Note : My previous post, titled 'Financial Advice – Part 1' was written with the intention of advising people to live within their means, and not spend/borrow mindlessly.
Guess what I watched on television today? Another episode of '90 Day Fiancé'!! I’m actually liking the show quite a lot, because it’s giving me plenty of opportunities to rant. *wink*
Turns out I was wrong about the American dude. He was actually borrowing money solely to pay the dowry to be given to the parents of his fiancé. (This doesn’t change my opinion of borrowing money being unwise, but it does let the dude off the hook a bit.)
In this episode, the American dude has a meeting with the parents of his fiancé, and they tell him that they want 5,00,000 baht (around 16,000 USD or 12,00,000 INR) as dowry, in addition to two buffaloes (which would cost another 50,000 baht minimum).
The American dude is perplexed. He has just borrowed 50,000 baht from his brother/friend, and he has only 1,000 USD to get back to the US.
His to-be in-laws then agree to take 50,000 baht for the present, provided he promises to pay the 4,50,000 baht as and when he earns/gets the money.
He’s relieved as he loves his fiancé a lot, and is willing to promise the future payments for their happiness and hers.
I felt that that gesture was extremely kind on his part, but the whole dowry demand was totally unfair on the part of his to-be in-laws.
Unfair, because he currently has no savings, and he will spend a number of years paying them the remaining dowry. This is in addition to the expenses he will incur on taking care of his new bride.
It is a huge financial burden, and I feel that the fiancé and her parents should have been a little more compromising!
Let’s talk about dowry :
1. In India :
Dowry has been illegal in India since a number of years, however, it is still rampant, especially in the rural areas.
In India, dowry is given by the bride’s family to the groom’s family.
Why? The groom will be taking care of the bride for the rest of her life, so the dowry is a form of financial support to the groom’s family, for the future expenses which they will incur on the bride.
2. In Thailand :
In the television show, the fiancé is from Thailand, where the customs are different.
Over there, apparently, the groom has to give dowry to the bride’s family.
Why? The bride’s family has taken care of her from the time she was born upto marriage, so the dowry is a form of repayment to them for all that they’ve spent on her till date.
My questions :
1. In this age, when most men and women are working, what is the need for dowry?
2. Why should people have a price tag when it comes to marriage? Isn’t that inhuman?
3. Why are brides/grooms so afraid to speak up for themselves?
Whatever the reason for the dowry (irrespective of country/religion or who has to give it), I strongly feel that it is wrong!
Like I’ve mentioned when speaking about the white bedsheet on the first day of marriage in a previous post, unless men and women put their foot down regarding baseless customs/traditions, nothing will change!
P. S.: I have no clue how much of what is shown on reality shows is actually true, and how much is made up for the ratings.
But one thing I do know, is that similar dowry meetings do take place all over the world, and watching it on this television show gave me a chance to speak up about it.