Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A dent on the dowry market

'We decided to take a stand': why some Indian families are returning dowries

"The DRA is an initiative to tackle the dowry problem in Muslim areas, but its creators hope it will spread to the Hindu community and other religious groups.

Last year Ali, a businessman from the Latehar district, convened a meeting of Muslim community leaders, imams and qazis, or Muslim marriage registrars, to discuss the problem. The participants, who came from the Latehar, Palamu and Garhwa districts, called for a region-wide anti-dowry campaign. The DRA was born.
“We travelled to different Muslim areas and held seminars and meetings and explained to people how the practice of dowry goes against the teachings of Islam. We have involved imams, qazis and community leaders in all Muslim villages in the three districts,” Ali said.
He has been amazed by the support for the campaign.
Thousands of volunteers across the district have been recruited to tell a DRA member when they hear about a dowry. DRA teams contact the families of the bride and groom to counsel them against giving or demanding a dowry. In most cases, they are successful.
“Before we started this campaign, the prevalence of dowry among Muslims in our region was as high as 95%. Now it has come down to around 5%,” said DRA member Shamim Rizwi. “It’s a matter of time, but we are sure we will one day succeed to make Muslim marriages in this region completely free from dowry.”
Qazis in the three districts have pledged not to solemnise a marriage if the bridegroom has taken a dowry."

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