Bride Burning – A Case in Point

Perhaps some of you have read the flash fiction I posted last week – The Murderer. Two days ago there was an article in the newspaper, which reflects my ‘fictional’ piece.

And again my question – is it enough to just book the in-laws?

Are the parents not to be blamed too?

From the details available, Devi’s husband asked her to bring Rs 50,000 from her father but she refused.

Presumably Devi discussed the issue with her parents and possibly they couldn’t afford the money or just refused the demand for dowry – as they should. But this wasn’t the first time he had demanded dowry in the 8 years they had been married. And he used to frequently beat her for dowry.

Since the father was supposed to shell out the money, one can safely presume the parents were in the know about their daughter’s plight.

But did they do anything?


They sent her back.

Again and again.

Because that was her home.

Not the one where she was born.

But where she was wedded and bedded – worse gave birth to a daughter.

But that was her kismet and her destiny. And it was up to her make her life heaven or hell.

It was all her responsibility.

Her parents had done their duty and gained the highest degree of good karma by doing kanyadaan. Now they could look forward to their reserved seats in heaven.

While their daughter Devi (which rather ironically means goddess) lived in hell.

Upset at being denied the money, last Saturday, the drunken husband tied Devi to the cot and set it on fire.

When his 6-year-old daughter began crying, he threw her on the burning cot as well.

Drunk as he was, I am willing to bet, he would have never thrown his son into the pyre.

Or that things would have reached this stage at all.

As expected, an FIR has been filed against the husband and in-laws by Devi’s parents. They have accused her in-laws of harassing and torturing poor Devi for dowry for the past eight years.

That bring me back to my original question – aren’t the parents equally culpable?

Why did the parents not insist that Devi leave her in-laws house?

Why should Devi’s parents reap the benefits of her death?

Yes the benefits.

A case will be filed, the ‘culprits’ put in jail and compensation paid to parents for ‘their’ loss.

A win-win situation for parents:

  • Sympathy from the society
  • Media limelight
  • Monetary compensation from the state
  • No more sleepless nights that she would land up battered, bruised, unasked and unwanted.

What more could beleaguered parents of daughters ask for?

This state of affairs is inexplicable, incomprehensible, reprehensible, unconscionable and inexcusable.

This must change and soon.

The mechanism to penalize in-laws has been in place for decades but cases of bride burning continue to be reported.

But what about the thousands (if not lakhs) of women who don’t have the ‘luxury’ of death and have no place to call their own?

Don’t sons continue to live with their parents after their marriage under the same roof?

Why can’t daughters too do the same, if they so wish without fear of societal backlash?

Why shouldn’t parents be penalized for not taking a preemptive step to ensure their daughter’s well being?

Why is the woman who is forced to leave the safety and comfort of their own homes, give up their own names in order to ‘build’ the home of another have no place to call her own?

Why does a society not have a mechanism in place for the safety and well being of women?




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39 thoughts on “Bride Burning – A Case in Point”

    1. I was also laboring under a misinformation that things are better now but with a more active media as more reports come out into the open, we can no longer shut our eyes or mouths. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I completely agree with all that you have said. The parents are equally responsible.

    They always bring up a girl saying that ‘this is not her house’ and the girls are often asked to ‘adjust’ giving examples of ‘great ladies’ from the family who have tolerated all kinds of abuse and are still doing so.

    My distant cousin was working in the States. She was pretty close to my cousin sister(my aunt’s daughter, joint family). She was asked to quit her job and return to India. She was engaged in June, married of in September last year. The guy harrassed her day and night. He was so suspicious that he would torture her even if she held a fourteen year old’s hand. Her mom kept sending her back, asking her to adjust, like her aunt. When he started abusing her physically, her brother took charge and brought her back. By god’s grace she’s back to work now and they will soon be divorced.

    But it really saddened me that her parents did not pay any attention to her when she kept telling them that she doesn’t want to marry him during the courtship period and they sent her back twice.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “Why does a society not have a mechanism in place for the safety and well being of women?”
    Well, because human beings everywhere, often, have their priorities all wrong.
    They care only about themselves.
    They fail to consider how behaving like this is the worst way possible to care for themselves.
    If you devalue others, it means you devalue yourself.
    In life, one must, care for oneself, and care for others.
    It is an eternal obligation.
    Otherwise your life is just wasted.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. On one hand, Indians worship so many female Goddesses, on the other they treat their female relatives, be it wife, daughter or daughter-in-law like a piece of dirt. Except for a handful of parents who support their daughter at every step in her life, the majority feel they have done their duty once the daughter is married off. These systems have been in place since centuries. For the society to change is going to take a long time. I hope that we witness a change for the better in the peoples mindset and behaviour.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Well noted and written, Dahlia. For once, for one goddamn day, I want to see the monsters punished for their crimes. As for the system of dowry, I don’t know if it will ever leave our society.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Asha – its the parents again who perpetuate the dowry system, if only they werent so desperate to wash the girl off their hands…


