October 30, 2005

Indian Middle Class Grows, But Ugly Tradition Persists

Looking at the current population trends of India, I'm at a loss to figure out, shouldn't the groom's family give dowry to the bride's family? After all, there is a shortage of eligible brides in India and an excess of grooms. China did not follow this dirty practice and doesn't do so now too. The shortage of brides in China is already being felt among young men of marriageable age. I'm waiting for this to become noticeable in India. Then dowry will flow the other way round. :)) In a village in Punjab or Haryana, there are many 40-50 year old bachelors because women aren't willing to get married to anybody in this village as it located on a island and is therefore isolated. Such stories will become more common in the next decade as Punjab has only 750odd females for every 1000 males.
In particular, the death of the young newlywed -- a shy, deeply religious schoolteacher's daughter whose husband had a college degree and worked in computer graphics -- shows that the age-old practice endures even, and perhaps especially, among the educated urban middle-class.

Despite laws barring dowry, and decades of protests and public awareness campaigns, a nationwide survey of 10,000 households by the All-India Democratic Women's Association in 2002 found that the practice was no longer confined to the Hindu upper castes, where it originated, but had spread across a broad range of classes and communities, including Muslims and Christians.

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