We hear so much about dowry demands and how the girl's parents are humiliated at the time of weddings etc,etc. Well I for one feel that there have been good people and bad at all times. there have been grooms who choose to remain silent spectators while their parents make atrocious demands even today and others who have stood up for what they felt was right even some 100 years back.
I wish to share with you some such stories and leave it to you to judge.
My maternal grandfather got married at the age of 13. It was actually his upanayanam (sacred thread) ceremony and my grandmother had come as an invitee. she was around 12 years old and well past the marriageable age of girls at the time. Her mother being a widow approached my great grandfather to help her find a suitable match for her daughter.
"what about my son?" my grandpa's father asked.
The lady was overjoyed and they got married then and there.
But then came trouble. My greatgrandfather expected a decent amount of dowry and unless the demand was fulfilled the actual nuptial ceremony known as 'gauna' in Hindi would not be performed. My grand father stood up for his wife and argued with his father that when his mother in law did not have the means it was not fair to pressurize her. The father had to give in and my grandmother was brought home without the gifts and jewelry that were usually given at the time. My grandfather was perhaps in his late teens when this happened.
I compare this to another marriage ceremony I recently witnessed. At the tilak ceremony held 4 days prior to the wedding the groom's sister demanded that her brother be given 2 lacs in cash and a Santro car.The boy had no father and the girl's parents had been given to understand that since the girl was herself earning Rs.70K per month there would be no dowry demand. The boy's mother and brother kept mum and the boy sat there beaming as if it was some kind of joke that was being played. It took the girl's father sometime to realize the demand was being seriously made not in jest. negotiations began and finally the girl's brother agreed to pay 2 lacs immediately and buy the couple a car within a year. The car has now been 'gifted' to them.
In such cases I blame the boy more than his parents. A well placed groom should have the confidence to say NO to dowry. I hear of a girl who witnessed such a negotiation where her mother in law haggled over the dowry and was upset when her son was given a Maruti 800 (which is like giving a bicycle these days) and pressurized the girl's parents for an Esteem and finally settled for a Zen. The girl was naturally upset and refused to allow her husband to do anything for his family.
'My father has purchased you." she'd say. "your mother has been paid with cash and kind. Your salary now belongs to me". she has since relented but the scar remains.
The other aspect in these dealings is that women are easily blamed for these negotiations. In an otherwise male dominated society how come men hide behind their women when dowry demands are made? No boy agrees to marry a girl as per his mother's wish. He sets his own conditions. The girl must be educated, career minded, sociable and what not. There are many mothers who are insecure when the daughter in law walks in speaking convent english dressed in shorts and Tee shirt and can do nothing about it. The same boy will become an obedient son when she creates a ruckus at his wedding. Most of the problems created by the mother is due to insecurity. She feels that once the daughter in law comes her own importance in the household will take a beating. If only the husband says 'I am there for you, why do you worry about them' or if the son is able to impress upon his mother that he would still remain her son and his wife would be a daughter to her, she would feel more confident.
What about me? I can hear you asking the question. I have just one dowry demand. My DIL read my posts and appreciate them! I was joking. I want her to enjoy a warm relationship with me just the way i did with my own mother in law.
some lighter episode of marriages in my father and father in law's time later