I wish to respond to the letter of Lalitha Ramakrishnan (May 23). One need not be an authority to comment on a social issue. Pray who is an authority on marriage? A priest? Anyone can express an opinion. As a parent of a daughter and son, if I have an opportunity to spend money at the time of their marriage on, say, giving them a house or car, instead of spending it on extravagance, I will be very happy. I don't know if such spending is dowry or a commitment. If I don't give my children anything, how can I expect them to look after my expenses when I am old?
One need not be an authority on marriage to express his opinion. Readers would like to know the views and opinions of different sections. What is wrong with Aamir Khan's views? Every day, we see poor families spend beyond their means on their daughters' marriages either at the insistence of the bridegroom's family or on their own. Electricity, food, etc., are wasted. A lot of money is spent on extravagant decorations. What is wrong in suggesting that money thus spent be saved for the usefulness of the newly married?
Aamir's attempt to spread awareness among the masses is laudable. He should continue his work with perseverance. He should persuade Bollywood and the media not to hype celebrity weddings. Celebrities should stop giving details of how many crores they spent on their jewellery, costume and so on. They should opt for low-key ceremonies and say no to dowry.
Dowry bashing seems to be in fashion once again. I am not justifying the practice but I would advocate a sober look at it. There is no question of dowry in a love marriage — the minute dowry is discussed, it transforms into an arranged marriage. Most demands for dowry are not out of greed for wealth but necessitated by circumstance.
In high society, matrimonial alliances are promoted knowing well that companies and estates will change hands without any mention of dowry. Dowry is generated by the giver — he wants an IAS officer for his daughter. He is not willing to make do with a bus conductor or porter who does not demand dowry.
Vallioor K. Vydhianathan & V. Visalakshi,
Though Aamir Khan is not a journalist or analyst, the points he has made are valid. Giving the money meant for extravagant weddings to the bride to kick-start her married life is not another form of dowry because it is not done by force.
We should take the positives from Aamir's column rather than criticise him because he is an actor and earns a lot of money.