Oppose Dowry outright, say Mental Health Experts

Oppose Dowry outright, say Mental Health Experts


The Recent death of Shahna has raised questions of suicides among educated women as dowry demands raise alarming concerns and the attention of the authorities. The concern was that even after being highly educated and independent, Women were not able to raise their voices for unaffordable dowry.

The concerned authorities like Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan suggested responding ‘Poda’ (get lost) when someone demands dowry. After the death of A J Sahana, many questions were raised about the role of education and resilience in dealing with challenges. According to Shahna’s family, she committed suicide after her boyfriend called off her marriage because her family failed to meet their demands for luxuries. It puzzled many of us, as she was a very independent and accomplished personality with a bright future. She had completed her MBBS and also chose a male-dominated field of surgery in her career.

Read More: Suicide Awareness: Unveiling the Truth

According to C J John senior psychiatrist and State Mental Health Authority, “Shahna is just a symbol or a representative of the youth who lack the resilience to deal with adversity. Her dying by suicide should not be seen as that person’s weakness. It is the index of the weakness of the system that brings up the youngsters without necessary life skills”.

Anishia Jayadev, president of the Centre for Film Gender and Culture Studies emphasised the importance of early grooming to tackle the challenges. “When we live in a world where women have no avenues to address their concerns, such incidents are inevitable.” Furthermore, Kerala Health Minister Veena George ordered the Women and Child Development Department to conduct a probe into the matter and submit a report on the same.

Kerala Women’s Commission Chairperson, Sathidevi, visited Shahana’s mother at her house and commanded putting investigation into the case and further, the women’s commission would take a report on the same. She added that if it gets established that the accused demanded dowry from the victim, then the case would be filed under the Prevention of Dowry Act.

Prevention of Dowry Act:

In India, it is known as the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, which was enacted to prevent the giving or receiving of dowry from being considered a social evil in society. Dowry is typically an exchange of money, property or gifts between the families during or after the marriage. This act aims to curb the social menace of dowry and protect women from harassment and violence associated with dowry demands.

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