2)An arranged marriage with problems created by the spouse or in -laws
Scenario: Consider a perfect arranged marriage decision, where Mr. M is interested in meeting Ms. W after looking up her profile on a matrimonial site. It is awkward at first but they enjoy each other’s company and start liking each other. This goes quite well with their respective families as they are a perfect match in respect of caste, status, religion etc. A lavish marriage ceremony with all the expected dowry list, gifts, pre-wedding ceremonies are done since marriage happens only once, right?
Mrs. M is trying to get used to her new joint family post-wedding and she suffers from her share of marriage blues.
One day, she asks her husband to resume her job as she is feeling bored now. He says he has no problems but she must take her in-law’s permission as she has to fulfill her duties as a wife and daughter-in-law now. She is not given the permission to resume her job as all the women in the joint family stay at home. She feels frustrated and complains to her husband, who says he is helpless as he cannot disrespect his parents’ decision.
Mr. M and his parents call her to the living room one month later to discuss something important. She feels happy that they will be giving her permission for her job and much-needed independence.
She is in for a shock as they ask her to convince her parents for more dowry, household items, gold jewellery!
She vehemently opposes this demand and states that her parents did all they could during the marriage and there is no way she is going to burden them with these further unacceptable demands. They start verbally abusing her and Mr. M gets violent by slapping her for answering back!
Their marriage was just an agreement signed for harassing her family for dowry and not what she had dreamt of as the happily ever after type of marriage.
She calls up her parents to get her out of this mess and contemplates filing a case in court for the harassment she has suffered.
Point of View:
” My family is demanding dowry since it will be used for taking care of her and the family. After all, we will be supporting her for the rest of her life!
” What is wrong in demanding dowry, everyone else demands it and it is a ritual practiced from time immemorial.
” I know my salary is good enough for the two of us, but I cannot oppose my parents’ demands as it may hurt their feelings.
” What will all the relatives say when they come to know that my wife did not bring any wealth to our house, we have to show it to them to keep their mouths shut too.
” Anyway, Mrs. M ‘s parents had been arranging for her dowry since she was a child. They must have saved enough for her marriage and themselves.
” It is an institutionalized and an integral part of Indian marriage and I am not the only one demanding it. Her family will also demand the same from their future daughter-in-law, right?
” My parents had just stated “You can give your daughter whatever you want ” to her parents. The gifts she received at the time of marriage were hers, not ours. What is wrong if we demand it now? (Are you for real! my views 😮 )
” How can anyone be so shameless in demanding dowry, after it has already been given at the time of marriage.
” Did my parents commit a mistake by even giving the expensive dowry and gifts before marriage in the first place?
” How do they expect my parents to bend to their demands, especially when they have spent all their savings on marriage?
” I want to support my parents by doing a job, which they will not allow and instead they are trying to clip my wings.
” Should I report the matter to the police, even after I know the consequences and social stigma my family will have to face?
” Should I save this marriage and adhere to their demands to close the matter?
” If I say no and Mr. M and his family abuse or torture me in any way, will I be able to tolerate it?
” What step should I take as a last resort, if I do not receive support from my family for filing a case?
” What if I am emotionally and mentally abused if I choose to stay in the marriage after conceiving? Will their demands stop then at least?
” I am well aware of how the society looks upon women who have filed for a divorce, left their husband to stay at their parents ‘ house and the like. Will that really affect me( and my child) in the future?
” Will I be held responsible for spoiling the marriage and my child’s life because I refused to adjust to this demand?
The list is never ending if we consider the impact factor for Mrs. M as she considers this aspect from varied angles, fearing what her future holds for her.
” Since the matter has already gone out of hands, and there is abuse involved, it is better for Mrs. M to talk it out directly that she will not bear it again at any cost.
” If the violence and abuse are not stopping, then it is better she packs up bags and leaves. Yes, leave immediately as it is very dangerous to live under the same roof with such people who may take an adverse step to get their demands met.
” If she confides in her parents and they fully understand her situation, they should be supporting her and not coerce her to return and adjust to save the now-failed marriage.
” To prevent her gifts and expensive items being used by her in-laws and not being returned to her, it would have been better to register everything that her family had given her as ‘gifts'(A Prenuptial Agreement).
” It is already known that it is illegal to give or take dowry(by the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961). So, in order to categorize her stuff as “Stree-Dhan” or “The Wife’s Property” and not “Dowry”, it would be a smart step to not become suddenly bankrupt!(and signed alongside the marriage contract of course).
” Simply their asking for dowry is punishable under law and can get them The punishment for violating the law is 5 years imprisonment and Rs.15000/- fine or the value of the dowry given, whichever is more.
” If Mrs. M opens their eyes to this reality as a warning before filing a case,
they still have the last chance to improve their behavior.
” If Mrs. M returns and they return back to their old ways, even after a few days or a few months, then it is better to legal help and goes ahead with filing a dowry harassment case with a lawyer’s advice.
Confronting the break in tradition-Part 2