“The marriage of ugly girls, who otherwise would have gone without a partner, is made possible by offering heavy amount of dowry.”
Supporters of dowry think this is an important avantage, says the author who penned these words. And believe it or not, the page that contains them was photocopied and distributed to undergraduates at a top Bengaluru college.
The belief that dowry, a practice which has been illegal in India since 1961, helps “ugly girls” find a match isn’t the only one the author attributes to its apologists.
For example, they’re also said to think it is “a useful and effective method” of “attracting good, handsome, and sometimes unwilling boys for marriage.” And that it “may provide self-employment,” “increases the status of women” in the family, and is “an opportunity” for “meritorious boys of poor classes to go for higher education and make their future.”
Professor Kiran Jeevan, the Public Relations Officer of St. Joseph’s College, said an investigation was under way, and that the college was “trying to find the root of the problem.”
“Such views have never been part of the college syllabus. In fact the department and the college are opposed to such obscurantist and oppressive patriarchal views as are contained in the page cited,” his statement read.
Earlier this year, the Maharashtra government ordered a probe when it emerged that a Class XII sociology textbook read by public school students contained the following lines:
“If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes very difficult for her to get married. To marry such girls, the bridegroom and his family demand more dowry. Parents of such girls become helpless and pay dowry as per the demands of the bridegroom as family.”