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Not all hope is lost: Over 800 families in Jharkhand return dowry in silent protest

In a massive citizen-led anti-dowry campaign, 800 families have come forward in Latehar district of Jharkhand to return dowries worth ₹6 Crore

In a massive citizen-led anti-dowry campaign, 800 families have come forward in Latehar district of Jharkhand to return dowries worth ₹6 crore

A wave of social change seems to be sweeping the Palamu region in Jharkhand, where hundreds of Muslim families are returning the dowry which they had taken during the weddings of their respective sons.

So far, approximately 800 families have openly accepted to taking dowry, and have in the last one year, returned the money to the brides family. To date, over ₹6 crore has been returned in cash.

The wave was kick started by one Haji Mumtaj Ali, a resident of Pokhari village, located in Latehar, who began an anti dowry campaign in April last year.

Taking his example, several community elders set out to fight against the age old regressive system of taking dowry, a well known social evil which has been plaguing the Indian society for centuries now. The system, is especially a burden on families who are less fortunate, and cannot afford to pay huge sums of cash or kind in the form of dowry.

A small step taken by an individual, encouraged not only the community elders, but also the maulvis (priests) who decided not to solemnise a nikah (marriage) which involved an exchange of dowry.

Speaking on the success of his now year old campaign, Ali said, “The success of our campaign against dowry is astounding. So far, over 800 grooms’ families in Latehar and Palamu districts have returned Rs 6 crore in cash to the brides’ families. More importantly, the marriages are now being solemnised without any exchange of money.”

He went on to add that, “The war against dowry will eat up poor families like cancer till it is completely wiped out. There are still a few families who are yet to give up the evil practice. Earlier, the Muslim community did not pay dowry, but of late, dowry has become a part of marriages, in the process badly hampering the sanctity of this sacred bond.”

Ali also talked about the future of the campaign, saying that, “We will also devise a strategy during the next meeting to tackle such families.”

March 2, 2017

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