Hello friends, I think story and poem’s are the best way of fighting against any social issues, so I have decided to write few stories against some social issues, will like to begin with Dowry system prevalent in India and other neighbouring countries.
Before beginning with dowry story I will like to share some facts and figures, so that it can be realized how serious the issue is
At least 1 woman will die in a dowry related attack in India every hour.
In 2004, Amnestry International reported that at least 15000 women were being murdered each year in India, in dowry related cases. Other grassroots women’s organizations in India estimate the number to be much higher. The Ahmedabad Women’s Action group for example has estimated that at least 1000 women were killed each year in dowry related homicides in the state of Gujarat alone.
And American television journalist, Lisa Ling while investigating dowry murders in the city of Bangalore was informed by local NGOs and hospitals working on such cases, that in that city alone, there could be as many as 1200 cases each year.
Defining What Dowry is?
Dowry is a transaction between two parties involving cash, or other valuable articles such as precious metals, gems, clothing, appliances, real estate, or goods for entertainment, made as a condition for entering a marriage contract. In the majority of communities in contemporary India, the groom's party demands dowry from the bride's party.
In many cases there are trade off’s between the two parties, bride’s party gives money and expects good amount of gold in return of the money to her daughter, and cash money at many stages of marriage’s, and groom’s party try to get every bit of money used in marriage’s.
Many people just throw up lot of money on their marriage, and turn out to be financially week after the marriage itself, which according to me is a bad-deal.
In various cases, the bride’s are literally kind of sold specially government officers, and engineer's, the boy’s side put up a condition that those who can give certain amount of money as dowry, can only come to their house for marriage.
And The Story Begins………..
Hi, My name is Teena, At age 19 I have seen so many things in this world, which normally a girl is never exposed to. Yes I have seen brutal and harsh realities of the world. I am sharing my story with you so that it never happen again with any other girls, and their parents too should also know how dowry can damage the life of her daughter or of someone else.
I still remember my golden day’s, when i was just 14. I used to ride my bicycle to go to school, which was 3 Kms. from my home, i was from lower middle economy class, my father is a farmer with little land and we were happy with our small house in a small village. The life at that time was much beautiful, i still remember my hanging’s on Mango Tree’s with rope tide’s. (Jhoola’s). I use to swing at fastest pace. I use to run with all other gals and play game’s with them and other younger’s. My elder brother even use to scold me for my fun loving attitude and for not concentrating on my studies. But i was not that bad in studies but my brother was extra-ordinary in studies thats why my family use to scold me as i was comparatively dull.
I was in 8th standard, but i look more off grown up from my appearances, I was enjoying changes in my body and as i was much beautiful boys use to stare me but there was one boy in class X, who took my nerves away, i don’t know was it love or attraction at that time, but today am sure that was not love.
One day i approached to him, and proposed him. He appeared to be a kind of shocked but within minutes he told “I Love You too”, yes perhaps he told so because i was much beautiful.
We now use to spare as much time as we can, and some time we use to exchange kisses and all. I even visited his home for no such big reasons and found they were good people, one fine day after school we met and he took me to his home, for my surprise there was no one, and we crossed all the limits.
Our life was going good, and few more such incidents happened till the day came when i realized that i was pregnant, Yes we missed prevention on our day 1, as i was truly not much aware about sex. Soon my mom realised this as she noticed changes in me, she scolded me a lot and finally i revealed all the things, my mother told to my dad and they decided to marry us.
My family put huge pressures on boys side and finally they agreed to marry us, I was very happy the day we got married, and i went to my hubbies family with some tears in my eye’s which no girl can resist when leaving her home, and so i was not a different case.
Few days went very good and soon i became mother of a beautiful Girl, Yes she was a girl and she looked like me, with some appearance of her father. In this way one year and six months went off.
Now i was 16, and i got the news am pregnant again, My hubby wished that we should get a check up and if she’s a girl we will kill her. He had an excuse of no other source of income except the land which he cultivated. Yes after 10th, he had left studies and me too after marriage. But somehow i escaped check up’s but could not do it for a long time, when i had to move hospital because of some pains, and where they got me tested and results were positive, that means its GIRL again.
