Giving or taking dowry was made a punishable offence in India more than half a century ago. Yet, as recently as 2015, 21 women died every day as a result of dowry-related harassment. The practice of giving dowry - as cash or in the form of valuables while getting a girl married is rampant.
As a girl or woman is still looked at as a liability to be compensated for, even when the family is not capable financially, dowry is often forced out of them. In an attempt to change this status quo, Mohammad Imteyaz from Muzaffarpur district, Bihar is going door to door creating awareness about not giving or getting dowry.
Mohammad is accompanied by his wife Nikhat Ahmad in the mission to curb dowry, and the duo has ensured that 13 couples from various religious backgrounds married without dowry in the past one year. According to Patna Beats, talking about his part in curbing the social evil and illegal practice, Mohammad said,
"Female fetuses are killed every year because of this social evil. It must stop and people like us have to come forward to fight this social evil,”
Once the couple convince a family to conduct marriage without dowry, the family is encouraged to put up a poster on the marriage stage asking everyone to boycott the practice.
If it is a Muslim couple that is getting married, Mohammad, who has a Master's degree in Persian from JNU gives a sermon on the evils of dowry system. The parents of all couples are also urged to attach a notice along with their invitation asking attendees not to bring any gifts.
Talking to The Telegraph, Rajiv Ranjan Kumar Pandey, a lawyer with Patna HC, said that police force in Bihar have set up women's cell at police headquarters and women's police stations all over the State to deal with harassment and violence resulting from dowry. Despite that, for the past four years, Bihar stands second in the number of dowry deaths in the country.
At this juncture, people like Mohammad who are working at the grassroots adds strength to the country's crusade against dowry.