Craze — and demand — for gold in dowry has sent bullion prices soaring, turning marriage into a very hard bargain for women. From Tehelka:
In Kerala, marriage is worth its weight in gold. On January 20 this year, though, a bridegroom-to-be’s happy hopes of a windfall met with a rude shock. In a small village near Kollam, 26-year-old Sreekala walked away from the marriage venue, and later filed a case, when the groom’s family insisted that the entire dowry including 100 sovereigns of gold be paid before the knot was tied. Despite several social reform movements and decades of “revolutionary” Left rule, Kerala remains plagued by dowry.
It’s amidst this widespread sense of humiliation among the state’s women that the Class X-educated Sreekala has quickly grown to be an icon of self-respect. Though the groom’s family later adopted a more conciliatory stance, Sreekala refused to withdraw her complaint under the Dowry Prohibition Act. A week later, on January 27, her cousin Ramesh married her in a ceremony that saw hundreds of cheering attendees from across the district.