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Bride Burning in India kills or maims thousands of women every year!

Are Our Sisters 

And Daughters 

For Sale?

by Himendra Thakur

INDIA TOGETHER

September 13th, 2008


Doesn’t the love of one’s country include love for one’s countrymen? 

Or is it merely a fashionable thing, patriotism merely to find pride in something but not to actually strive towards a better nation? 

A country is her people. Years ago, Rabindranath Tagore summed it up as: Desh mrinmoy noi, desh chinmoy The country is not a chunk of earth: it is a saga of consciousness. 

Without the conscience of our people, this consciousness will fade. We must rouse ourselves to the daily indignities that surround us.

There are a thousand places and ways we can begin loving the people of our nation, and I offer but one here. It is a journey that each of us can begin quite easily, because the victims of this malaise – dowry – are within reach, they are our mothers, sisters, friends, neighbors. 

People who we normally think of as “one of our own”, who we ought to protect with our lives if necessary, and yet the normal course of things has fallen so low that indignities heaped on our women do little more than make us look away.          
          

 

 

 

Let us begin, then, with the people whose suffering we have even ceased to notice, let alone empathize with. Let us begin with the women around us, those whose marriage through dowry we regard as normal when in fact it is apalling. 

Countless brides in India are constantly under harassment in their matrimonial homes because their fathers have fallen behind in the payment of endless dowry installments, or the dowry she did bring to her husband is regarded as too meagre.

Imagine the plight of a young woman, newly wed into an unfamiliar situation, and surrounded by those she has only just met, who regard her as a means to an end, little more than a device by which to enrich themselves. 

She knows only too well that a bride may be killed for lack of dowry … she too must have heard the same stories we’ve all heard … but she does not know what to do. 

She may have overheard her in-laws, even her own husband, talk casually about harassing her, and sometimes contemplate even killing her! 

The kind of fear that instills in a person is beyond our ability to comprehend. It isn’t even fear, it is terror.

.

.

The cruelest aspect of this menace is the role that brides’ parents play in perpetuating it. 

My inquiry at the Dowry Cell of New Delhi Police Department revealed that most of the parents of the bride do not want to take their daughters back. 

There is considerable social stigma in India against those parents who shelter a married daughter back in their family. 

In most of the cases, parents persuade the daughter to go back to her husband’s home, that is considered to be the highest form of behavior one can learn from the old scriptures.

The alternative for the scared bride is to go to one of those government shelters. However, these shelters are controlled by unscrupulous bureaucrats and their politician bosses who are accused of taking full advantage of the helpless condition of the victims who come to the shelters. 

.

.

 

The reputation and working condition of most of the shelters are so horrible that a bride will prefer to die at the hands of her in-laws than to move one of those “shelters”.

So, she stays in the house of her in-laws, resigned to her fate. 

Then, one evening, when she is working in the kitchen, someone throws a pail of kerosene on her, and someone else throws a burning match, and she turns into a ball of flames. 

Can she save herself by taking off her clothes ? 

There is no time. 

Petroleum products like kerosene or gasoline work very fast, aided by her own body heat. 

Once that splinter is thrown, there is no more chance of life.

Perhaps this sort of recital is gruesome, and we look away. 

.


We imagine that it cannot happen to anyone we know, that our education and money has raised us above these village truths. 

But that isn’t so – we merely glamorize the slavery we perpetuate, and pretend to endow our daughters and sisters with “gifts”. 

These aren’t dowries, we tell ourselves, this is just to help her get a good start. Conveniently, we overlook the fact that there’s more than one person getting married, we don’t ask often enough why this good start mustn’t come from both sides.

With these pretexts, we dismiss these as unimportant issues. 

And as we look away, an estimated 25,000 brides are killed or maimed every year in India over dowry disputes. 

Intellectuals pull out their calculator and say it is less than 0.003% of India’s population. 

They slide into research mode and throw a vast array of statistics about atrocities on women in USA, UK, Pakistan, and many other countries of the world. 

Foundation owners refuse to help because there are so many other problems in India like street beggars, lepers, street children, bonded laborers, etc.

.

 

 

So, the brides keep on burning. 

Except, when she burns, the “problem” is one hundred percent hers, not 0.003%. She is NOT suffering from economic exploitation like bonded labor or economic deprivation like poverty : 

she is instead suffering from a very complex psychological set up in the minds of most of the people, the apathy of our times, and the stench of our unwillingness to eradicate dowry.

Many intellectuals do not like to talk about this subject. 

They open their speech with a presentation how India is doing very good in other fields like computers, space technology, etc., as if achievements in these fields can be used as excuses to burn the brides. 

