide for a sentence of death or life imprisonment and financial penalty to a husband or any of his relatives who causes or attempts to cause death or grievous injury to a wife on account of dowry. OMCT stresses that in addition to being opposed to the death penalty as an extreme form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, it fears that the death penalty would rather function as a deterrent for prosecution and punishment of the crime. Despite the legal prohibition,the practice of paying a dowry has not stopped or diminished in Bangladesh, neither in rural nor in urban areas. Repression of women for their inability to bring adequate or repeated installments of dowry from their poor parents and resultant deaths or grievous injuries is rather disquietingly frequent.
The negative aspects of dowry i.e. the bitter negotiations, threats, extortion, and repercussions for unmet dowry demands are not generally manifest in middle and upper class families. It is the poor who really suffer economically and socially as a result of the practice of dowry. The economic consequences are that, the money of dowry is often raised by the sale or mortgaging of land at low prices. It also includes livestock, trees, household goods and family jewelry and as well as loans from NGOs and moneylenders at high rates of interest. Despite these economic consequences, payment of dowry is prevalent as shown by the abovementioned survey, which found that 77% respondents gave dowry during their marriage and only 23% of marriages were held without dowry.''
There are many severe consequences resulting from the payment of dowries. First, failure to meet the dowry demands or the new demands often results in verbal and physical abuse of the wife.
Physical abuse includes beating; burning with cigarettes, withholding foods, sleep deprivation and denial of medical treatment. The abuse may be meted out by the husband or members of his family, especially his mother. Verbal abuse may include starting rumors about the character or behavior of the wife and often the girls feel unable to disclose the situation to her parents. If the physical abuse continues and worsens, this may lead to the wife committing suicide.
Additionally, a common result of unmet dowry is sending the girl or woman back to her parent's house. When this happens everyone considers that it must be the fault of the girl or woman saying such things as: "She could not adapt to her husband" or "She cannot look after her husband properly". So, once again both the girl and her parents suffer from rumours and criticism. This also affects the reputation of the younger sisters, being returned to live with her parents there are other problems. Her brothers and their wives may resent her presence, particularly if she has brought children with her. She is seen as a drain on the household resources and may be verbally, and even physically, abused by her own family.
3.5. Family Effect of Dowry
The dowry has a long history in Europe, South Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. One of the major functions of the society and the state should be to protect women against ill treatment by their husbands and husbands' kin. The giving of a dowry more or less disappeared in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.
In India and Bangladesh, although illegal, the dowry practice is still common. It is especially common in arranged marriages and rural areas and widely recognized as a traditional ritual of marriage.
Bangladesh suffers from some evil culture and superstitions. Dowry system is one of the worst evil cultures in this society.
A family may be destroyed by dowry. The aforesaid discussion we see that dowry has been given or taken by creating force. Bangladesh is such type of country where most of the people are poor and in the rural area most of the people have no fixed income and they have no more property for living. In case of rural area we see that most of the women are illiterate and they have no ability to do any development activities for their life style. In that situation, at the time being of marriage, the parents of bridegroom demand a huge amount of money or property or other things and on the other hand the parents of bridge are compelled to give it to them for handover their daughter for the purpose of happiness of her conjugal life. Sometimes we see that the parents of daughter searched a good bridegroom for their daughter who will be polite, intelligent, faithful and his quality will be sufficient to maintain their family after marriage. By this tradition the parents have compelled to give any demanding money or other things and for that they sell their last resource, browed money or take loan and after that they are compelled to pass their unbearable life. In that situation they have no limit to suffer a lot. Sometimes we see that they fallen their life with suicide. There is a fact that-
Thamima Begum (19), wife of the Monir(28), vill: Kalikapure, P.O:Sharfpure P.S: Dumuria, District: Khulna. The marriage had been held 02 July 2007 by dowry payment Tk. 100,000.00 after that he demand some times more amount and he tortured his wife. As a result her father committed suicide for not payment. A dowry is a gift of money or valuables given by the bride's family to the groom and the newly formed household at the time of their marriage. It has been an ancient and widespread practice. This bad culture is found and practiced more or less in communities of the country. In some cases, parents borrow money on exorbitant rate of interest to marry their daughters and sisters and spend rest of their life in great misery. Every year many young women commit suicide or face physical torture after marriage because their parents cannot afford to give dowry. Day by day, marriage has become a kind of business and exploitation of the parents of a girl. A recent survey conducted in three districts in northern side of Bangladesh found that every two out of four family are involved in this bad tradition. It is obviously true that some parents meet up their demand behind cause of brightness future of their daughter. But this system would break family ties in future. They would not think the long term bad effects of it. The dowry system creates several kinds of gender discrimination. Maximum sectors of our society the dowry system are prevailed. The opinion of social researcher Mohammad Khairul Alam is that dowry system is a matter of great shame and bad culture in our society. It paves the way of gender discrimination.
Apart from that, they had culture hinders a good relationship between the provider and receiver of dowry. As a result, it creates problems between family and within the society. Each year, this bad culture costs a large number of women's life while it causes many other women to live a degraded life." Social researcher Altaf Hossain Mahabub said, "If we don't stop this practice, our society will destroy one day."Md Ismail Hossain, Assistant Director of Bangladesh Bank said, "If we want to overcome this situation, we have to emphasize ant- dowry campaign in our society." Md. Ahsan Habib, Professor of Asian University said, "Only by changing our social perception, it is quietly possible to remove dowry system from our society."Social researcher Md. Mostak Ahmed, "If we can reduce the availability of using the women in commercial purpose, their social value will increase and then it will be possible to reduce the dowry from our society."There are thousands of cases that few offenders are actually punished. It shows that only law is not enough to protect the women against injustice. It needs social awareness and effective measures. The registration of marriage should be made compulsory. The women and their parents should refuse the men who want dowry. Men and women should promise against the dowry system. We should create a movement and strong public opinion against the dowry system. The movement should spread to villages and every nook and corner of the country.
3.6 Social Effect of Dowry
The rise in Bangladesh of the institution of dowry or daabi or joutuk has become widely prevalent. Joutuk is the money or valuable property demanded from the bride by the groom or his family as a consideration of the marriage. There is a considerable debate what constitutes dowry in its various forms. In a patriarch ally-dominated social context dowry refers to property given to the bridegroom and his family but the anti-dowry law regards it as the exclusive property of the bride. Dowry or bride prices have received substantial attention in the anthropological literature. In fact, there is now a large volume of ethnographic and theoretical literature on dowry and bride price. In Bangladesh most of the occurrence of cruelty of women is related to Dowry. Dowry is the reason for other problems. In Bangladesh women have oppressed in every hour and in everyday 24 women have oppressed of which 10 women are oppressed by Dowry. So conjugal conflict, oppression of women, family's unpleasant, dissolution of marriage etc. are created for demanding Dowry and other related facts of it.
