Sunday, September 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Dowry victims will have to fight it out

APROPOS of Ms Reeta Sharma’s article “Dowry victims, please put up a fight!” (Windows, Sept 13), dowry deaths — be they suicide or murder — are cognisable offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code. The giving or taking of dowry is so far a non-congnisable offence, extremely difficult to prove in a court of law and is governed by the provisions of the Prohibition of Dowry Act. While dowry is a social evil, the deaths arising out of this practice are criminal acts.

One fails to understand why the law enforcement authorities and society in general see physical violence resorted to by a man and his relatives against the wife who fails to bring the expected dowry as less repugnant than other variants of criminal assaults. While murder in general is universally condemned and often results in the murderer being given his just desserts, that of a wife by her husband, does not invite similar condemnation or legal retribution.

It is a slur on society we live in that events which ought to shock a nation’s conscience have come to be accepted as routine incidents. The gory phenomenon of dowry deaths, which includes the alleged suicide of young brides and death of wives under suspicious circumstances, is all the more shameful as it occurs not in any primitive community but in the relatively affluent and civilised section of population.


The limitations of the law are obvious. People are reluctant to seek legal justice and in the few cases where they do so the evidence is often too slender to ensure a conviction. The evil has to be fought, as suggested in the write-up, at the social level backed by the long arm of the law. Social organisations have taken up the cause of young wives in recent times.

One encouraging sign of the crusade against dowry murders is that wives and relatives of victims are no more shy of making statements and giving evidence against oppressive husbands and in-laws. The trend has to be crystallised in a public movement to end this blot on our society. There is no doubt that the dowry menace is a real scandal and calls for urgent remedial action through stringent punishment by the courts and a systematic educational drive. Without public cooperation, no legal ban can prove effective.



Ms Reeta Sharma’s article was disappointing as it has projected only a one-sided picture of today’s grim marriage scenario. Let me introduce you to the other side of the picture. Nowadays, most of the brides don’t involve themselves in household chores of their in-laws' house although they were doing the same work in their parents’ home. They just throw tantrums and demand a servant for every work.

Most of the girls nowadays have boyfriends and there is a lot of tension in the house when the pre-marriage affairs of the girl come to fore. This actually leads to daily fights in the house. The newly wed brides have little respect for their in-laws. Above all, as both the girl and the boy come from different backgrounds, they don’t get along with each other.

It is very shocking that the government has given a deadly weapon called dowry case to the girls' side to protect them from their ills or misdeeds and put the entire blame on the other. I would like to tell The Tribune readers that the whole family of the groom is booked and put behind bars under the Act without verifying any facts and subjected to humiliation in society and police stations. They are the real victims of the dowry case.

I hope that some writer or organisation will stand up and take up such cases in their hands and save them from the deadly Dowry Act.



It is a matter of serious concern that parents do not come forward when their daughters are ill-treated, abused and beaten up by the members of the husband’s family. The husband’s parents are always greedy and harass the daughter if she refuses to bring more and more dowry either in cash or kind. There is no limit to their greed. These parents need to be isolated and flogged before the public.


Friends of animals

THIS queen of jungle wooed us” (Windows, Sept. 6) by Mr Narinder Hartaj Singh was a thought-provoking piece. The bond of love and affection is not only strong and lasting among human beings but also between animals and them. Although the animals can’t speak, they express their feelings, sentiments and sense of oneness towards those who care for them through signs, touch and gestures easily understood by their masters.

The pets kept by certain men are more faithful, loyal, unselfish, straightforward, selfish, capricious and pernicious. The animals don't have any ulterior motive behind showing their unalloyed love, friendship and loyalty to their masters whereas mankind can’t be said to be devoid of perfidy, selfishness, trickery and avarice and cunning. Rather these days men are more harmful and poisonous than animals whose innocence surpasses everything possessed by mortals as they don’t nurse any grudge and ill-will towards anyone.

The way the tigress in the article suffered the pangs of separation and longed to be taken back speaks volumes of its sense of possessiveness, concern for its keepers and caring and sharing instinct.

We the human beings, the social animals, have a lot to learn from the speechless creatures — wild or domestic — who return our love in abundant measure without any strings attached to it.



Tackling corruption

Mr Jai Narain Sharma’s review of the book “Fighting a monolith called corruption” written by Mr N. Vittal, former Central Vigilance Commissioner, (Spectrum) is only an insipid advertisement of a book written by a bureaucrat who could do much, but did little, in fighting corruption. In an earlier book, Mr Vittal has simply reproduced government circulars.

In the present book also, Mr Vittal has fallen upon empty rhetoric. Why should one read his books when one knows that he could not make much of the great opportunity that God bestowed upon him? Simply putting the names of the convicted officials on the Internet is not enough. It is just cheap publicity.

There were about 20,000 cases pending with the Central Vigilance Commissioner when Mr Vittal took charge of that lazy monolith and about 30,000 when he left it. Is this efficiency? I can give instances when a social worker in Chandigarh sent him a dozen registered reminders and an equal number of the same on the Internet, but the case against the corrupt officials did not move an inch.

As the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Telecommunications, Mr Vittal was a failure as far as controlling corruption in that department is concerned. What message has he for the public now? None. And why should the people read his empty sermons? Enough is enough.

MUKESH MEHTA, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Facing trauma

Ms Roshni Johar's article “When pain becomes a way of life” (Spectrum, Sept. 7) not only depicts the sterling quality and admirable courage of the writer in facing trauma (caused by sudden illness) but also gives solace, especially to those who are suffering from chronic ailments which have no cure, but only treatment. How wonderfully she suggests that if opportunities don't knock on your door, you have to build a door!

It is the state of mind which can keep you happy even during troubled times. You can overcome the feeling of despondency just by charging the pattern of thinking (from negative to positive). Pain, suffering and uncertainty are the ingredients that fuel and propel life.

As someone said: “God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all over life through, God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God promised strength for the day, rest for the labour, light for the way.”

T.C. KATHPALIA, Chandigarh

Live-in relationship

Reference “Do live-in relationships really benefit women?” by Ms Vimla Patil (Spectrum, Sept 21). The live-in relationship concept is a turd of hog-wash drift to India from the West. It is debasement of womanhood and a sinful form of human equations.

Only a lawfully wedded woman has claim to the veneration of society. A concubine, that is what a woman in live-in relationship is, is worthy of neither respect nor sympathy.

Prudery may not be desirable but a minimum measure of social morality is highly essential. Live-in relationships are a plain debauchery and should be ruthlessly extricated.n


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