Dowry plagues Kerala's Christian community
Sunday, November 28, 2004 (Thiruvananthapuram):
The practice of dowry, normally prevalent among the Hindus, is now making its presence in the Christian community as well.
Infact, despite a high literacy rate, Kerala continues to be one of the epicenters of dowry practice in the country.
In this mad scramble of trying to imitate the well off in the matter of dowry and splurging for the wedding celebrations, it's the middle class, which is bearing the brunt.
"Personally I am against dowry, but then if I want to marry my daughter to a decently good family and if they demand a dowry, then it is definitely a problem," said a parent Eliyamma Vijayan.
Marriage brokers are also party to this practice, which seems to have spread its influence into every community and sections.
"The existing market rates for doctors, engineers and government employees are above 10 to 20 lakh rupees. People in fact tell us that professionals deserve to get this much," says Wences Laus, a marriage broker.
While the Church is aware of this practice, its leaders say there is little they can do about it.
Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios called this whole practice an aberration.
"Practically I will say, first concentrate on the family and its values, independent of wealth," he added.
However, earlier this month the Syro-Malabar, Marthoma and Jacobite churches asked their followers to reduce the wedding expenses.
Far from being a solemn ceremony, marriages have now become an occasion to flaunt wealth and social status.
And in a consumer state like Kerala it seems just everyone wants to shell
out as much as he can on marriages.