By Himangshu Rathee, ITM University “Editor’s Note: The interlink between social norms and legal principles have been widely discussed by a large number of scholars.
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.
It’s customary for the Khaps to oppose inter-caste marriages, inter-village marriages and marrying within the same gotra (clan). In the recent times they have been drawing negative criticism towards themselves for involvement or support in initiating threats of murder and violence and the practice of Honour killings against couples who marry outside the caste, or within the same gotra. Honour killing is also prevalent in various other countries like Jordon, Syria, Morocco, Latin America, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, etc. Despite its strong hold within the roots of caste system in India, the concept of Honour killing has been reduced notably, especially in West Bengal, they ceased about a century ago due to the influence and teachings of reformists like Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Easwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. The need of the hour is to implement a similar approach in other parts of the country as well.
India is unfortunately home to the largest number of child laborers in the world. Brassware, glass and bangle industry, handloom and textiles, diamond cuttings etc. are the different industries in India where child labor is very high. Approximately 85% of the world’s diamonds (57% by value) are cut in Gujarat. Small scale diamond mining is often conducted without training or expertise and is usually an unregulated activity. As children are considered as easy source of cheap labor, they are regularly employed in diamond mining industry. Life is full of hardship for them, they work for long hours and compared to adults, are more vulnerable to injuries and accidents. Therefore, behind the glittering world of India’s diamond cutting industry lays the grime of exploitation and child labor.
Richa Garg Army Institute of Law, Mohali “Editor’s Note: The paper is an analysis of Inter-caste and Inter-religious marriages in India looking at the history
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