A screengrab of the textbook page showing some of the 'benefits' of the dowry system. Facebook photo.
A Bengaluru college was accused on Friday of promoting dowry in its study material.
St. Joseph's Arts and Science College, Shanti Nagar, was at the centre of a social media storm after a page from the chapter on dowry appeared on Facebook, and was reposted by many on Twitter.
The college, however, said the chapter was not from a prescribed textbook.
"In fact, we have no prescribed textbook for sociology," a college official said. "The students read reference material."
Dowry is considered a heinous criminal act by the Supreme Court and the government and attracts penalty and imprisonment.
However, in some places, the age-old 'tradition' of a bride's father showering the groom's family with gifts of money, precious metals and even property continues.
In a Facebook post, Rithika Ramesh shared a page of a B.A. student's sociology study material, which shows not one, but at least seven advantages to the dowry system.
Some of those benefits it lists are:
1. Dowry makes possible the marriage of ugly girls, who would otherwise not get any groom.
2. It's a good bait for getting attractive, handsome and sometimes unwilling men to get married.
3. It may help get a footing for self-employment and can provide a fresh start for the couple.
4. Dowry helps poor but meritorious boys to pursue further education.
5. It increases the love and affection a bride enjoys from her in-laws and husband.
6. Paying dowry helps girls climb the social ladder by getting high-value grooms.
7. It helps maintain harmony in the family. But property, however, should not be given in dowry.
A detailed summary can be read in the post below:
The post has garnerd a strong response, with most comments lamenting the state of affairs and wondering how society is to go forward if this is being taught in colleges.
A small history of Dowry-related crimes:
Setting aside the so-called "benefits" of Dowry, let us quickly glance over a small fragment of what can happen and has happened over the years when something as "simple" as a 'gift' presented to the groom caused despair to catch hold of families:
2. More suicides
3. Gore galore
4. Delayed justice (although a case can be made that this is not exclusive to dowry cases)
5. Murdering one's own children
7. Absolute destruction of a woman's modesty
In February this year, reports of a Maharashtra school teaching the 'reasons' behind dowry had come to light.
(This is an updated version of a story posted on Thursday.)