I had heard talking them, that they will kill her, but i with my full resistance saved my daughters life, and i became mother of the second daughter.
We were having good days, except some odd days when my husband use to drink and beet me, but i don’t know when i became used to this. I don’t know where my life was taking me to.
Now i grew to age 17 or so, and my hubby was of 20. One day when i was working with preparation of food’s I found some unfamiliar guests at home. I could hear them talking about marriage, and i wondered who’s marriage??
That day i could not get but later i realized that a girl’s parents came there to marry her daughter with my husband and after this day everyone’s behaviour towards me changed, all of a sudden i became burden to my family and my husband. He even beaten me ruthlessly many a times.
Then finally one day my husband told me “ I have been caught in to a trap by you bitch, you deliberately proposed me and gave birth to a child to marry me for free, you and your family cheated us, i don’t wont to live with you, so get out of my house”
This was not the end, he continued “ You do not have a potential to give birth to a Male child, you have some problems so you give birth to two girl child in a row, I am going to marry another girl who could provide me a Male child”
Finally i decided to fight and shouted the Biology behind that a male is responsible for the sexual orientation of a child not the Female, and I also clarified that he had excepted me, and he was never forced to do anything, instead he was the one who took the first move, and i just could not resist……. and It was you... Leave it..! Damn leave it.
That day I cried for whole night did not ate a bit, and no one even cared for this, I cried in sheer pain remembering my parents and my brother, why did i felt in love, why did i gave up studies, why did i became pregnant, and why i married him?
My husband all of a sudden became nice to me, and I soon found why so, he had a proposal, that my family should pay 1 Lakh Rs. as dowry or else he would marry other girl who’s parents are ready to pay Rs 1.5 Lakh.
I went in to a dilemma, my elder brother was studying in a Boarding school for better perspectives and i know how my parents took pain to manage his studies and in midst if I ask for such a huge amount, How will they manage? I know they don’t have any extra pennies…
I will not ask them and will not inform them whatever happens to me, was the final decision I took.
Then from that day onward violence on me increased day by day, and i have been toned and tortured daily, I never came to known when i surrendered to them, Sometimes i think why i haven't lodged a police complaint?
Finally, one day i came to know about the marriage date’s, and the preparations began, I was wondering why the other Girl’s family is marrying him.. After a lot of efforts i came to know that the Girl’s father is a childhood friend of Boy’s father and they told them, their wife(Me) is a devil and i am eating up his life.
The day of marriage was coming nearer and i was loosing my nerves, i was wondering what i can do? should i lodge a police complaint?
Before i could take any decision they locked me in a room, they gave me one or two time food and they beat me for dowry too.. My husband even rapped me whenever wished and in this way i became a prey to him and his family.
Still few days passed on and one day my husband accompanied by her mother came in my room, he grabbed my hair and pushed me out of room, I have to follow him as he brutally pulled my hair, he took me out of the house, and i was shouting help, help….. help.. Many people followed the incident but none came to help.
I listened a lady telling “ Family matter why should we interfere”
I was shouting like hell, "help, help, help....." till they took me to a some distant room which was a storage room near our land.
They took me inside and locked the room from inside then my husband’s mom shouted kill this bitch, we don’t need her any-more. Tomorrow is your marriage and we don’t need her. My husband took out a bottle full of acid and told me to drink it voluntarily.
I completely went in to shock and refused, i hided myself below the bed, as the room was closed i could not run out. He caught me up. His mother opened the bottle and said “Tu aese nahi manegi, kamini, dekti hoon aaj kon bachata hai tujhe” (You will not understand in this way, lets see who saves you)
I tried hard gave my best to get out, but my hubby soon tied me with big knots (Usually used to tie a buffalo). i was unable to move they tied my legs and hands.
