The Dowry Debate

A little revisit of an older post of mine. 😃

It was fun writing about the whole Arranged Marriage  thing, and it brought another issue to my mind too.

What's she worth?

What’s she worth?


The whole dowry issue.  I don’t know what you might know about dowries, but in India, and within Indian families around the world, it is, and in some cases, was, thankfully, a custom of gifting the bridegrooms family with money and items, to basically bump up the value of their girl!

It’s common practice to give a girl a certain amount of jewellery, or gold.  This hails back to the days when a woman wasn’t educated, or didn’t work, have a career, besides being a home maker, a wife and mother.  The gold was there as a security almost.  If something was to happen to her husband, or she fell into any difficulties, that the gold was there for her to use, to better her life again.  A lot of women saw that gold handed over, given in good faith by her family, to the in-laws, never to see it again.

The reason I blog about it today is the same show me and the munchkins were watching, showed a family refusing to take anything from the brides family, the fact that they were giving their daughter, was gift enough.  In theory, this is a wonderful idea, however in the serial, it is a cover up, they don’t want to demand anything, they need the boy married off poste haste, to cover some criminal activity!

But it brought me to thinking about dowry, and demands nowadays.  Here in the UK I have noticed, that there is not so much of a demand for items now.  Mostly we have love marriages.  The couple would probably wed whether their family was happy or not, yet tradition still dictates that there is a certain amount of lehn dehn, give and take, involved. an outfit for the boy, an outfit each for the main females of the grooms family, and shirts or turbans for the menfolk.  Some get a small jewellery set, or rings too. but the weddings themselves are huge affairs, costing tens of thousands of pounds, so as a parent, you need to be saving, well, before you even have kids!

In India, from what I have heard and experienced, there is still a lot of it happening, even though it is frowned upon.  Not only do you need to give your daughter , who you have lovingly brought up, into a strangers family, but they want a car, a fully kitted out kitchen, new sofa set… oh, all manner of things! And if the boy is in high demand, this can be a bartering tool to go from that three door car to the 5 door 4×4!




So many families, using the wealth that is their sons, to gather even more! It amazes me, some people have no shame!

The other thing that is happening is that you get people with their visas for abroad, and permanent residencies, coming back home and then selling their kids hand to the highest bidder… that is a whole other topic that I will blog about at a later date!

Seriously??!!  You know, when we got married, my in laws didn’t ask for the earth, we just did the basics. It wasn’t needed.  Its not like they lived in poverty and needed a leg up, by way of gifts from the daughter in laws family!  As much as you get a daughter, the other side gain a son.. isn’t that give and take enough?

When our time comes, I know that what would be of utmost importance to us, is that the children be happy. I couldn’t put a price on my daughter, or son’s head or anyone else’s either!

But I Smile Anyway...

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nina
    Feb 22, 2017 @ 20:46:28

    If the custom of giving dowry is not being taken advantage of, perhaps there is a valid and good explanation for the custom. But for me personally, I think Love is enough reason why someone should marry. Two people should be together because of love and not of material wealth.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. A Muslim Latina
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 02:31:31

    It’s sad that this is happening. I see it when I go to hubbies family events how mothers talk about their daughters, then when they talk about the men its how much he can give their daughter… Sad, I guess when people start living life to be happy instead of following culture and tradition it will probably get more outrageous.
    One girl I know of said she had to get a home under her name only and certain amount of money to marry her husband…. all I thought was, “I feel sorry for your husband, you see him as a bank then what he should be..”
    Insha’Allah parents today start teaching their children about love and loving their spouse for who they are not by the numbers they bring in…

    Liked by 3 people


    • Ritu
      Feb 23, 2015 @ 07:11:38

      It’s so important to change the thinking of the masses. Education helps, but in villages, where education is minimal sometimes, that is where things are worse… Hopefully it’ll hit home soon!

      Liked by 2 people


  3. Leanne
    Feb 22, 2015 @ 21:47:46

    It’s a bit sad that I don’t know the full story behind dowries in Chinese culture as you do in Indian culture. I know parents of daughters often complain that daughters were expensive because of the dowry and they’d lose the daughter to strangers. It’s not a very nice picture when you add that surnames can only be passed through the male side of the family, despite it being passed down from the female side originally.

    There were also plenty of “gift-giving” even though everyone knew that part of the union felt more like “here, you take her.” This kind of crap wouldn’t happen if matriarchy petsisted.

    Liked by 1 person


    • Ritu
      Feb 22, 2015 @ 21:58:20

      I’d love to know more about dowry in another country… Maybe a post for you to write in the future!!



      • Leanne
        Feb 23, 2015 @ 00:43:49

        I hint at it in one of my chapters in my “3rd book” where I have the main female character who have knowledge of these “old ways” but modern Chinese don’t technically have a dowry system in place. These people are like you and your hubby who marry for love, but they also expect both sides of their family to give furniture or car or financially contribute to purchasing one of the two.

        When the time does come, I hope I remember to reblog this post so people can read about it. I just think it’s so interesting that both India and China have/had dowry systems but nobody can really say this system came from India and was introduced into China like Buddhism was.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Feb 23, 2015 @ 07:08:57



  4. edwinasepisodes
    Feb 22, 2015 @ 20:48:24

    I understand why dowries started but i would think that nowadays a small token would be enough. As you said, a little bit of give and take and the couple’s happiness is what matters.

    Liked by 2 people


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