What is the Dowry System in India?

In India dowry (known as Dahej in Hindi) is the payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to bridegroom's family along with the bride. Generally they include cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newly-wed set up her home. In Hindu marital rites it is called Kanyadaan, where 'Kanya' means the daughter and 'daan' means gift. In India the dowry system has been putting great financial burden on the daughter's family. It has been one of the reasons for families and women in India resorting to sex selection favoring to have a son. This has distorted the sex ratio in India (933 females per thousand males)and has given rise to female foeticide.

The payment of a dowry has been prohibited under The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of theIndian Penal Code (IPC). Despite the anti-dowry law in India, it is still widely and illegally practiced across the country.