You are currently viewing Religion and Dowry Tradition Leave Baby Girls Unwanted – 29 Mar 11

Religion and Dowry Tradition Leave Baby Girls Unwanted – 29 Mar 11

Yesterday I explained you the system of dowry in India and mentioned that it is the reason for many more problems in India. The dowry is for example one of the reasons why many couples wish their babies to be boys, not girls. Let me explain this to you.

It is normal in India that the bride leaves her family and moves to the groom’s home after their wedding. The wedding is thus a big celebration but the parents of the bride also say goodbye to their daughter on that day. I already told how the wedding gifts that they gave to the groom turned into a pre-decided amount of gifts. I described how a rich bride’s family can give several cars, golden jewelry and a lot of cash on top to the groom and his family. This may be an amazing spectacle when there are rich families marrying their children. What happens however when the bride’s family is not that rich?

Even if the girl’s family is not rich, they try their best to get a good husband for their daughter. They really want to make sure she has a good life and as a high dowry can bring a husband with a good job who will be able to provide well for their daughter, they do everything to be able to give enough.

When a baby is born and it is a girl, the parent start saving, practically the moment she leaves her mother’s womb. Companies offer complete saving plans for girls because of this tradition. Some people however don’t manage to really save a lot and so, when the wedding day is coming closer, they take loans in order to get enough money together. Some people even sell their property, their inheritance, for their girl because it is her once-in-a-lifetime chance.

So if the baby is a girl, they know they have to start saving whereas when the baby is a boy, they know they can ‘sell his value’ at the time of his wedding. This may not be the only reason why they are happy about having a boy. Boys stay in the family, often run the business of their father and they keep the family name and thus preserve the family tradition. The sons and their families will be there and take care of the parents when they get old. And on top of all these benefits they get the dowry of the bride!

Even the Hindu religion says that you need to have male offspring, otherwise you will not go to heaven in between your incarnations. Your lineage will not be carried on and there is nobody who will burn your body once you are dead, as only men usually go to burn the bodies of their elders. In Hinduism there are many confusing ideas such as this one which make people want to have boys and not girls.

Due to this preference of boys, it is now also illegal for doctors in India to tell the gender of unborn children which they can see in the ultrasound picture. With this law abortions of girls, simply because of their gender, shall be stopped.

And so Indian parents try again and again to have a boy and not a girl. Unfortunately the woman has a lot of pressure through this and no way to do anything for ‘success’. If she gives birth to a girl and is in a family that is not very loving, she can quickly become the subject of the anger of her parents-in-law. This anger shows in comments and can even become violent.

This is just another reason why the system of dowry should be extinguished from this society.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hans-Christian Vom Kolke

    Fortunately, the western society is about 50-100 years ahead in breaking with these traditions.It used to be the same in Europe until the beginning of the 20th century.
    It is a specific trait of traditional societies, where women are not treated equally.

  2. Swami Balendu

    Dear H C, I am very sure this change will come here too. I am very positive and hope with coming generations. I think process has started. Love

  3. Jenni

    There were and still are so many different ways to make an arrangement between a marriage couple. And they tell so much about how the boy and the girl are valued. I have to add one more culture historical aspect from Finland, which tells how much the girl’s point of view was taken into consideration: In Finland, instead of dowry, the husband used to give the wife a so called “tomorrows present” on the next morning of their wedding night. The husband’s present was usually quite much – a cow, an acre of forest or even a small house. It was ment for the wife as a financial support in case she would be widowed. The men died more often and I guess statistically still die before their wifes. This “tomorrow’s present” was mentioned also in the law books. So the Finnish girls were able to first play their “rasalila” with all of the village boys, choose their favorite one of them as husband and after marriage get a present on top of it! An amazingly equal system, hai nahi?

  4. Swami Balendu

    This is a nice idea, a nice tradition. I guess Finnish girls couldn’t complain!

  5. Abigail LeClerc

    We need to do more to increase the respect for women around this world. Don’t these families see that in India there are more men than women? And if they only want to have boys, then who is going to give birth to those boys? If there are some day only men left, what will you do? Start buying women from other countries?India will reach a state like China some day, when the government has to reduce the number of allowed children to only one. Then it will change the society profoundly and Indians would value their daughters more.

  6. Ramona

    yes, actually people seem to forget that there is a mother to each boy and that we need a balance of men and women on this world in order for humankind to exist further :)But I believe we are going a good way by increasing awareness about it and more respect for women!

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