Assault, harassment, death, torture, suicide, murder, it is a consistent flow of thoughts, is it not? Well, I consider this to be a synonym of none other than the word dowry. Dowry is the money, goods or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. When we look back into history, dowry was widely practiced in most parts of the world until the early modern era. In England, failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could cause a marriage to be called off. Vast inheritances were standard as dowries for aristocratic and royal brides in Europe during the Middle Ages. The Portuguese crown gave two cities as dowry to the British Crown in 1661 when King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland married Catherine of Braganza, a princess of Portugal. They were Mumbai in India and Tangier in Morocco. The giving of a dowry more or less disappeared in Europe in the 19th century. The practice grew, however, in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh. In India, dowry includes cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newly-weds set up their home. It puts a great financial strain on the bride’s family as they try to make the marriage an extravagant affair as per the wish of groom’s family. Sometimes they stretch beyond their means in order to meet the marriage expenses and end up taking huge loans or even sell off their properties. They think that having received the huge dowry the groom and their family would not ill-treat the bride and give her due respect. At the other end, the groom’s family thinks that bride’s family may have good property as they have spent such a huge sum in the marriage itself. A "dowry killing" occurs when parents of the bride are unable to meet the extra demands made by the groom & their family or if the husband or in-laws are unhappy with the bride. Instead of returning the bride to her parents’ house with...
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