Ain O Shalish Kendra has been declared that at the year 2000, 1876 women have oppressed by Dowry. Some of them have raped, some oppressed by acid throwing and oppressed by other reasons, which are as follows:-
Murder for Dowry
Acidity for Dowry
Torture for Dowry
Suicide for Dowry
Source: Ain O Salish Kendro, "Human Rights in Bangladesh" Producer- Hamida Hossain, Dhaka, Page-134
Among 281 women 63% have been died by serious physically torture. It also said that in this country, 19 to 24 ages women are the target group of Dowry. For this reason most of the parents of bride have sold their living property to accomplish the Dowry demand, as a result the dependent people, poor people and bagger system increased day by day in our society.
3.7 Effect in case of Crime
Crime is a baffling problem ever since the dawns of human civilization and man's efforts to grapple with this problem have only partially succeeded. Criminologists have identified many types of crime-causation. Dowry is one of them. If we investigate the crime's life history, sometimes we have taken some information that dowry is liable for the creation of his criminality mind. Sometimes we see that the parents of bridegroom arranged the marriage without the consent of him by demanding dowry. They compelled him to sit on marriage ceremony by fiercely. As a result, it discovered that the wife has not choices by him but he is compelled to pass the conjugal life to her and she is fallen as a hunting animal of him . Always he tortured her and causes many crimes such as death, hurt, assault and sexual crime .Sometime follows that she is tortured for any amount of cash from her father. As a result, they pass their conjugal life with indescribable suffering and at last some family have broken. Sometime it's impact will be fallen to their child. They are always seen that torture and their parents behavior and their mind captured this nature and they think, it should be the nature of behavior because they are like to imitate. At the same time they create crime because their mind have been cropped day by day.
3.7.1 Many crimes have been created for dowry in our society as:-
Simu (23), the wife of Md. Jillur Rahaman of Khosalpur, P. S.:- Mohadebpur, District:- Nowaga, she was murdered by her mother-in-law and her sister-in -law. Five years ago, their marriage was held by TK. 160007= as dowry.
Munni Begum (28), the wife of Md. Mamun (33), Dhaka, he was murdered her at the night of Thursday. Her father, Md. Isshuq Mollah told that four years ago, the marriage was held and also told that he and his family tortured her for dowry.
On Oct. 9, 2000, 18-year-old Rahima Khatun of Jehnaigati in Sherpur was beaten by her husband and forced to leave her husband's home while her six-month-old daughter Ontora was murdered. Rahima told Odhikar investigators that she had been married for four years to Abdul Wahab, who drives a rickshaw van and is a habitual gambler. He had sold what little property he had to pay his gambling debts. After he began stealing from home to pay off his debts, his father threw him out of the house. He then took his wife to live on the homestead of his sister and brother-in-law. Under such circumstances; Rahima was constantly pressured by her husband to bring the rest of her dowry from her father's house.
This took the form of beatings and other kinds of physical and mental violence. Soon this violence became a common part of her daily life, and even her sister-in-law and her husband joined in the verbal and sometimes physical abuse. At one point, her father, a poor farmer, managed to scrape together TK. 10,000 for his son-in-law, which then led to even more demands.
3.8 Effect on Human Rights
Bangladesh is a poor and small South Asian Country in the world map. The Governments human rights record remained poor and the Government continued to commit numerous serious abuses. There are many rights as Freedom of Speech and Press, Freedom of peaceful Assembly and Association, Freedom of Religion, Women's rights, Children's rights etc. Dowry is one of the main problems of violation of women's rights. Domestic violence against woman was widespread. Much of the reported violence against woman was related to disputes over dowries. Human rights monitors insisted that actual number of rapes was higher, as many rape victims did not report the incidents in order to avoid social disgrace.
Human rights is a concept that has been constantly evolving throughout human history. Human rights became synonymous with natural rights. The idea of natural rights continued in ancient Rome. On December 10,1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the 56 members of the United Nations. The UDHR, commonly referred to as the international 'Magna Carta'. Dowry-related violence is particularly problematic in Bangladesh. A survey conducted by Naogaon Human Rights Development Associations (NHRDA)revealed that 84% percent of the cases it received in 2000 were dowry related wife battering cases. In 2001, 173 girls and women were killed due to dowry demand with 79 of these victims below the age of 18.
Bangladesh has a colonial historical background and achieved her independence in 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The economy is mainly agrarian and the population is approximately 140.4 million.2 Women form over 50 percent of the total population and the growth rate is 1.75 percent per annum. The population of persons below 15 years is around 43 percent of the total population; and women of reproductive age (15-49 years) represent 46 percent of the total female population. The maternal and infant mortality rates are reported to be 4.5 and 78 per thousand live births respectively. Life expectancy has increased to 58.1 years for male and 57.6 for female compared with the 1991 level of 55 and 54.5 years respectively.
In Bangladesh, one the situation will change anytime soon. "The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrollment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry," Davis says.
Women's rights to equality are guaranteed in the Constitution, which was written in 1972. Article 27 of the Constitution states, "All citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to get equal protection of law" Similarly, article 28(1) states that ''''the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.'1'' Article 28(2) states, "Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the state and of public life." Additionally, article28(4) provides that "Nothing shall prevent the State from making special provisions in favor of women or for the advancement of any backward section of the population." Article 29(1) provides, "There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in respect of employment or office in the service in the republic".
The Constitution further advances and incorporates the principle of special representation of women in local self-governing bodies (article 9) and provision has also been made to reserve thirty seats for women in the Parliament (article 65(3)). But unfortunately, the ten-year term of the women's reserved seats has expired with the ending up of the Seventh Parliament in 2001. In order to reinstate these special measures, a constitutional amendment is required by the government.
3.9 Impact on New Generation
Now a day’s dowry has been demand as a social custom. Though the parents of bridge suffer a lot, the dowry is a continuous process in our society. Dowry is the cause of many kinds of crime. The new generation have also affected by this. If we follow or search in the society, we see that they are misleading without guardian or the careless of their guardian. Sometimes husband and wife have been separated for one party's demanding dowry and other party denied to pay it and in this situation their child have been freed from control of the proper guardian. Ultimately they involve to any offences like as theft, eve teaching , violation of peach from other. Then when they entered into family life, their nature have not been changed. This types of men are always financially unable. After marriage, always they torture their wife for any cause and eventually most of them are smoker and drug addicted. So, dowry is the main cause for misleading of new generation.
3.10 Impact on Human Life
Every day in India fifteen women are murdered by their new husbands and/or in-laws for failing to bring a sufficient dowry to the marriage. Although India has many positive laws in place to prohibit and punish these "dowry deaths," or "bride-burnings. They continue to occur in increasing numbers because of vague statutory language, faulty enforcement, cultural attitudes, and economic discrimination against women.
