Whether Inheritance to Women Is a Viable Solution to the Dowry Problem in India
The gravest form of the problem is dowry death, the enormity whereof can be visualized by the fact that according to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in 1994, there occurred a dowry death in India every 102 minutes. According to a statement made by the State Minister for Home Affairs in the Parliament of India, the number of dowry deaths in 1993 was 5,817.
It must be noted that this data is based on reported cases only. In reality, about 40% of cases are not reported. The Hindustan Times, a newspaper in New Delhi with a nationwide circulation, published a report on August 9, 1995 stating that the number of dowry deaths in India in 1994 was 8,500. In other words, in reality, every 40 minutes a bride is killed for dowry in India.
The average record of the last decade is also very disturbing. Every 6 minutes, a crime was committed against women. Every 7 minutes a woman was raped, every 45 minutes a woman was kidnapped or abducted. Three-hundred and thirty-three women were subjected to cruelty. Seventeen dowry deaths were reported every day. The total number of reported crimes against women was 82,818. Indubitably, this represents only 30% of the actual number of cases.
The evil of the dowry system implies the demand made by the bridegroom's family to the bride's family in an arranged marriage. The bride's family, under social pressure, and having regard for the welfare and safety of the bride, has no option other than to capitulate to the demands of the groom's family.
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