Do I support the Dowry System if I go to a traditional Indian Wedding? – 25 Dec 14


I yesterday described a few situations in which I would say one should be firm about a modern thought, if that means not following harmful and completely wrong traditions such as the untouchability due to caste or the dowry system. An Indian man asked me recently whether the situation he was in was one of those. His friend was getting married and he knew that there would be a dowry involved in this arrangement, something he was strongly against. Now he was wondering whether he should attend the wedding or if he would be supporting the dowry system by going.

I have heard some people call me very strict when it comes to such things. I really follow my words and act according to what I say and speak of. At the same time however I can see when it is not the point of me making a statement of my belief – or non-belief – but rather to be with someone as a friend, due to the love we share.

That’s what I think is the case here. If it is a good friend of yours, you probably have already expressed your views. If it is your close family member and you have something to say in the matter, I would say beforehand that you should do your best to stop the dowry from being arranged or included in this ‘marriage deal’.

You not going to the wedding due to the dowry, no matter how you are related to the groom or the bride, won't stop the wedding. If you are neither, not a relative or good friend, the involved people probably won’t even mind much that you were not there and your point will be lost. And if you are a good friend or relative, the newlywed couple and probably their family will be upset and hurt by your action.

It will bring an injury to your relation but it won't stop them from following their tradition. You telling them about your views didn't, anyway.

And here I would like to ask you what is worth more: your ego, which is hurt that they didn't follow your idea or your love? Your belief or your friendship?

I think going to that wedding is a matter of being with your friends on the most important, beautiful and hopefully happiest day of their lives! For the sake of sharing their love, you can, for one evening, just forget about the fact that they have another, outdated and wrong, view on this topic and just enjoy!

This doesn't mean that you have to be there and sit through the complete ritual, if you are against the religious components of such occasions! That is not necessary and if everyone knows your stand, nobody will be upset if you miss that part. But they would miss you in the party – and you would miss it, too!

So stop torturing you with such questions, do what you feel like and just be open with your friends and family! Enjoy life – don't make it overly complicated!

And in the same spirit, even though I have nothing to do with Christmas, its traditions or significance, can now wish all my readers and friends who celebrated yesterday, today and tomorrow, to have a wonderful time full of love and peace! Enjoy your holidays and festivities, hug your family and don't overeat on the delicious food!

One Reply to “Do I support the Dowry System if I go to a traditional Indian Wedding? – 25 Dec 14”

  1. Well, it’s up to an individual as to what importance he/she gives to his/her values. My stance differs from this article. Practices like untouchability and dowry thrive only because those involved in it do not get any censure from society. My friends or relatives can cite excuses for their involvement in such practices, but then they shouldn’t expect me to follow their ‘moral weakness’ and compromise with my values. If they are real friends, they would understand that I can love them without supporting them in bad practices and they should at least respect my adherence if they can’t follow it themselves.The very fact that my not attending the wedding won’t stop it is a good reason to not attend it and express my disapproval without causing any real harm.
    I have been keeping myself away from dowry weddings for the last 5 years. People around me know it, hence they already expect me not to attend a dowry-wedding. So, they don’t get much ‘hurt’. Attending one’s wedding is not everything for a relation, understanding each other’s values is. It’s not ‘ego’, it’s standing up for a cause even when the person opposite you is someone close to you. This kind of courage is the most required thing for today’s society.

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