By failing to effectively prevent dowry deaths, India, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), violates the "right to life" as expressed in Article 6(1) and protected by Article 2.
Looking at domestic violence in particular, the UNFPA's The State of World Population for 2000 found that 47 per cent of adult women in Bangladesh reported physical abuse by their male partners (2000). A research project on women's risk of experiencing domestic violence in two towns in rural Bangladesh found that 47 per cent of women in the community of Sirajgonj and 39 per cent of women in the community of Jessore reported having been physically abused by their husband or his family (International Family Planning Perspectives Sept. 2003). The research, which' linked domestic violence with the level of women's autonomy, involvement in a credit group and other status indicators, maintained that in the conservative setting of Sirajgonj, an increase in female autonomy has a "destabilizing effect" o the relationship between a woman and her husband or his family, thereby increasing the risk of domestic violence. By comparison, in the less conservative district of Jessore—where changes in gender relations may already be underway, the researchers note—an increase in overall autonomy among women and membership in credit groups may act to strengthen women's solidarity, thereby helping to discourage husbands from resorting to violence in the home. The researchers conclude that in rural Bangladesh, "the effects of individual and contextual aspects of women's empowerment on violence vary significantly according to socio cultural conditions.
Domestic violence resulting from dowry disputes has been recorded in several recent news reports as well as in the ALRC statement A report by Odhikar, a human rights coalition group in Bangladesh, states that 278 women were victims of violence related to dowry during the first nine months of 2003 .Of those women, "184 were killed, 20 committed suicide, 67 were physically tortured, 11 sustained injuries from acid attacks and two were divorced.
Dowry deaths are a common phenomenon in South Asia. These deaths of women are usually caused by the same persons who are legally and socially supposed to protect them, i.e. their husband or in-laws. It has been rightly pointed out that dowry deaths are gruesome reminder of the authoritativeness of patriarchy. In one study, dowry demands have been identified as one of the major causes of murder of women in Bangladesh. The authors have established their, finding by a table gathered from different media sources, showing that almost 50% of all murders of women in Bangladesh in the years 1983-1984 were for dowry causes.
4. Cause of Dowry System
There are number of reasons for payment of dowry. People generally consider dowry payment as a social custom. The parents who pay dowry believe that as social beings, they have to abide by the customs of the social. At the same time, it is also admitted that without dowry it would have been difficult for parents to arrange a desirable groom for their daughters. Even, some people seem that daughters would never have been married if they could not arrange down for them. In some cases, people give dowry for their own personal wish though no demand is there from the grooms' side.
Dowry is one of the major causes of chronic poverty in Bangladesh, according to a new study from University of Dhaka.
Dowry payments of more than 200 times the daily wage and costly medical expenses are major causes of this chronic poverty.
Though dowry is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still practised by most families living in rural areas.
The payment is normally upwards from 20,000 Taka (around 190 pounds) and since typical earnings are only 100 Taka (94 pence) per day, this can be a major contributor to poverty for many families with daughters, ,
Medical expenses involved in the care of elderly relatives were also a common issue for families living in poverty.
"Some families face a "double whammy", having to pay wedding expenses and dowry for their daughters at the same time in life when elderly relatives are needing more expensive medical care,"
Measures such as improving education, employment and health services could play a really significant role in alleviating poverty in these families. "The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrolment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry,".
The findings were presented at a workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (ANI) October 31st, 2008 – 5:55 pm ICT by ANI
The custom of paying a dowry to the future husband's family when a daughter is married is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still practiced by most families living in rural areas. Payment is normally upwards from 20,000 Taka (around £190) and since typical earnings are only 100 Taka (94 pence) per day, this can be a major contributor to poverty for many families with daughters.
"Some families face a 'double whammy', having to pay wedding expenses and dowry for their daughters at the same time in life when elderly relatives are needing more expensive medical care," said Dr Davis, who spent several months in the country training and working with researchers from DATA Bangladesh to conduct interviews with families for the study.
"Measures such as improving 'education, employment and health services could play a really significant role in alleviating poverty in these families.The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrolment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry."
Grinding poverty has forced villagers to accept both child marriages and dowries as unavoidable reality, village council chairman Naren Bari.
"Poor parents feel marrying off their young girls will relieve some of their economic burden. The groom's family demands a dowry to grab some cash that helps ease their poverty,"
Nearly half of Bangladesh's 140 million people live in poverty, according to official statistics. The government says it's striving to halve that number by 2015, under the UN millennium development goal.
4.2 Aristocracy & Social Dignity
Some rich family have taken and given down for their family's dignity. They think to give huge amount amount of gift increase their social statues. Sometimes we see that it is the tradition of their family background. Ultimately, it says that in the society who have more money and have social reputation, they searched a qualified bridegroom for their daughter and they give huge amount of money, property, ornaments, furniture etc. to the bridegroom at the time being of marriage. They think it is a fashion and their giving amount is huge.
4.3 Guardian's Mentality
Guardian's Mentality is on of the main factor of dowry. In our society the guardians want to give marriage their daughter within the age of 18 to 20 years. They think that more than 20 years of virgin women is not acceptable as a good in our society. Besides our society is not proper place for safeguard of women. Our society is fulfilling with criminal, bad men, the society contains the negative attitude to women, and male governs it.
4.4 Affection of corruption & Black Money
Dowry is the symbol of aristocracy and fashion. Now a day the politics is the thinking issue in every society and it is the main source of corruption and gathering black money of one's possession and for that reason our society is fulfilling with corruption. The political leaders have spread their power and they gather huge amount of black money. Generally these types of persons are rice and they give a huge amount of hard cash, car, ornaments etc. to the bridegroom at the time being of marriage.
It has been discussed by a fact that, Md. Sirajul Islam who is the political leader of Fultala and he was the Secretary of Fultala Thana committee (2003 to 2007), lastly he was arrested extortion for acquiring black money (2008), the marriage of his daughter was held on dated 20.07.2007 and he gave TK. 20, 00,000(twenty lack) to daughter’s husband as a gift.
4.5 Affection of Religion
There is a wide range of confusions in between dower and dowry system as prevailing in the society. The dowry system is not recognised in the religion or the law of the Muslim societies. Oppositely, Islamic law provides dower to enhance the status of women. Some authors confuse dower with dowry. Perhaps the aspects of women's property or stridhanam in Hindu Law and as exclusive property of the wife are seen as synonymous. When dowry is regarded as stridhanam or promotes inheritance for women, contradictions arise and the equation of dowry with stridhanam has been disputed by several authors. The anti-dowry law stated that property given as dowry belongs to the wife but later on amended the law. However, the misconceptions still lingers on that she has been paid dowry than why should she be a part and parcel of the succession.
