Life

Dowry is just an ethical bribe for a successful marriage

Dowry is an outdated and unfair assumption of a woman's worth and it's time to move on from it.

Stepping into your twenties holds different meanings for different people. For some, it might mean entering a professional life and for others entering a newlywed arrangement.

If you’re a mature Pakistani girl who has crossed the pubertal barrier, you automatically qualify for Holy Matrimony. And with that “milestone” your parents begin to lay the groundwork for finding and providing for their daughter’s new family.

From furniture to utensils to the most meager of tangible items are what the parents present as an ‘ethical bribe’ to ensure that their daughter measures up to the required standard of acceptance.

As a 23-year-old female in modern Pakistani society, I question all such detestable vices. Having given birth, raised and nurtured day after day to become a civilized individual, how much more do my parents have to sacrifice just because they are responsible for a female offspring?

And who provides the assurance of a blissful married life after having fulfilled these norms? No one.

And if ‘god forbid’ this act of compensation falls short, the poor girl is subjected to a lifetime of scoffing and contempt. Her whole existence is measured up by how much she can provide to her in-laws at the time of marriage.

Personally, I believe this ritual has become a sort of plague. The never-ending chain of expectation.

I often hear elderly women eagerly gossiping about their daughter-in-law on the account of  ‘who brought what’ in terms of dowry. And having once been a newlywed themselves, they wear a mask of oblivion when it comes to someone else’s daughter.

I was raised as an only child and lived a solitary life. I was taught two things: self-reliance and tenacity. My father fostered me to become self-sufficient in everything I did and that no one can truly undermine a woman’s worth without her consent.

Setting foot into 2019-this age of renaissance-where art, poetry, literature and science are at their pinnacle, our greatest concern should be self-improvement and progression. Let alone hoarding up on meaningless and mundane material gains.

The day we decide to mold our thinking is the day when the world around us will change, massively. It is not a subject of action rather a matter of perspective.

A minute frame-shift of attitude can alter the life of today’s woman by leaps and bounds.

I put forward this question: who bears the responsibility of judging someone’s daughter by the weight of her baggage?