Dowry--a deep-rooted cause of violence against women in India

Med Sci Law. 2005 Apr;45(2):161-8. doi: 10.1258/rsmmsl.45.2.161.


The world has entered the new millenium but it is a harsh reality that the woman in India has long been ill-treated in our male-dominated society. She is deprived of her independent identity and is looked upon as a commodity. She is not only robbed of her dignity and pride by way of seduction by the men outside, but also may become a victim of cruelty by her saviours, within the four walls of her own house. However, her trauma does not end here, it may even go to the extent of forcing her to commit suicide or she may be burnt to death for various reasons, including that of dowry. This type of violence transgresses the boundaries of caste, class, region or religion and is prevalent in almost all societies in India. The system of dowry is a social practice which on its own has claimed the lives of scores of women--both young and old, and has made life a virtual hell for many more. Unfortunately, education among women has not produced a reformative effect on their social outlook, nor encouraged any change in them conducive to social upliftment. Those parents who prefer not to take dowry for their well-qualified and settled male children, are in fact considered 'strange' by the society and doubts about 'the respectability of the groom's family' are usually raised. The present study makes an in-depth review of the dowry system in India and analyses the reasons which have demonized dowry into its present commercialized and institutionalized form.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Criminal Law
  • Female
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Homicide / prevention & control
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Marriage / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Marriage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Spouse Abuse / prevention & control
  • Women's Rights* / legislation & jurisprudence