Dowry is a social stigma, the ultimate consequences of the stigma are dowry deaths. And the dowry deaths are a common phenomenon in South Asia. These deaths of women are usually caused by the same persons who are legally and socially supposed to protect them i.e their husbands or in-laws. It has been rightly pointed out that dowry deaths arc gruesome reminder of the authoritativeness of patriarchy. The study shows, dowry demands have been identified as one of major causes of murder of women in Bangladesh
4.6 Social Unawareness
Our society is not aware to dowry. The social leaders are the controller of society. They don't take any steps to remove it from the society. Besides, the government's awareness activities could not reach to the rural areas people. Most of them are ignorance about law and the women are not educated and they don't know what is their rights.
4.7 Ignorance of Law
There are the following Laws for protecting dowry as-
1. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980,
2. Cruelty to Women Ordinance, 1983,
3. Repression Against Women and Children (Special Enactment) Act xviii of
4. The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act 2000, Civil Procedure of 1908,
S.Penal Code of 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Code of 1898.
6.The Personal or Family Laws are under the General Law but mostly are governed by the civil law:, the Muslim Family Ordinance 1961 or the Muslim Marriages and Divorce (Registration) Act 1974. Hindu parties are regulated by (among others) the Hindu Marriages Disabilities Removal Act 1946 or the Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act 1856. Christian parties to marriage meanwhile, come under the Christian Marriage Act 1872.
7.Article 28 (1) states: The State shall not discriminate against any citizens on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex or place of birth.. The Nari-O- Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (Law on the Suppression of Violence Against Women and Children 2000), has for the first time expanded the definition of rape considerably although it does not acknowledge marital rape. Sexual assault and sexual harassment have been made punishable offences under this Act.
But the women are not aware to the aforesaid law. They do not know that what are their rights ? They are tortured day by day and their rights has been violated regularly but they haven't do anything. Actually they don't know , the giving and taking dowry is punishable under law. So it is the main factor of dowry.
4.8 Social System governed by Male and inequality of men and women
Our Constitution has ensured that every citizen of the country has equal rights irrespective of religion, cast or class. Despite Constitution grantees of gender equality women of Bangladesh are still subject to discrimination and violence. Non-discriminatory relationship between men and women will ensure equality. There are some biological differences between men and women. Based on these biological differences every society/ household construct/ impose certain rules regulation, responsibilities and of men and women.
In Bangladesh more than 60 million people leave below the poverty line and among them 75 percent are female. The government of Bangladesh has already taken some steps including free education for girls up to intermediate levels, stipends and maintaining quotas for women candidates in the government services. Among the 9.5 lake government employees only 11 percent are women, mostly in class 3 or class4 categories. There are no women Judge on the appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Zinat Ara, Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Farah Mahbub are only four women Judges out of a total of 63 on the HCD. Bangladesh has only 3 women ambassadors and not a single public University has a women vice-chancellor.
Equality between men and women means an equal visibility, employment Empowerment and participating of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. But women continue to have fewer powers or rights, lower education and health status less income, less access to resource and decision making than man.
There are only five female Ministers in our cabinet as Shake Hasina (Prime Minister), Adv. Shara Khatun (Home Minister), Motia Chowdhury (Agricultural Minister), Dr. Dipu Moni (Minister of external affairs), Munnujan Suffiana (Labor and Employment Minister).
So lastly says that women have discriminated in every society and every stages and for that reason the dowry system has been increased day by day.
4.9 Ignorance about Human Rights
Human rights is a concept that has been constantly evolving throughout human history. Human rights became synonymous with natural rights. The idea of natural rights continued in ancient Rome. The Governments human rights record remained poor and the Government continued to commit numerous serious abuses. There are many rights as Freedom of Speech and Press, Freedom of peaceful Assembly and Association, Freedom of Religion, Women's rights, Children's rights etc. Dowry is one of the main problem of violation of women's rights. Domestic violence against woman was widespread. Much of the reported violence against woman was .related to disputes over dowries.
Human rights monitors insisted that actual number of rapes was higher, as many rape victims did not report the incidents in order to avoid social disgrace. On December 10,1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the 56 members of the United Nations. The UDHR, commonly referred to as the international 'Manga Carta'.
Dowry-related violence is particularly problematic in Bangladesh. A survey conducted by Naogaon Human Rights Development Associations (NHRDA)
revealed that 84% percent of the cases it received in 2000 were dowry related wife battering cases. In 2001, 173 girls and women were killed due to dowry demand with 79 of these victims below the age of 18. Most of the women don't know what is their rights ?
4.10 Depending on Faith
The women of most of the countries in the world think they are regulated by fortune. In Bangladesh this think is very much wide. In Bangladesh a few numbers of women are educated. But all women think that their all activities have been regulated by fortune and their marriage depends on their luck. If a conjugal life has been dissolved by any reason, they think that it is her faith.
4.11 Inequality of Working Opportunity
In our society the women have less working opportunity than men. Our Constitution has ensured that every citizen of the country has equal rights irrespective of religion, cast or class. Despite Constitution grantees of gender equality women of Bangladesh are still subject to discrimination and violence. Non-discriminatory relationship between men and women will ensure equality. There are some biological differences between men and women. Based on these biological differences every society/ household construct/ impose certain rules regulation, responsibilities and of men and women.
Among the 9.5 lake government employees only 11 percent are women, mostly in class 3 or class4 categories. In every sector or organization the female worker is less than male worker and their salary, remuneration or other facilities are than from male. On the other hand women are naturally depended on men.
Equality between men and women means an equal visibility, employment, empowerment and participating of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. But women continue to have fewer powers or rights, lower education and health status less income, less access to resource and decision making than man.
So lastly says that women have discriminated and they are unequal in every society and every stage and for that reason the dowry system has been increased day by day.
4.12 Lower Power of Female in Society:-
Our society is the male dominated society. In this society the male have obtain vast power and the female are regulated by them. There are no direct activities of women in our society. Women can't do any work with her own conscience. In generally they have operated by male.
5. Dowry related Laws
After independence in Bangladesh the problems of dowry became so horrendous that activist women and some enlightened males were demanding legislation to stamp out this social evil. It was not considered right to treat women as a commodity to be transferred in marriage for consideration of property and money when the religious and official family laws did not regard women as chattels. Moreover, the Constitution of Bangladesh apparently provides sexual equality. The communication of women was seen as neo-patriarchy, which should not be tolerated any longer. Under such pressure, the government passed the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980.
