The Relationship Between Dowry and Poverty

As stipulated in the Dharmasasthra, Kanyadan is a meritorious act and it is not complete until a bridegroom is given Dakshina while performing and solemnizing the ceremony. However, in the course of time, the voluntary element associated with Varadakshina during Kanyadan has disappeared and the coercive element has crept in. It has taken deep roots not only in the marriage ceremony but also extended to the post-marital relationship. The concept of dowry has therefore evolved into a completely different notion than tradition once prescribed.

Research has shown that moderately poor families struggle to raise dowry through several different mechanisms, including taking multiple loans from micro finance institutions or by selling their assets. In comparison, the extreme poor adopt a different set of coping mechanisms such as child labour, informal loans on high interest etc. The fact that it is related to capability approach and capability deprivation in a broader sense cannot be neglected. To gain a better understanding of the same, the study of relationship between dowry and poverty therefore become essential.