My hubby took the bottle and opened it. He brought it near my mouth. I was shouting “Koi Bachao, bhagwan ke liye chod do, mujhe maaf kardo, me ghar chod ke humesha ke liye chali jaungi, kabhi nahi aungi, bachao pls, chod do” (Please save me, someone help me, i will leave home for ever, will not come back please leave me for god shake).
soon i started coughing because of smell of acid, my husband shouted “You will go to police, we can’t take the risks”
He all of a sudden inserted the bottle in my mouth and tried best to insert acid in my mouth, i was helpless, soon it came in my mouth and neck and i was burning with pains, i cant tell you the pain which i was suffering from, he ruthlessly kept pouring it, his mother kept on encouraging him and he kept on, soon my stomach started burning with pain, i listened his mother shouting “Sali dahej nahi degi, dekti hoon tujhe kaun bachayega” (will not pay dowry, lets see who save’s you). and in this way i went unconscious.
They left me there, considering i am dead, i found myself conscious early morning next day. I found myself closed in the room, and it was going to be morning soon, i have to run up, else they may come up for burning or throwing up my body, as they might have considered me death; but how to get out?
My body was badly damaged, i could not speak a word, my body right from mouth to stomach to still below was burned, my skin got wrinkles of burns, it was even hard for me to move, but i have to get out somehow, else they will kill me again..
I found a window, which had wooden closed lids, i moved there and opened it. Thanks no iron grills there, i have to jump this window, i tried my best but failed twice to come to a position to jump, third time i succeeded I jumped down, i remain fallen for a minute or so and then started crawling.
I kept moving until i reached near a government health centre, i moved on to reach and as i reached there, i went unconscious.
When i came back to consciousness i found myself undergoing treatments, my mom-dad sitting beside me, and bottles of medicine’s injected.
I just looked at my mom and my eye’s stared tearing, she looked at me and started crying too, i tried to speak but i could not..
Police came there and lodged an FIR and my mom told the truth; they took my husband and his mother under police arrest on same day, i.e marriage day, and they could not marry him again.
Days went off, and i just cried every moment in hospital, i had a desire to speak but i could not, more over the constant pain was killing me. I have lot of things to speak but how? Emotions drained me from top to bottom and thank god my mom understood every bit i want to speak. Really mom’s are great, they can understand every bit of things, what their child is feeling. Thank god for gifting such a sweet mom, when i looked back in my life, i realized that my mom-dad are the only people in support of me. My elder brother was still not informed, else he would have run up from his exams which were going ON, yes by now he was doing engineering, and i am so proud of him, damn why i didn’t study??
Finally, after a month i got discharged, i got my voice, but still i was very week, i was advised to remain on liquids as my digestion was not yet good, and the burns of acid on my skin remained there.
My husband and her mom could not get the bail and they are behind the bars, is what i was informed. My brother came back after exams and we cried together..!
In this way days went off, i got back both my daughter’s back from my husband’s home, even they were happy with my step. I was much happy after getting my daughter’s back in my life.
Now today, i am preparing for my IIT exams, and my daughters are grown up, one is of 4 years and other about 2 years, six months. My mom is saying they will take care of her. I am ambitious about my future.
Few things i like to suggest everyone, specially girls like me.
1. Never fall in love at early age, at least be 21 to take any big decisions or at least 18.
2. Always try to remain self independent.
3. Get as much education as you can.
4. Always seek you parents opinion before taking any decision, and think of their advice 100 times.
5. Never let someone, that includes your husband and family too, to kill your Girl child, at whatever cause.
6. Never become a prey of your husband and family, fight against domestic violence.
7. Report to police they are your friend.
8. Never give or take dowry and do not permit your parents to do so.
9. Help other girls and guide them so in future there would not be any “Teena (Me)”.
10. A dowry can even affect you though you might have not given it, just as in my case, as the other girls family were giving dowry i have to suffer. So fight against this system.
11. Take a pledge for not giving and taking dowry, and be proud off. Here is the link to take the pledge, i hope you will definitely take the pledge.
This story can be used as a case in the management subjects like “Marketing of social services”.
If used as a case then following questions could be raised..
Q.1 What will you do as a social marketing organizaton to avoid such incidents in future?
Q.2 Draft a social marketing plan, against dowry as a social evil.
Have a group discussion what Teena should have done and what should she have avoided in your class.
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Hi, I hope you would have read the story and even might have taken the pledge, if you do so kindly write in comment so that i can know my efforts worked or not, even if a single person makes a commitment i will think i have done a great job.
Thanks and Regards,
Navneet Singh Chauhan.