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.”
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.”