Today, Indian society is surrounded with many problems such as unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, terrorism, etc. Among these problems, a problem which is deep rooted in Indian society is the problem of dowry system. It has become the every day news item, no day passes away when we don't hear newsrelating to dowry death or dowry harassment. The irony lies in the fact that women in India are worshipped in the form of shakti, she is burned and harassed by her in-laws every day in one part of the nation or the other. Dowry, in ordinary sense, refers to money, gifts, goods or estate that wife brings to her husband in marriage.
The dowry has a long history in Europe, South Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. The system of dowry is deep rooted in the Indian society since the early days of the history. This system prevailed in ancient Indian society, in ancient period dowry was the part of the ritual of kanyadan which was very different from modern- dowry. Among the eight types of marriages recognized by smritis, it was only in the Brahma marriage that father gave away his daughter, with such gifts and presents as he could afford, to a man of superior character .In the medieval period, the dowry, which was earlier regarded as dakshina (gift offered willingly), became an evil, father in order to marry her daughter had to offer money demanded by groom's family. In medieval times, the dowry system had engulfed the society at alarming rate, though it was practiced in the aristocratic and royal families.
The extra ordinary pride which rich people took in their ancestry was mainly responsible for this development. The youth of the bluest blood were preferred as sons-in-law by a large member of peoples, as a consequence of which their value increased in the market . The evil, which targeted the aristocratic and royal families in the ancient and the medieval period, in the British and modern period it engulfed the entire society. In the present era, it is in the most disastrous form. Women are harassed, beaten and face every kind of cruelty if she is unable to fulfill the demand of dowry and the harassment goes to such an extent that they are burned to death.
The most glaring example is of a lady Pooja Chauhan, who was so harassed by her-in laws because of dowry, which compelled her to parade in semi nude condition on the road of Rajkot to seek the justice. While greed may be the apparent causes for dowry demands some more suitable and unconscious motivations could also motivates this evil system such as:
1. Aspiration to marry in the High and Rich family.
2. Pressure of the caste system.
3. Social Custom
4. Marriage system.
5. False notion of social status and
6. Vicious Circle.