Join the War on Dowry

The 50 Million Missing Campaign which is fighting female genocide in India lists Dowry Murders as one of the key forms of female homicide in India. Other issues we are dealing with are female feticide and female infanticide.

Currently in India, EVERY 20 MINUTES 1 YOUNG MARRIED WOMAN gets murdered for dowry. In a year more than 25,000 young women are murdered this way. Most of these murders are gang-lynchings where the husband and his family, after extorting money from the bride’s family, kill her, when their continuing demands are not met any more.

The methods of killing are many. In many cases the girls are doused with kerosene and set on fire. Or they force fed poison or acid. Or they are hanged.

Thousand of young women who survive these attempted murders live physically and psychologically scarred for life.

Dowry murders occur among all strata of society.

Here are two of the cases the 50 Million Missing Campaign has worked with.

One is the case of Roopa, a young woman whose husband and in-laws force fed her acid. Roopa’s insides were burnt and she was in urgent need of internal surgery. She was wasting away and would die soon if she didn’t get urgent medical help. The 50MM is a volunteer campaign and we don’t have any funds. We liaise with other ngos and institutions to get victims the legal, medical, or other help they need. In Roopa’s case no organization, not even the big international ones with big money were willing to take her on. So 50MM opened a direct fund for her family and raised the money in less than a week for her to get her surgery. Roopa lived. She even met with Gloria Steinem who was so impressed she took her autograph.

The other case is that of Anshu Singh. She was a young, highly educated woman who was working in a Multinational Company. She got killed within 45 of her wedding. It is an indicator that even education and economic independence don’t seem to mitigate dowry murders.

In its fight against female genocide in India, the 50MM has marked DOWRY as its STRATEGIC TARGET.

After 3 years of observations, research, surveys, cases, discussions, and analysis, the conclusion we have reached is that none of the following is a factor in India’s female genocide : economics, education, class, caste, religion, and community. It involves the educated and wealthy, as well as the poor and uneducated, a conclusion also reached in a recent High Court verdict.

So what is driving the female genocide in India? The answer: A vulgar, chronic, and criminal GREED for dowry.

Dowry in India today has become the no.1 method of criminal extortion through the infliction of blackmail, torture, violence, and murder of women.

Every son born into a family is greedily viewed as the ‘golden goose’ who will bring in the fantasized wealth through the dowry they will demand when he gets married. So families want more and more sons. There is no end to the wealth demand even after marriage, and if the woman is killed, the son can marry again. For another dowry! Why kill, why not just divorce? In the case of divorce, there is always the chance that the woman or her family will demand their dowry money/ items back.

The families that are consumed with hoarding dowry, are the same ones that also do not want to pay dowry to other families. Hence, not only do they torment and kill women who marry into their families, but they destroy daughters in their own families through selective female feticide, infanticide and the killing of toddlers through starvation and deliberate neglect.

Dowry – the practice of easy wealth acquisition is spreading like wild-fire in India. Communities, regions and religions that never traditionally practiced dowry, have now jumped on the band-wagon. Along with this there is an uncontrolled increase in the murder of women and girl infants and an exponential increase in female feticide.

As of yet the system of law and order in India has shown little inclination towards bringing this situation under control. It is riddled with corruption and incompetence, and many in the government offices, police and medical establishment themselves indulge in dowry and female feticide. The possibility for change through the official channels therefore is bleak.

What then would be the most realistic and doable method at the grassroots level that would guarantee a visible impact for change in the shortest possible time. When we are talking about human lives, time is of the essence!

The 50 MM’s strategy is to target the custom of dowry, specifically addressing girls, women and the families with daughters. (Extortionists have no conscience. So we don’t think it is any use negotiating with them.)

In our ‘WAR ON DOWRY’ the following messages will be the focus of our PUBLIC projects:

* A man who needs his in-laws to fund his family incessantly is not fit for marriage.
* It is foolish to pay dowry to a family that is torturing your daughter and could ultimately kill her.
* It is wiser to spend that money on enabling your daughter to be secure and independent through education and or her own business.
* Your daughter’s life and safety is more important than her marriage. Parents must make that their prerogative.
* Treat the first dowry demand, before or after marriage as a death threat and either don’t marry your daughter into that family or get her out immediately. Don’t every send her back. In most cases that is when the girls get killed.
* A family that extorts for dowry is lowly, criminal, and perverse. Why would you want your daughter to marry into that family? Would you feel proud being related to people like that?
* In a country where there are 50 million more men than women – it is the woman’s prerogative to choose a good groom. Women and their families MUST recognize that the choice is theirs! They must choose wisely.




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