The real need of women in Bangladesh is to be protected from violence and economic deprivation. Dowry problems involve both aspects of the need, i.e. freedom from economic deprivation and violence. Demands for reforms to control these problems were already made earlier and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980 another Cruelty to Women Ordinance, 1983 were enacted in response to growing evidence of cruelty against women. Recently a more comprehensive enactment the Repression Against Women and Children (Special Enactment) Act xviii of 1995 has repealed the Cruelty to Women Ordinance, 1983 and enhanced the punishment. More recently The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act 2000 exaggerated punishments in most cases upto death penalty for crime against women and children. We need to assess whether these legislation has been beneficial to women and seek to find out whether women are actually, able to use the legal remedies available under these new statutes.
"The General Law consists of civil and criminal laws," says Pereira who is also Director, Advocacy, Research and Legal Aid at Ain O Shalish Kendra, "which are governed respectively by the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908, the Penal Code of 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Code of 1898. The Personal or Family Laws are under the General Law but mostly are governed by the civil law: What's more, matters which directly affect women such as marriage, divorce, dower, maintenance, guardianship, custody, inheritance and restitution of conjugal rights are separately governed by each religious community's "religious personal law" system. For example, take marriage. Muslim parties, says Pereira, are regulated by, among others, the Muslim Family Ordinance 1961 or the Muslim Marriages and Divorce (Registration) Act 1974. Hindu parties are regulated by (among others) the Hindu Marriages Disabilities Removal Act 1946 or the Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act 1856. Christian parties to marriage meanwhile, come under the Christian Marriage Act 1872.
Article 28 (1) states: The State shall not discriminate against any citizens on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex or place of birth. But then Article 28 (4) states: Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making special provisions in favour of women and children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens.
There have been some attempts in recent years by governments to safeguard women's legal rights and improve their social status. The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980 forbids anyone from giving or receiving dowry although the practice is still very prevalent in our country which indicates the lack of enforcement. The Nari-O- Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (Law on the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children 2000), has for the first time expanded the definition of rape considerably although it does not acknowledge marital rape. Sexual assault and sexual harassment have been made punishable offences under this Act. "The overall character of this new law is reflective of same level of participatory effort," says Pereira. "The law on children is one of the best examples of the workings of a clear distinction between religion as a private matter and the area of personal welfare of citizens as subject to state intervention. The laws on children and personal disputes relating to children such as the Guardians and Wards Act, the Majority Act,1875 and the Child Marriage Restraint Act, are all applied uniformly to all children and citizens of Bangladesh, irrespective of gender or religion despite these areas being clearly within religious-personal sphere of citizen's lives," she continues.
The Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted on December 19, 1979 and came into force as a treaty on September 3, 1981. Article 1 of the Convention defines discrimination as:
Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex, which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.'
Under Article 2, states are required to domestically enforce CEDAW, adopt appropriate legislation and other measures to prohibit all discrimination against women, modify, or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute such discrimination.
Under Article 6(1) of the ICCPR, "[e]very human being has the inherent right to life.11*
The Human Rights Committee has also commented that the phrase, "inherent right to life," should be liberally construed, as it cannot be properly understood if interpreted in a restrictive manner. Despite the Indian government's efforts, India's statutory laws have been ineffective in preventing dowry deaths. The practice of demanding dowry has spread throughout South Asia and the incidence of dowry deaths continues to increase.4; Once practiced only by middle-class Hindu families in north India, dowry has now spread to different castes, provinces, and economic classes.49 Even religious groups who never before observed dowry customs, such as Muslims and Christians, have begun demanding dowry.50 Yet despite the increase in dowry deaths, very few convictions have been obtained for dowry-related murders.
The Existing Laws of the land are not properly been enforcement. Equally at fault in the continuing problem of dowry deaths is the no enforcement of criminal laws by police and prosecutors. Although the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued specific instructions to police officers as to how to investigate dowry deaths, the police rarely follow these guidelines and frequently fail to investigate properly. Instead, police often dismiss such crimes as family disputes and report them as "kitchen accidents." Less than ten percent of apparent dowry-related deaths are actually investigated.
The Nari O Shishu Nirjatan (Bishesh Bidhan) Ain 1995 provides that whoever causes death of any woman or child by any poisonous, combustible or corrosive substance shall be punished with death. Offence of grievous hurt caused by using the above substance resulting in permanent privation of the sight, disfiguration of head or face, privation of the hearing, permanent destruction of any member or joint of the body of a woman or child has been made punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment upto 14 years with a minimum of 7 years imprisonment.
Rape of any woman or child has been made punishable with imprisonment for life. If any woman or child dies because of raping, the offender would be punished with death. Causing death of a woman or child by gang rape is also punishable with death or imprisonment for life. Attempt to cause death or injury by raping a woman or child is also punishable with death or imprisonment for life. Illegal trafficking of women for the purpose of prostitution, illegal cohabitation or engaging in illegal or immoral work has been made punishable with imprisonment for life. Abduction or kidnapping of a woman for the purpose of engaging or using in prostitution, to compel her to marry against her will or to compel her to sexual intercourse by using force or coaxing or cajoling her is punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for 10 years with a minimum of 7 years imprisonment. Causing death of a woman for dowry is punishable with death. Causing grievous hurt to a woman for dowry is punishable with imprisonment for life or 14 years, which shall not be less than 5 years. Attempt to cause death of a woman for dowry is punishable with imprisonment for life. Illegal trafficking in children, custody or possession of children is punishable with death or imprisonment for life. Abduction or illegal confinement of a child is punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
The Dowry Prohibition Act 1980 enacted for prohibiting dowry and makes provision that giving or taking/demanding of dowry is an offence punishable with imprisonment and/or fine.
Section -3 of this Act laid down "Penalty for giving or ta king dowry" If any person, after the commencement of this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall not be less than one year, or with fine, or with both.
Section- 4 laid down "Penalty for demanding dowry" If any person, after the commencement of this Act, demands, directly or indirectly, from the parents or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall not be less than one year, or with fine, or with both.
Section-8 lay down that every offence under this Act shall be non cognizable, non-bailable and compoundable.
Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Domon Ain of 2003,
Section -20. The procedures of the Trial: All offences under this Act will be tried by the Tribunal of Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Domon Ain under section 25. When a case is started in the Tribunal it will continue continuously in every working day until the trial is completed. The Tribunal must finish the procedure of trial by 180 days from the date of submission to it. If the trial is not done by that time limit,then the Tribunal can bail the accused person and if the accused person is not given bail then the cause of not giving bail have to be written down by the Tribunal. The Bangladesh Constitution declares equal rights for men and women in all spheres of public life. The women have the following rights as-
- Under Muslim Law, women's capacity to stand as witness at a marriage is one half than that of men.
- Giving or Taking „ Dowry Is punishable by law.
- Child marriage is punishable by law but the marriage is legally valid!
- Polygamy is punishable under Section 494 of the penal Code.