A nation that trades in its people, sells its daughters into ready bondage, what words can describe these horrors? 

What kind of progress teaches us to ignore these problems, to pretend that these can never come past our doors?

One day, 

our daughters too will pass into slavery, 

and the jewel in our eyes will lead 

the wretched life we choose to 

look away from. 

When will it be enough?

Himendra Thakur 
June 1999

.

_______________________________________________

_______________________________________________

        

Saira Liaqat, 26,     


poses for the camera 

as she holds a portrait of herself 

before being burnt, at her home 

in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, 

July 9, 2008. 


When she was 15,
 
Saira was married to her relative
 
who would later attack her after 

insistently demanding her to live 

with him, 

although the families had agreed 

she wouldn’t join him until she 

finished school. 


Saira has undergone plastic
 
surgery 9 times to try to recover 

from her scars with the help of 

Depilex-Smileagain Foundation 

in Lahore, 

an organization that helps burn 

victims to reintegrate into society
 
through medical and psychological 

support. 


Saira is one of the 240 registered 

victims of Smileagain’s help list 

in Pakistan and is employed as 

a beautician at a Depilex 

beauty center. 


Photo and caption by 

THE BELEFAST TELEGRAPH

 

Bride Burning Links in GREEN










 

47 Responses to “Bride Burning in India kills or maims thousands of women every year!”

  1. Where the hell is that moron Himendra Thakur now?

    He spread lies around the world to collect funds. The chance of a woman getting murdered by husband or relatives in 2 times more in US than India.

    There are only 1830 convictions in deaths due to DV and dowry in 2006 even when it is very easy to convict the accused.

    55,000 husbands committed suicide in 2006 compared to 28000 women. The reasons for both are same.

    You copy a hoax from 1999 and publish it. Now, Himendra Thakur has gone into hiding after collecting/…..

  2. check stats at : ncrb.nic.in

    Most dowry death cases are false.

  3. Seriously? I am fourteen years old, and when I found out about this horrible tradition, it brought me to tears and I realized how sheltered I am. This is no “hoax”; these women are suffering, and live in fear. How could you, as a human being with a beating heart and a functioning mind, not try to put yourself in their shoes, to imagine the anguish they must feel? How can you possibly say that they are lying? As I said, I am only 14, and I care so passionately about this that I have decided to move to India after graduating college and try to open up my own hospital and shelter for these women. You have no soul if you don’t care.

  4. It is a hoax perpetuated by likes of himendra

    • the fact that you are trying to cover it up, really shows that this cruelty may never stop only a coward would set a woman on fire for any reason, what kind of a parent would send a child that they have raised to be burnt ?this tradition puts shame on your country and the rest of the world is well aware of it,cowardly parents, cowardly grooms, cowardly inlaws

    • I pride myself on not being a prejudiced person …with the exception
      of the Eastern people….they are no
      better than animals….in fact, animals have more class and morals…the way
      they treat women is atrocious and make
      me sick…when they come to the US, they try to bring their rudeness and
      anger at American women…I wish it
      could be that no more muslims can
      come to the US….they are rude, not
      well groomed, person hygiene is not
      so good, and want their women to
      be very obedient….they need to stay
      in their shit hole country…

      • These people burning
        that are buring the brides
        are not actually following
        Muslim traditions.

      • Well said,
        Thank You
        for pointing that
        out Iffat and
        Thank You for
        reading 22MOON.

        Rash

  5. I WORKED IN INDIA IN 1988 WHERE I WITNESSED SOME THE WORST CASES “NOTED.”
    THE BRITISH GOVERMENT INTERVENED TO STOP THIS-
    I CAN’T BELIEVE IT CONTINUES IN THE NUMBERS IT DOES TODAY.
    IT MAKES ME SICK AND SAD.

  6. omg. this is so illigal isn’t it?

    you know,
    my teacher said that the cops
    don’t even investigate this.

    If i was one of those girls,
    i would stay single forever or come to America.

    seriously , that is not right,
    somebody should do something about that.

  7. Why aren’t those monsters
    burned alive to feel the pain they
    so easily inflict on those they
    are suppose to cherish?

    Shame on that tradition,
    and on the cowards who let it happen,
    the whole world is spitting on you now.

  8. Well said Jenny!

    I agree with you!

    Rash

  9. I agree that this needs to end and I feel that
    if the social reformers during the british rule
    could end sati,
    without proper means of communication,
    we can try to end this now,
    with all the means at our disposal…..
    if need be,
    even go to scools and colleges
    and show the girls movies on this topic
    and make them aware of it ………

    I am sure they will all opt to join
    a movement against bride burning…

    But we must take it up on a war footing!!

