Introduction: Dowry (যৌতুক), i.e. big presentation (উপহার) or cash money at the time of marriage, has been going on in the Indian sub-continent (উপমহাদেশ) from the ancient (প্রাচীন) time. It is like a curse (অভিষাপ) for the society where it is prevalent (বিরাজমান). It degrades (হ্রাস) the value of women in the family and the society. Those who support dowry want to assert (দাবী করা) that dowry is nothing but the money for the future maintenance (রক্ষণাবেক্ষণ) of the bride in her husband’s house. On the other hand, reformers consider dowry as a kind of social fine which is imposed (আরোপ করা হয়) on the father of girl.
Bad Impact of Dowry: The bad impact of the dowry system is overwhelming (বিশাল). Everyday in newspapers we find news describing maltreatment (দুর্ব্যবহার) and torture (নির্যাতন) to the brides (বধূ) and wives for dowry. In some cases women are beaten up, mutilated (অঙ্গহানি করা হয়) and even killed by setting fire or feeding (খাওয়ানো) poison. And in almost in every case, where the brides are not physically tortured, they are made to feel that they have committed (সংগঠিত করেছে) a crime in being born as girls.
Changing Face of Dowry: It is claimed that people’s attitude is changing with the advancement (অগ্রগতি) of civilization (সভ্যতা). Still, dowry or cash plays a vital (গুরুত্বপূর্ণ) role in marriage settlement. Nowadays dowry or cash is demanded in a different form. It is sometimes to pay for the expenses of the education of the bridegroom, sometimes helping in the business of the businessman bridegroom or furnishing the chamber of the law-practicing son-in-law. In the poorer sections of society dowry is still a common practice.
Conclusion: Dowry is, no doubt, a social evil. It degrades the dignity (মর্যাদা) of a woman in a family and in the whole society. So, public awareness (সচেতনতা) should be created to stop dowry. Government should also take effective (কার্যকর) measures (পদক্ষেপ) to enforce (বাস্তবায়ন) the laws against dowry.