- Under Muslim Law. Women are entitled to maintenance as of right.
- While Muslim Law does not allow adoption, under Hindu Law only men
have the right to take a male child for adoption. Hindu women are not
allowed to adopt.
- Under both Muslim and Hindu laws women do not enjoy equal rights of inheritance with men.
Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) has been actively involved in rescuing women and children from violent and exploitative situations and enabling them to get greater access to the legal system. The organization’s Executive Director Advocate Salma AH speaks to SWM about the primary loopholes in the legal process that adversely affect women and how this process can be reformed to make it work for women. She says
A woman victim is liable to prove the case by herself.
There are many laws such as laws of inheritance, family law distinctively guardianship, custody and divorce that are discriminatory towards women.
Too much emphasis on medical test reports and certificate of injury
during legislation which is not always practically possible to obtain
Lack of eye witnesses in case of domestic violence.
Lengthy legal procedure.
Corruption among the law enforcing agencies and other related persons.
The government promulgated a number of laws reflecting the provisions of the Penal Code with some modifications necessary to address the specific crimes, including the following:
· Dowry Prohibition Act 1980 and its amendment in 1986 make dowry
practice an offence punishable by fine and imprisonment.
· Prevention of Women and Child Repression Act 2000 provides for
effective and efficient way of dealing with cases of violence against women
such as rape, acid attacks, forced prostitution and trafficking.
· The Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act 1933 provides for detention of
women under 18 years of age if found in a place where prostitution is
being carried out.
· The Family Court Ordinance 1985 provides for the exclusive jurisdiction
of the court on matters relating to marriage, dowry, maintenance and
guardianship, and custody of children.
· The Cruelty to Women (Deterrent Punishment) Ordinance 1983 amends
relevant section of the Penal Code and provides the penalty of life
imprisonment for kidnapping, abduction, trafficking in women, cruelty
because of dowry, and rape as well as abetment of such offenses.
· Trafficking in Women and Children Act 1993 prov ides a maximum
penalty of up to three years for forced prostitution and its abetment.
· Recently the government enacted a law primarily to restrict import and
sale of acid in open market and death penalty for acid attack offences.
· A law has recently been enacted to address the issue of sexual harassment
in the workplace.
· Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have prepared a guideline
to be followed by universities to protect women-students from sexual
· The government has also signed the SAARC Convention on Preventing
and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children.
The government created a permanent Law Commission to review all laws related to protection of women's rights and to provide recommendations wherever required. The Ministry on Women and Children Affairs has undertaken multisectoral projects to eliminate violence against women including setting up One-Stop Crisis Centres (OSCC) in Dhaka and Rajshahi Medical College Hospitals mainly to help acid-throwing and rape victims secure quick Formal Investigation Record (FIR) and other services. In addition, some police stations have Special Cell for Women. At the national, district and thana levels, Committees for the Prevention of Violence against Women have been formed.
Violence prevention cells also exist in the Department of Women's Affairs and the Jatiyo Manila Sangastha. Shelter homes for abused and tortured women and for women under safe custody have also been established both by the government and NGOs – though far too inadequate to meet the needs.
6. Ways to Control of Dowry
6.1 Ensuring Education for Women
Education means mental and moral training. It is the light that clears off the darkness of ignorance from our mental horizon. It is true that women have many special tasks in life and their spheres of duties are different from those of men. But we should remember that these tasks also need training and education. Unless women get proper education, all their prospective faculties get crippled. It is only by imparting proper education to them that we can expect them to discharge the duties nicely and decently. Secondly, education of children depends a great deal upon mother. Childhoods the most impressionable stage and anytime good or bad, taught to child makes an indelible mark on his mind. Thirdly, every woman is potential mother. The future of a child depends on how it is brought up and uneducated mother. Fourthly, social responsibilities should also be shared by men and women. In domestic life a women can lend a helping hand to her husband.
Now days the government of Bangladesh has already taken some steps including free education for girls up to intermediate levels, stipends and maintaining quotas for women candidates in the government services and there are some private associations who tried tonsure education for women. For the increasing of education, dowry system will be abolished. Educated women can hold a good possession in our society. So it is necessary to ensure the education for all women.
In education also, traditional socio-cultural practices limit women and girls' opportunities, skill development, employment and participation in the overall development processes. There is a large gender gap in relation to education in Bangladesh which is largely due to ancient tradition and common mentality. Ideas about the appropriate roles for women in the labour market or in society, about biological unsuitability of women for science, and about the gender division of work in the household and on the farm influence decisions about schooling. Accordingly, there is a disparity in the literacy rates of women and men, with rates of 29 percent and 52 percent in the year 2000 respectively.
6.2 Establishment of Social Morality & Social Awareness against Dowry
The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrolment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry. It is true that if the society' have take steps against dowry, it will be removed. Now days we see in the newspaper or media, the government or other private organization take some steps against dowry and they try to make social awareness against dowry.
On March 8, 1997, the Bangladeshi Government, for the first time, introduced the National Policy for the Advancement of Women. The policy aims at improving women's fate recognizing that they have been oppressed and neglected for decades. Some of the major goals of this policy are i) to establish equality between men and women in all spheres of national life; ii) to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls; iii) to establish women'shuman rights; iv) to establish equality between men and women in administration, politics, education, culture, sports and all other economic activities; and v) to provide support services in the advancement of women.
6.3 Responsibility of Marriage Registrar
There are some responsibilities of the register that makes a marriage registration on behalf of the government. He must take step for dowry related marriage and always he stayed on the negative side of for dowry related marriage. He will not complete that type of marriage.
The government has also developed a National Policy for the advancement of the girl child, which includes the following aims:
v Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girl-child and enact necessary new laws.
v Strict enforcement of laws against early-marriage, rape of girl-child, oppression, trafficking and prostitution.
v Treat girl-child without any discrimination both in the family and the world outside and project a positive image of the girl-child.
v Take into consideration the needs of the girl-child like food, nutrition, health, education, sports, culture and vocational training.
v Give special attention on the implementation of programs aiming at eliminating child labor, especially that of the girl-child.
6.4 Creating Social Consciousness by the activities of Social, Political & Religious Leaders
There is some activities of Social Leaders, Political Leaders and Religious Leaders for removing dowry. All of the men have been regulated by them. They can arrange seminar against down in the society for creating social awareness against dowry.
6.5 Creating more Employment Opportunities for Women:
In spite of the declaration of equality in the Constitution regarding their rights as citizens and the development of the National Policies, women and girls are deprived of many rights such as the right to social security, freedom of expression, as well as rights to education, health, nutrition, and shelter. In most cases, women are also deprived of participation in any decision-making process in family, political, economic and cultural contexts. With respect to the family, women have little say in such decisions as children's education, marriage, divorce and guardianship of child, their own reproductive rights and even with respect to choosing a job. For the development of women and removing the dowry offence, it is very necessary to create more opportunities for women. Now a days the government and other organizations work for this object.
