21 September, 2020

Fair Sex Or Fair Game?

The recent spate of headline-grabbing cases of dowry violence are but a symptom of a deep-rooted, dark malaise

Fair Sex Or Fair Game?

She was just skin and bones, crouching fearfully in a corner, when cops broke open a dingy, stinking room on the terrace of a house in west Delhi last week. An alarmed Jyoti Dhawan hadn’t been expecting rescue. Weighing barely some 20-odd kilos, the 22-year-old had thought death, much before deliverance, would find its way to her hellish cell. After all, nobody, not even her own family, had managed to get to her as she wasted away locked up in this room for the past two years. Forced into solitary confinement by her husband and his parents for falling short of Rs 50,000 on the dowry she’d brought them five years ago. It didn’t matter that Jyoti’s widowed mother, a fourth class government employee, just couldn’t have arranged for more. Whispers Jyoti from her hospital bed: "They’d give me two rotis and some water every alternate day. I’d been eating, defecating, sleeping in that room so long that I lost count of time."

Shalini Aggarwal, 25, suffered an even more horrendous punishment for not complying with her in-laws’ dowry...



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