  5. The abuse of female starts at her parents home. Many parents treat their daughter almost as an unpaid servant saying that they are training her to be a good housewife. If it is up to them they would not even educate them but many inlaws want an educated girl so that she can earn and give wages to them. So when the parents marry off their daughters they have done their duty, done the kanyadaan, paid the dowry.After that, it is her fate. She lives happily or unhappily, her sasural is her home now .They sent her off in a palkhi she leaves her sasural in a coffin. If the parents do not support their daughter, the in-laws have a licence to abuse, torture and kill them. So parents are equally (more in my eyes) responsible and guilty. Many parents when their turn comes do the same to their daughter in law. Dewi, Laxmi, Durga are just names. The lifeless idols are revered the living ones go through hell.
    So unless the Parents t love, respect and educate their daughters, make them feel proud that they are born as females, things will not change much. I would like to point out that these atrocities go on in Indians wherever they are . Whether in India or UK. makes no difference.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Being an Indian we read such sad stories from time to time. It is such a complex society and social norms play important roles in these matters.
    Anyways, I like the post for your arguments.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very well put Dahlia. I didn’t realise the parents benefitted from their daughter’s death. I completely agree with you but from a practical view point I don’t think any married child should live with his/ her parent. It isn’t fun for any of them….

    Liked by 2 people

  8. SAD state of affairs, yet we are a part of this society, we breathe in here, live here , die here…yet we are only the dirt in the feet, or a rag to be walked on ….the change can only come if we can help ourselves first……well shared note…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we have to be determined and take the first step yet certain basic mechanisms, facilities and amenities checks have to be in place.


  9. A brilliant write up…. And one that coincides with the International Girl Child Day. Of course the fault lies in the parents too, and in every parent of the past who had a daughter and who perpetuated this mindset that a daughter is a bojh, not a child. Unless parents begin to treat their daughters differently, why will the son’s family bother. An outsider always stays an outsider in a family, a girl or a boy. But a girl loses a lot in this because she is bred from the cradle up to believe that she will always be considered expendable. Damn, I could go on and on, but I can’t do that here.

    Coincidentally, the article I have to publish this Saturday as part of my contribution to an online magazine also deals with the same issues – parents of girls treating them like a bojh. Great article! Loved it

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Exactly! Why? Why in the world can’t this part of the world accept that it’s not the 19th century anymore. The so called “customs” and “traditions” are ridiculously outdated! I hate it when people say that girls/women are the ones who have to adjust! “Society” also has a thing against women who are independent.. the ones who don’t conform to the norms. It’s worse when the very people who brought you up turns against you. Poor Devi! According to some reports, 21 lives are lost everyday across India due to dowry issues. Ironically today happens to be the International day of the girl child. Yes, most girls get more education these days but I can’t help wonder if there’s not much progress in the after marriage phase of a girl’s life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to mention the fact that if a girl demands for a separate home after marriage, the husband’s family will accuse her of trying to break up the family! There’s so much of double standards. Many don’t dare to speak up against the injustice, many choose to do nothing because their hands are tied, the ones who do speak up are suppressed. It’s a tough world out there.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is tough as it is but with so many conflicting instructions dos and dont’s the poor girl making the right decision becomes even more difficult. Thanks so much Shweta for your comments

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Right! Education just means now she can go out and earn money as well as play the maid at home. Unless she puts her foot down and wrecks her husbands home….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, Dahlia. Thank you for your very articulate and clear explanation of the situation that occurred, and of the need to change it, to protect the woman (and women) who are victimized by this conduct. I’m impressed by your courage in speaking out so fervently about this injustice. Thank you, thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can understand word to word about this case.
    I feel the only way out to this is, when the match making is being done, all involved should make sure that NO dowry issue is raised anytime during the contract of marriage. If sensed that the bridegroom side they are interested to take the dowry the talks should be stopped and totally reject the proposal.

    TOTAL REJECTION should be the Mantra.
    I am sure this will not only reduce but totally stop the menace.
    In my family this is what we do. A culture and tradition started by my Father in the Our Family.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A frustration situation. I quite agree when you say the parents are to be blamed. Why didn’t they take a step and saved her when she could have and only when it lead to death is now they want justice. It’s time the way marriage is viewed as and the women are expected to behave or sacrifice in the name of being a good wife.

    Liked by 1 person

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