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  • Mahak Jain

Saying no to dowry: How a community is empowering its women

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

This women’s day, the Tamboli samaj wants to change the dynamics and wants every family from the community to refrain from the evil practice of dowry. Under the leadership of Mr. Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia, Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha has started to spread awareness in the community throughout India to say no to all social evils that affect women from marginalized communities.

The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahila Mahasabha, the women’s wing of the organization, follows the vision of community elders as well as leaders like Ramesh Chaurasia. This has led to initiatives for creating a just society where everyone gets equal opportunities.

How an organization is helping women deal with age-old discrimination

The subjugation of women in any form has to be ended.”

Ramesh Chaurasia

Ramesh Chaurasia - Women Empowerment
Ramesh Chaurasia - Women Empowerment

Apart from skill development programs, separate programs are conducted for women empowerment and awareness. Women functionaries support other women in the community to voice their problems and also provide help in various forms. In community gatherings, discussions are held to end gender discrimination and also focus on women's health. It is reiterated that the organisation does not tolerate the exchange of dowry. People are made aware of constitutional provisions and legal remedies.

“Dedicating a day to the most beautiful and enigmatic manifestation of mother nature and celebrating the existence of women is a wonderful gesture. Women’s day celebrations have a meaning and purpose behind them. The day has just been celebrated all over the world. Sadly, for many of the women, the rest of the year, and for many, even this day, bring them no joy, no credit, and no comfort.”, a regional member of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahila Mahasabha, commented on women’s day.

In India, with the breaking of socio-economic barriers, a very small percentage of women are able to get equal opportunities to study, to learn, to decide to be a homemaker or a professional, or to be an important part of decision making. But for a significant majority, even toiling as hard or sometimes even harder than the menfolk also fail to bring them equal opportunities and equal status. In fact, they are sometimes non-existent as humans but only seen as commodities. This is even more prominent in the marginalised communities.

In our country where nuptials are considered to be the most important milestone for adults, it brings a harrowing time for families with daughters especially in marginalised and economically weaker sections. There is hidden as well as explicit violence that many women face irrespective of caste, educational status, strata of society, and geography. And then comes the practice of dowry.

“The evil practice of dowry has infiltrated almost every religion, every demographic area, and almost all sections of society. Women can raise their voice against it only when they are made aware of their rights, when they are empowered, and when they are provided prompt legal help. Constitutional guarantees have been able to bring justice to many women but these have not been effective at preventing violence and harassment in the name of dowry in the first place. This is what we are trying to change”, a senior member of the women’s wing of the organization commented.

World over, women have been fighting against the notions of control over their bodies and over their decisions. Control of financial allocations by males is something prevalent in many parts of the world. In one of the papers, researchers found that the dowry system has remained stable in India although the average dowry percentage has decreased due to a rise in incomes. But even today, the percentage of marriages seeing the exchange of dowry has remained almost the same.

Mr Ramesh Chaurasia, along with the women’s wing, wants the youth to be the vehicles of change and not ascribe to any kind of regressive practices.

When asked about the work and initiatives, Mr Chaurasia said, “I wish to see the community take the centre stage whether it is the political arena, whether it is business, or it is science. The subjugation of women in any form has to be ended. Men and women must work together taking up roles that they decide for themselves to give their best to the families, communities, and to themselves.”

It is through such endeavours that actual change is brought in societies. Oftentimes, the only thing required to bring about reform is to shine a light and show a path that is more equal, kind and humane.

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