  10. HOW CAN WE FIGHT TERRORISTS
    FROM OUTSIDE WHEN WE HAVE THEM
    IN OUR OWN HOMES ????

  11. Very well said Anjali.

    This sick evil practice
    must be stamped out forever!

    Thank You for speaking up
    and Thank You for reading 22MOON.

    Rash

  12. WE INDIANS MUST UNITE TO PROTEST BRIDE BURNING.
    AND ALSO PARENTS OF THE GIRL WHO FEAR
    TURN DOWNS AND SUBMIT TO PRESSURES
    SHOULD NOT DO SO.

    A GIRL IS ALLOWED ONLY TO BRING GIFTS
    TO HER IN-LAWS’ HOUSE NOT DOWRY.

    PULL UP THE ROOTS FROM EVERY VILLAGE AND CITY,
    THE CURSED TREE SHALL NEVER GROW.

    HATE THE CULPRITS OF THIS SORT OF CRIMES,
    MORE SO AFTER MY OWN MARRIAGE.

    MY MOTHER IS DECEASED AND I HAVE NO SIBLINGS,
    SO I FEEL HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO STAND STRONG
    AGAINST ALL ODDS.

  13. Well said Anindita,
    may the world hear
    your words.

    Rash

  14. WOW,
    I had to do some studying
    on this topic for school.

    And I cant get over the fact
    that this is happening EVERYDAY,
    this needs to stop.

    I think that it was a good move on
    the goverment to stop dowry,
    and I think that the grooms family
    needs to stop being so greedy.

    I also think men need to control
    their temper and open their eyes
    to what they are doing.

    This is horrible I am praying it stops.

  15. Well said Net,
    it is just so awful!!!

  16. Wow..
    I can’t say more.

    I’m studying this subject for school
    too and I just can’t belive that 12 women
    are being burned to death every hour in India!

    This HAS to stop.

    It’s awful…
    The men and their families has to open their eyes –
    what if it were their own daughter or sister?

    Anja

  17. I agree Anja -
    it is the worse thing ever!

  18. I also am doing a story on this for school.
    I am deeply disturbed that something
    like this still continues.

    These women are taking care
    of their men and familys,
    giving birth to their children.

    To be burnt over money or possesions…
    What happened to love and caring?

    These men and in-laws should
    be ashamed of themselves,
    and burn in hell for causing
    these beautiful women such pain!

  19. just Awful

  20. This is horrible
    I can’t believe it this is pure evil
    I pray that they would come
    to their senses and stop this madness.

    • I agree with you Jason.

      I did not know about
      Bride Burning until I
      accidently ran across a story
      printed in Russia after I started
      this website.

      It hurt me so deeply,
      and my site focus
      took a giant shift -
      I had no choice.

      A large direction of my focus
      shifted then to Bride Burning,
      Acid Attacks, Honor Killing
      which I cover on 22moon.

      Thank You for caring Jason
      and Thank You for reading
      22moon!

      Rash

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    • You are
      SO WELCOME
      Devon.

      Thank You for
      the inspiring words,
      doing 22moon is a
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      Thank You for the cool comments
      and THANK YOU for reading 22MOON.

      Rash

  24. Great review! You actually touched some valuable news here. I came across it by using Google and I’ve got to admit that I already subscribed to the RSS feed, will be following you on my iphone :)

  25. Hello,
    I used to be looking through the web site
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  26. Any new articles let me know?

    • For sure,
      I’m doing an ongoing
      series about Bride Burning
      that will never end until
      it does.

      I’ll be doing more
      on it very soon,
      the photos I
      won’t publish
      are horrible-
      this evil
      practice must stop.

      Rash

  27. I am praying for all of those poor young women that are going through this horrible abuse. Please hang in there ladies and know that you ARE NOT WORTHLESS! Never ever believe that you are worthless!

  28. Come on people we talk of human rights every time,
    do we see any here our women are being burned
    to death due to that stupid custom so called “dowly”

    w@ a stupid custom and it should be stopped ahah!!

    I hate all those who practice the foolish belief.

  29. Por que tanto dolor, tanto sufrimiento,
    ¿por que hay gobiernos tan ciegos?.
    ¿Es que no se puede evitar?
    Hay millones de personas que como yo,
    cuando lo vemos o leemos nos impacta y no damos
    credito a lo que está ocurriendo.

    Deberia haber una manifestación en la India
    solo de mujeres del mundo,
    de todo el mundo, al menos que no
    se sintieran tan solas.

    ¿Hasta cuando Señor?.
    Pediremos por todos,
    por las victimas y por los
    ciegos.

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