ANOTHER International Women’s Day has dawned on us. My inbox get flooded with ‘Happy Women’s Day’ messages and dozens of well-wishers and friends chime in through the day with their wishes. That gets me wondering what could be the reason to be ‘happy’ about women’s day. Even as I enjoy reading these greetings, certainly sent out of goodwill, I think of the millions of women in India who don’t even know that today is Women’s Day. Even if they did know, what difference is ‘Women’s Day’ making in their lives?
While gas stoves are used extensively across the world, only in India they always seem to burst and devour young brides. These so called ‘kitchen accidents’ are often engineered by greedy husbands and in laws for whom marriage is just another money-making proposal. While a wedding is fixed, a price is also named and comes in the form of cash, jewellery, property, vehicle and others. The ‘dowry’ or ‘bride price’ is paid by the girl’s parents who are often squeezed out of all they possess, only to find in days ahead that their daughter is often sent home with demands for more. When they fail to keep up with these payments, they find their daughters harassed, abused and most often made victims of ‘kitchen accidents’.
Is this something that bothers us, Christians? Have we who profess to believe in the Bible and follow the teachings of Jesus been any different from our neighbours who have heard nothing about Christ? How many Christians can come forward and boldly declare that they were married without giving or receiving ‘dowry’? These numbers are so few that they are not even worth mentioning!
International Women’s Day is becoming a popular reason for several Christian gatherings, seminar and conventions. What is the purpose of such gatherings when even within ourselves we still give and receive ‘dowry’? The Indian law clearly states that both giving and receiving ‘dowry’ is a crime. Do we as Christians obey the law when we arrange marriages for our children? As an individual, have you made a stand to refuse to accept or give ‘dowry’ to get married?
If Christ is your leader, do you think a horrendous practice like ‘dowry’ which eventually leads to poverty, death and destruction is something He would appreciate?
How much better Women’s Day celebrations will be if we as Christians unite and take a stand to kick off the practice of ‘Dowry’ in our marriages? This will not only improve Indian Society but also make us a community of change makers who practise what is preached.
Preena Deepak is a freelance writer. Preena accepted the Lord as a young teenager and is passionate to minister for her Maker. She lives with her husband and daughter in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, South India.