Dowry and Stridhan: Is women an object?

Dowry and Stridhan


Traditionally, marriage is described as a union of male and female. In modern society, acceptance is been given to the union/relation of transgender or bisexual also. We are the victims of a patriarchal society where the male is dominant everywhere. After marriage, a woman is supposed to move to the husband’s house, adopt his surname, take care of her new parents, etc. No doubt, the whole system holds no equality for the woman but I see inequality even in ceremonies or rasam held during the marriage function. In the following article, I will discuss a certain practice which shows that woman is treated as property by the society as a whole.

Is woman a property?

From childhood itself, the concept of changing her house and family is nurtured in the minds of young girls. This shift of women from one place to another is even seen as a shift of property from one place to another, the concept of PARAYADHAN. Marriage is labeled as the transfer of property from the hand of a father to her husband. In the VIDAI ceremony, the woman is abided farewell by her family and thereby passing her from one family to another. Similarly, in rasam of KANYA DHAN, the maternal uncle of the bride gives her away as DHAN or donates her to a groom’s family. In addition to this, a newly wedded woman is supposed to wear certain jewelry or other things that may symbolize her relationship status. But her wedded husband is not made to do such things. Even after marriage women are expected to keep fast and pray for the long life of their husbands without getting the same treatment from the other side.  

Dowry and stridhan

Dowry refers to any gift or payment made by the bride’s family to a groom’s family during the process of marrying her off. Demanding such a gift by the groom’s family is banned and declared as illegal by the law of land.  There are specific and strict laws to tackle dowry in India. Stridhan is a less used term and many women didn’t even hear about it. It refers to the gifts given from either of the families exclusively to the bride, such as mangalsutra, rings (hand ring, wedding ring, toe ring, etc.), payal and others. These gifts are the exclusive property of a married woman and stay with her during her whole life.

What can be done?

One must be a staunch feminist. Some traditions and practices are against the core principle of equality. And are finding nothing wrong with some traditions show how internalized the bias and the bashing is. One must alter, change and modify how certain traditions and ceremony practice to make it more feminine or establish the principle of equality. So far we have seen ceremonies during the marriage which depict the image of a woman as an object. There must be a modification in such activities since we are moving towards an equal society.   

“The views of the authors are personal

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