6.6 Proper Enforcement of Laws relating to the rights of Women
- Though the Bangladesh Constitution, contain several articles (10, 27, 28, 29 etc) for the protection of women rights, in practice there are many inconsistencies with Personal Law. It is the duty to make awareness of women about their actual rights. There are following grounds:
- The Bangladesh Government is yet to sign a few of the articles of
CEDAW. Due to that the sufferings of women has increased. It is very
urgent to complete signing all of the articles of CEDAW
- There is a need to amend Muslim law of inheritance and family laws
Evidence Act, Birth Registration Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act and
Hindu Personal Law as well as the Suppression of Immoral Trafficking
Act 1933.A new law on domestic violence has ?to be enacted.
- In cases where women are victims of domestic violence or torture by the husband, priority should be given to circumstantial evidence and procedure should be changed accordingly. In cases of physical torture, circumstantial evidence should be given preference over medical evidence.
- A new injunction procedure needs to be initiated to establish the right of the wife to stay at the husband's home after filing a suit against husband.
- The Criminal Procedure Code must be amended to avoid lengthy procedure.
- The practice of appointing lawyers simply considering their political views has to be eliminated > There has to be a procedure of accountability of law enforcing agencies.
- Victim and witness protection services have to be more effective.
- Training of youth groups besides police, investigation officers, Kazi, and
Imams have to be conducted.
- There is an urgency to reform some of the sections of the Penal Code. There is also a need to have clear definitions of Rape, Sexual Harassment and others.
If any woman's husband or husband's father, mother, guardian, relation or any person acting for the husband, causes the death of that woman for dowry or attempts to cause death or injures such woman for dowry or attempts to cause such injury the husband or husband's father, guardian, relation or any person shall:
For causing death be punishable by death penalty or for attempt to cause death by life imprisonment and in both cases shall be liable to pay additional fine:
For causing injury shall be punishable by rigorous life imprisonment or for attempt to cause injury be punishable by rigorous imprisonment up to the term of maximum fourteen years but not less that five years and In both cases be liable to additional fine.
Rape is probably one of the most common forms of violence against women in Bangladesh to date. Sometimes we see that a wife has been Raped or Sexual harassment by her husband. There is no time of husband for made a sexual intercourse but the has not been always prepared. This is a violation of women's rights. Sometime he compelled his wife to create sexual intercourse to others by taking money.lt is a punishable offence under Bangladesh Penal Code. Usually money and muscle are the reasons why the crime goes unpunished.
6.7 Ensuring Marriage without Dowry
In every society, the marriage will be held without dowry and fulfillment for this object the Social Larders, Political Leaders and Religious Leaders and the bride and bridegroom take the necessary steps.
6.8 Enacting Pragmatic Laws for the Demand of Time:-
Though there is the enacting law for preventing dowry but it has not properly imposed. There are the following existing law in our country:
- Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Domon Ain of 2003,
- The Dowry Prohibition Act 1980
- The Nari O Shishu Nirjatan (Bishesh Bidhan) Ain 1995
- Cruelty to Women Ordinance, 1983
- Repression Against Women and Children (Special Enactment) Act xviii of 1995.
- The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act 2000.
- Muslim Family Ordinance 1961 or
- The Muslim Marriages and Divorce (Registration) Act 1974, Hindu parties are regulated, by (among others) the Hindu Marriages Disabilities Removal Act 1946 or
- The Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act 1856.
- Christian parties to marriage meanwhile, come under the Christian Marriage Act 1872.
- And there are also some private association which take some steps to ensure the women rights such as:
- Research and Legal Aid at Ain O Shalish Kendra, Nirgatito Nari Adhikar Bastobayan Songstha etc.
6.9 Social Movement against Dowry
The dowry claiming person have been Socially removed and declared them as the incapability of marriage and the mind of younger group will be increased against dowry and increased their self personality. Besides education is the key to success, so ensured education for them.
Dowry-related violence is a common feature in Bangladesh, affecting the lives of
many women. Other than specific acts of violence such as killings, torture, the
throwing of acid and the like, dowry demands affect the lives of women socially
and culturally in a much deeper manner. Fundamentally, they undermine the
equality of women and create culturally accepted forms of discrimination against
them. They can affect the life of a girl from the very start. Preference for boys
often begins with the parental realization that the burden of finding dowries falls
on them as soon as the child is born. Thus, the devaluation of a child takes place
in culturally subtle forms from the very beginning. This continues throughout
their early years and up to the time of marriage. "….A woman on lire has made
dowry deaths the most vicious of social crimes. It is an evil prevalent in the
society and despite efforts by some activists and women's rights organization to eliminate this menace, the numbers have continued to climb. In villages marriage
was once considered a very sanctified bond united in the worst or best of times,
in sickness or in health through the vicissitudes of life. But dowry related deaths
have shattered that bond of peaceful and happy relationship. A recent survey by
the Bangladesh Human Rights arly Ch Organization, and Bangladesh Women
Lawyers Association revealed that in 2001, there were 12,500 cases of women
repression, in 2002 the figure rose to 18,455 and in the year ending in 2003 the figure climbed to 22,450. The grisly act of a brute and greedy husband in Chapai
Nawabganj as reported in the newspapers in December 27 last is a story better
not be heard. Having failed to realsise a dowry claim of Tk. 20,000/= Shamsher
killed her wife Marina just on the 22nd day of their marriage. The most grisly side of the story is that Shamsher hired three other monsters for Tk. 300/= and Marina was slaughtered by Shamsher after she was forced to be gangraped by four human monsters including himself'.
Dowry-related violence is in part caused by a misplaced get rich quick mentality whereby dowries are seen as the perfect instrument for upward material mobility. Middle and upper class as well as better-educated grooms demand huge dowries. Often, even after the payment of a dowry, the husband or their families may demand more money or goods. The following story from the same media report as cited above is just one out of so many such tales of violence:
- "Beauty Akhtar of Dhamrai Upazila was married to Muntaj Ahmed of Arpara village in Manikganj about two and a half years ago. Beauty's father met his son- in-law's dowry demand by paying three lakh taka. But Muntaj's greed was insatiable. He started torturing her for more money and at one stage locked her in a room for three days without food.Then the entire family including husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and other in-laws beat her with iron rod in a row".41
- The statistics on dowry-related violence against women in Bangladesh give cause for alarm. According to a report on human rights violations in Bangladesh by the humanitarian Creeds", Lon rights organisation Odhikar,"267 women including one child were victimized due to dowry related matters. Among them, 165 were killed, 77 tortured by acid violence and one were divorced and 11 committed suicide due to incessant dowry demands".
