Wednesday, 25 April 2018

ban lavish weddings to bachao betis

i saw the movie 'mistress of spices' yesterday. the spell binding heroine i.e aishwarya rai laments that her parents were not happy (in the movie) with the birth of a girl child as it means more 'dahej' or dowry.

that is the bottom line. people do not want girls - not because they dont like girls - in fact girls are more loved and loving than boys - the point is - with girls you are forever concerned about their safety and well being - safety from all the social ills prevalent now, where even 4 months olds are also not being spared - and well being from their husband & their family.  All this after paying a hefty dowry and phenomenal marriage expenses.

No amount of clamping down on sex determination centres, educating people about gender equality or lip service about dowry bans etc is going to help significantly increase the girl sex ratio.  people dont want girls becase of the costs and the mental worry involved.  if we can accept this fundamental fact of life then we can make things a lot better.

Therefore, to improve the ratio of girls in the country we need to bring down the costs of raising a girl child and marrying her off while also gauranteeing her safety and security with a good degree of certainity.

towards this, there are three things that could be readily done (i am sending a more detailed letter to ministry of women and child welfare for them to study these issues). they are

1. subsidise education
2. ensure safety and security both before and after marriage
3. reduce marriage expenses

as this post is about lavish weddings, i will restrict myself to the third point.  as we all know, marriage expenses comprise dowry, actual marriage expenses and post marriage gifts including the delivery expenses.

the actual marriage expenses comprise venue charges, decoration, travel &accommodation for guests and food expenses. 

on a very conservative estimate one dinner for 500 guests@1000 rupees costs about 5 lakhs in the cities. with exorbitant venue and accommodation charges typical marriage expenses in cities range between 15-20 lakhs.  couple this with conservative dowry of 5 lakhs and 5 lakhs travel expenses the total expenses may go upto 30-35 lakhs.  How does a common man cough out this kind of money? even if he does, it would be from his life time savings or he would be in a life time of debt after marriage.  now picture a guy having two or three girl children. his expenses can go upto a crore.

the easiest way to avoid this is to avoid having a girl child.  therefore someone trying to avoid a girl child is only the symptom - the disease is in the prevalent social norms.

while it may be very difficult to dictatorially clamp down on dowry as the transactions are secretive (as dowry anyway is banned) lavish weddings could be banned as the expenses are very clearly visual and their cost can be assessed. 

in this connection the diktat by the bohra muslim community elders in mumbai is the way forward - where they gave a diktat that there cannot be more than 4 dishes in a wedding and other rules to reduce the expenditure.  they also said that not only anyone who flouts these rules but also those attend the weddings that flout rules will be socially boycotted.  at first look this step looks very regressive but is actually a great step forward.

the govt may also consider binging a regualtion on the maximum expenditure on a wedding that can be done.  this will bring a lot of relief to millions of parents of girl children and will also be a step towards increasing the girl child ratio.  this may face a lot of criticism but these are the real ways for 'beti bachao' !!!!

and what you can do - if you are really progressive and concerned and a parent of a boy - even if you can't avoid dowry (for some reasons) atleast go for a simple marriage as that is one money  which does not go  either to the bride or  groom and significantly reduces the burden on the girl's parents.

No comments:

Post a Comment