Dowry be Damned

Though outlawed, dowry is a sad and disgustingly regressive fact of life in our parts of the world. I’ve tried to tackle it in a light manner, using broken Indian English and examples of what matters in larger Indian society, but I hope the message comes through strongly. Leave poetry aside, it’s an issue that needs to be outright and permanently rejected through a drastic change in collective mindset. Is education the only answer?

Girl is dark 
What to do?
Give more dowry
Two times two
(we have an obsession  for ‘gora’ or fairness)

Girl is manglik
Venus in Mars
More dowry answer
It is written in stars
(this refers to the matching of horscopes as is commonly done.
Only then can a marriage take place)

Younger married, older left
Why? Is she virgin? Any affairs?
What business of yours?
Arre baba, whole village cares
(the last line is an expression loosely translated as, “hey pal, …..”)

Girl can’t cook
Ay yai yo
Disaster in making
Add one crore
(“ai yai yo” is a South Indian colloquialism meaning “oh no!”
A crore is 10 million rupees)

Convent educated girl? 
Better speaking English will not do
No, no, boy feel insecure
Hurt his and his parents’ big ego

Boy is engineer
Very much smartest
Increased value
In marriage market

Boy is only child
All village girls want to marry
If your daughter want, it’s simple
Come with cash and carry

Different caste? How it can be?
It is most horrible
Sorry sir, if I give more money
It will be possible?
(the infamous caste system – a big barrier, even today)

Currency, gold jewellery
Buffaloes, house and car
More, more, more
Buss karo na, yaar
(A Hindi expression meaning, “enough is enough, dammit!”)

”Gifts” are exchanged, deal is done
Poor bride father exhausted lifelong savings
Now who will pay for all guests arriving?
And before that, one minute wait!
 and 500 relatives to be fed
Only then giving blessings
Boy family believe in very simple wedding
(A pandit is a Hindu priest.
And typically, it’s the bride’s family who pays for the entire wedding)

Bloody nonsense, I say
This is insane
When we will rid ourselves
Of this inexcusable bane?

Fathers, daughters, families…
Can’t we feel their pain
Come together, society
Let’s banish this shame


43 thoughts on “Dowry be Damned

      • So true… Outlawed doesn’t stop it still happening under other guises. The lehn dehn here is terrible, under the pretence of keeping customs alive, and just doing it as a ‘shagun’ or a token. Well a token could be with £1…. But thankfully it is not too bad like that here. Most people’s thinking is more forward than that now… but you still have some old skool Dadi’s or Nani’s who still talk about what the girl will bring!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think that there are more who feel that way. In an age where more people are choosing their own partners that is prevalent, but where the arranged marriages happen, especially in the villages… its going to take time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post! Highlighting key issues that sadly still exist today but shouldn’t!
    More education is needed to get rid of this absurdity! A woman’s worth is not the bloody dowry!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sonya! Is it the same among the desi community there? I’ve met Indians from Uganda who are now in the U.K. and some of them still live in the past (when they first migrated to E Africa 100+ yrs ago) in terms of their thinking! Sad!

      BTW, the Hindi/Eng poem you so kindly previewed for me on the void, was posted last Monday, for which many thanks!


  2. I absolutely hate how even our generation carries with it these ridiculous notions. Relying on dowry or even astrology is pointless and damaging, but continuing the cycle because of ‘culture’. We have to reform our culture, drop the crap and take on the good. Glad you brought attention to this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On a lighter note, I read this aloud in my best imitation of a local Indian accent and it’s quite funny. Of course this is why comedy can be so powerful to drive home some truths. There is so much discrimination and inequality passed off in the name of culture. We have varying examples of this in our different groupings. in African culture, there is the “Lobola” which used to be payment of cows to the girl’s family. (opposite to dowry). These days, the more educated pay in money and Phds are very expensive😀. We also have what’s called Black tax. This is the indebtedness to parents and siblings to pay all sorts of family expenses after young people start working. One wonders how young people will survive in the future if such practices continue. Thank you for doing a good job of raising the issue!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really amazing, Kunal. It’s such a different culture. I can’t imagine having those kinds of rules and restrictions. I hope that things eventually change, and your question of how is a good one. I will say Indian weddings are quite the beautiful spectacle…having been to one here in Seattle. Truly amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel you Kunal. It is a shame that we still have to deal with problems like these. As a lawyer, I happened to read lots of content on dowry death and it was shocking to say the least. It’s the mindset that needs correction really, I don’t see laws really working, judging by the state of things. Powerful words and a strong message.

    Liked by 1 person

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