- Dowries put women in a helpless position, as they are never part of the discussion regarding payment. Dowries are often a monetary deal between two men: the bride's father and. the groom. Such cultural arrangements completely violate the dignity of women and the quality of their personal relationships.
- There have been some laws enacted to control such violence against women, such as the Acid Control Act and the Dowry Prohibition Act. However, the level of violence, which continues unabated, demonstrates that such laws do not have the capacity to bring this situation to an end. While such laws are passed under pressure from women's groups and international lobbies, the state often fails to put in place implementation mechanisms to enforce such laws. Within the law-enforcement agencies, deep-seated prejudices regarding the giving of dowries and the predominance of male over female are entrenched. The Government of
Bangladesh issued appeals to all heads of public and private universities and the education board to wage war against the practice of dowries in the country. However, there does not appear to be a strong.
Taherunnessa Begum was otily sixteen when she was married off to small time trader Sattar Mia twice her age. (South Asia Citizen's Wire)
At the wedding Taherun's father, a poor vegetable vendor, gave Sattar ten thousand Taka as half payment of the twenty thousand Taka dowry demand.
Soon after the wedding, Taherun's father became ill and the possibility of giving the remaining portion became doubtful. Thus began Taherun's nightmare. Sattar started to regularly beat her, sometimes punching her unconscious and leaving her with cuts and bruises all over her body. Often he would force her to have sex with him. Taherun conceived and gave birth to a son but this did not stop the beatings. One day Sattar came home and just drove Taherun out of the house without her son. The deal was that if she could cough up the rest of the money she could come back and live with her son again. If she couldn't she would get the customary 'tin talak' (verbal divorce) and consequently lose her son. Taherun was forced to go back to her parents home and soon was given a divorce.
What if Taherun decides to take the help of the law to get back her son? According to Muslim Law which is the law that is relevant to her as she is a Muslim, if she is successful in gaining custody of her child it will be a temporary right that will expire when the child reaches seven years. Even this temporary right translates into a mere 'custodianship' over her child since the law dictates that the father is the legal guardian of the child. Her husband, therefore, can take all decisions on behalf of the child but she cannot.
For instance, in the case of Aan Karobi Adhikari Tia, a housewife whose family alleges was killed by her husband and his relatives, Tia's mother attempted to file a case under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, but the police recorded it as an unnatural death.42
At a meeting organized to address the problem of violence against women, an MP stated that, in Bangladesh, '"we have so many laws, but not the rule of law"43
However, according to an article in The Independent, the Dhaka-based one-stop crisis centre% established to address the legal, physical and psychological needs of women victims of domestic violence, burn and sexual assault% is suffering from "limited human resources, lack of trained counselors and emergency staff, legal constraints of the police and inconsistencies [in the] complaints" by survivors since they "often retract charges against their life partners particularly when they cannot afford legal fees or when the partner is the breadwinner and has control over the children" (The Independent 8 July 2003).
As dowry is a social crime and it has a deep root in the society, it would be very difficult to eliminate fully. However, the following measure deems to be fruitful in getting out of the clutch of dowry:
1. As laws are not enough against dowry related crimes, legal reforms are
2. The conscious quarters must take steps to prevent dowry and the unhealthy
competition to give gifts at the girls wedding must stop.
3. Women's organization must work at the grassroots level on this issue. They
should try to make people understand that women are humans, not items of bargain. For this, area wire networks must be built up at village level.
Since men are the ones who oppress women, it is men who must initiate a stoppage of dowry.
All progressive forces, not just women's organizations alone, must attempt to bring about equality between the sexes. General in equality is a major cause of dowry. Improving women's position in society would be an effective measure against dowry.
The over extravagant expenses for wedding and marriage related functions must be curtailed as the bridegrooms of the take dowry so as to meet these costs. The role models of society themselves should ensure that the wedding in their family are inexpensive and devoid of extravagance so that others follow their example.
There is tendency for the girl and girl's family to simply tolerate the oppression rather than risk the marriage breaking-up. The families must not fear social shame, but boldly take action and protest against dowry related oppression. They must resort to legal action rather then encourage the girl to bear the oppression for the sake of respectability.
A woman must take an established place in society, a place of respects. Social values must be molded in this regard.
Our political parties must have specific programs against dowry and women's oppression and work for the implementation of these programs.
For all practical purposes this dowry system, which is not Islamic and specifically prohibited by state law, has become of much greater significance in the lives of the Bangladeshi people than dower. Despite the enactment of stringent laws dowry related violence continues to increase. Due to inability in respect of realization of dower and social impact of dowry system, the Muslim women still are being deprived from empowerment. By abolishing the dowry system and proper appreciation and observance of the custom of dower the Muslim women can be empowered in the society. As the root of the problem of dowry appear to be social, remedies can only be achieved by changes of attitude in society; this can be attempted by legislation, but will need to be supported by education and legal awareness.
We must continue our struggle to end the curse of dowry. The issue of dowry and oppression of women must be considered in view of the country's socio-economic, cultural, political, legal, state and overall structures and circumstances. United efforts are needed to put and end of violence against women. A specific framework must be drawn up to be implemented. Dowry would not come to end in a day, but we are certain that it will end. Correct action will ensure that.
There have been some laws enacted to control such violence against women, such as the Acid Control Act and the Dowry Prohibition Act. However, the level of violence, which continues unabated, demonstrates that such laws do not have the capacity to bring this situation to an end. While such laws are passed under pressure from women's groups and international lobbies, the state often fails to put in place implementation mechanisms to enforce such laws. Within the law-enforcement agencies, deep-seated prejudices regarding the giving of dowries and the predominance of male over female are entrenched. The Government of Bangladesh issued appeals to all heads of public and private universities and the education board to wage war against the practice of dowries in the country. However, there does not appear to be a strong.
A woman on fire has made dowry deaths the most vicious of social crimes. It is an evil prevalent in the society and despite efforts by some activists and women's rights organization to eliminate this menace; the numbers have continued to climb. In villages marriage was once considered a much sanctified bond united in the worst or best of times, in sickness or in health through the vicissitudes of life. But dowry related deaths have shattered that bond of peaceful and happy relationship.
Dowry-related violence is, in part, caused by a misplaced get-rich-quick mentality whereby dowries are seen as the perfect instrument for upward material mobility. Middle- and upper-class as well as better-educated grooms demand huge dowries. Often, even after the payment of a dowry, the husband or their families may demand more money or goods. The following story from the same media report cited above is just one out of so many such tales of violence.
Dowries put women in a helpless position as they are never part of the discussion regarding payment. Dowries are often a monetary deal between two men: the bride's father and the groom. Such cultural arrangements completely violate the dignity of women and the quality of their personal relationships.