Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dowry System in India - A short story of a women's fight against dowry, gender equality & acid attack #StopDowry

2023 UPDATE: Hello Friends, thanks for giving so much love to this post. Back in 2010 when I wrote this post, I haven't expected so much love from every one of you. The story has been enacted in several colleges in India and has been widely appreciated by viewers. It is one of the most read blog posts on my blog with 50K+ reads. 

Also, one positive update, in the last decade India has seen an overall reduction in dowry cases and dowry deaths but the battle against dowry would go on till the day the society becomes dowry free.  Thank you so much once again.

Short Story on Dowry System in India

Tuesday, March 30, 2010: Hello friends, I think story and poems are the best way of fighting against any social issues, so I have decided to write few stories against some social issues, I would like to begin it with the Dowry system prevalent in India and other neighbouring countries.
Before beginning with the dowry story, I would 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, Amnesty International reported that at least 15,000 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 tradeoffs between the two parties, bride’s party gives money and expects a 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 a 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 especially government officers, and engineer's, the boy’s side put up a condition that those who can give a 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 the brutal and harsh realities of the world. I am sharing my story with you so that it never happens again with any other girl, 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 days, when I was just 14. I used to ride my bicycle to go to school, which was 3 km. 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 hangings on the Mango Trees with rope tide. (Jhoola’s). I used to swing at the fastest pace. I used to run with all other girls and play games with them and other youngers. My elder brother even used 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 that's 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 beautiful; boys use to stare me but there was one boy in class X, who took my heart 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 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 bold and beautiful.
We now use to spare as much time as we can, and sometimes 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, to my surprise, there was no one, and we crossed all the limits.

Our life was going well, 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 of sex. Soon my mom realized this as she noticed changes in me, she scolded me a lot and finally, I revealed all the things, my mother told my dad and they decided to marry us.

My family put huge pressures on the boy's side and finally, they agreed to marry us, I was very happy the day we got married, and I went to my hubby's family with some tears in my eye’s which no girl can resist when leaving her home.

Few days went very good and soon I became the mother of a Beautiful Girl, Yes she is a girl and she looked like me, with some appearance of her father. In this way, one year and six months passes.

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 to them, that they will kill her, but I with my full resistance saved my daughter's life, and I became the mother of the second daughter.

We were having good days, except for some odd days when my husband used to drink and beat 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 the 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 a burden to my family and my husband. He even beat me ruthlessly many times.

Then finally one day my husband told me “I have been caught into 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 want 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 children 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 accepted 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 the whole night did not eat a bit, and no one even cared for this, I cried in sheer pain remembering my parents and my brother, why did I fell in love, why did I give up studies, why did I become 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 10 Lakh Rs. as dowry or else he would marry another girl whose parents are ready to pay Rs 15 Lakh.

I went into 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 the 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 dates, 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 losing 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 the 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 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 into shock and refused, I hid 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, let's 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 husband 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 forever, will not come back please leave me for god shake).
soon I started coughing because of the smell of acid, my husband shouted “You will go to the 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 can't 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” (since you will not pay dowry, let's see who saves 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 the mouth to stomach to still below was burned, it was even hard for me to move, but I have to get out somehow, else they will kill me...

I found a window, which had wooden closed lids, I moved there and opened it. Thanks, no iron grills were there, I have to jump this window, I tried my best but failed twice to come to a position to jump, the 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 center, I moved on to reach and as I reached there, I went unconscious.

When I returned to consciousness, I found myself undergoing treatments, my mom-dad sitting beside me, and bottles of medicines injected.
I just looked at my mom and my eye’s started tearing, she looked at me and started crying too, I tried to speak but could not.

The police came there and lodged an FIR and my mom told the truth; they took my husband and his mother under police arrest on the same day, i.e. marriage day, and they could not marry him again.

Days went off, and I just cried every moment in the hospital, I had a desire to speak but I could not, moreover the constant pain was killing me. I have a 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 my daughter’s back from 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. My mom is saying they will take care of her. I am ambitious about my future.

Few things I like to suggest everyone, especially girls like me.

1. Never fall in love at an 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 your parent's 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 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 of. Here is the link to take the pledge, I hope you will definitely take the pledge - https://pledge.mygov.in/anti-dowry/.

----------------------------------------THE END-------------------------------------------
This story can be used as a case study in management subjects like “Marketing of social services”.
If used as a case then the following questions could be raised.

Q.1 What will you do as a social marketing organization 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 she should have avoided in your class.

As the blog is published, it is covered under the copy-right acts, so any case of copying of the content or its part is not permitted and is a subject to jurisdiction.

Incase you liked this; you can share the link of my blog. You can also "Like" it to share on Facebook or "Tweet" to share on Twitter..! _______________________________________________________________________________
Hi, I hope you would have read the story and even might have taken the pledge if you do so kindly write in the 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.

You might be interested in reading related articles on these social issues.

And how to get maximum cashback on online shopping? Read here - How to earn extra cashback on online shopping?

Read Quotes written by me here. Know more about me in "My Story"

Thanks and Regards,
Navneet Singh Chauhan.


  1. Long story buddy, I will read it after the exam..

  2. hi navneet..nice post indeed..but this is just the tip of the iceberg...dowry system is a social evil that has infected the society badly. its a saddening fact that even educated people are party to such evils

  3. hey definaion is good...remaining part 20th ke baad padhunga...

  4. one must have to read this story ..... Navneet you just did a great job, above lines is telling a lot about social evils in INDIA.... main problem is proper education, and more over Indian mentality. i don't know but how this kind of animals can be there among us..... one thing for sure, society can be for better with out these animals...... just like computer work ib=n best way when it is virus free......

  5. Thanks Gaurav. Thanks for being here. Yes I agree proper education and reserved thought of our people is one big reason.

  6. Poojasolanki21 May, 2012

    all the youth of india should take a pledge to nnot give n take dowry....
    kyu ki shuruwat hum hi ko karni hogi
    n yes if u r not reacting that means u r indirectly supporting it....
    so lets just end it

  7. Varsha Nandi00331 May, 2012

    it's so boring....

  8. Dear Varsha. While writing this story I never thought of making it entertaining. The focus was on Dowry and the social evils. Thanks.

  9. beautiful story...i mean its very interesting...but sad..
    yo!!it was cool!!..thanks for the story..teacher liked it..

  10. very true.... we are enacting this story on 23rd of this month... thanks for the story...

  11. @anonymous: I am feeling great listening to this...! All the best...!

  12. Thank u so much for the story.... we got 1st prize!!! actually we had inter-departmental dramatics in our col... it came out so well... I acted like teena n got Best Actress Award... the chef guest personally called us n told that it was so very good... we asked a person to act like u... it was lukin like Navneet Singh Chauhan himself telling the story to the audience... the chef guest stood up n clapped for us... thank u so so much....god bless u....

  13. Thanks for sharing the results. Heartiest Congratulations. I will like to Thank You for promoting the story and concept. Hoping that many people have learned from the drama and the message will be spread further. And many many congratulations for getting best actress award.

  14. nothing will happened if you file case again those who demand dowry shame on Indian laws

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Yes girl's should raise their voice against dowry system.