Currently, our society is suffering from many social evils.“Dowry” is one of them. It consists of money and other items like jewellery which parents give away to their daughters at the time of their marriage. It is a custom which is prevalent in all sections of the society in one form or the other and vexes girls’ parents to no end. This is a very old custom but in recent times it has become very widespread and problematic to the parents of the girls. In the past, it was a voluntary offer on the part of the parents but now-a-days it has become a compulsion and a necessary evil.

This is a great slur on the Pakistani society. It has also reduced the status of the girls. It shows that women are inferior to men. It is a curse specially for the poor parents who have to beg and borrow huge money to give dowry to their daughters. It causes a lot of sufferings to the girls as well to their parents. Some people compel their daughters-in-law to bring money even after the marriage. Thus, it has made life of the women a living hell.

It is difficult to find a good boy for a girl without paying a high price for the same. Wealthy parents of the boys try to demand a large amount of dowry both in cash as well as in kind. In a way, they fix the rate of the dowry according to the status of a boy. Thus, whether a parent can pay or not it has become compulsory at the time of marriage.

It has ruined the lives of many a brilliant girl because their parents could not afford to give sufficient dowry to the family where they intended to marry their daughters. Sometimes, the girls commit suicide when their husbands or in-laws persecute them to bring more and more money from their parents. Sometimes, the greedy husbands, along with their parents, also kill their wives when they are not given huge dowry.

Now, there is a great demand by the people that this evil of dowry should be eradicated completely. Many girls and boys are taking pledges that they will not accept dowry at the time of their marriages. There is no doubt that until and unless the educated youth of the country come forward to abolish this evil from our society, nothing tangible can be done to eliminate it once forever. It is quite heartening to note that in the last a few years a strong public opinion has been created against this evil.

Our Government should also announce certain steps in this regard. A change has to be made in Government Servant’s conduct rules. It should be made illegal for the government servants to give or accept dowry at the time of their marriages. Besides this, the government also should fix the number of members who will go in the marriage ceremony to reduce the expenditures on marriages.

In reality, a strong propaganda should be started against this evil by all responsible persons in the society. Young men and women should stage demonstrations against those persons who succumb to or demand dowry. Of course, the government should also pass stringent laws against this evil but social evils cannot be abolished without the active participation of the society.

ABDUL SAMAD SAMO,

Karachi.