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Home > Tamil National Forum > Forum - Dowry System in Tamil Society > Women in Tamil Society
|Shan Ranjit, USA, 14 September 2000|
|R.Shanmugalingam, USA 1 September 2000|
|V.Thangavelu, Canada, 25 August 2000|
|Mani Kumarasamy, New Zealand, 18 July 2000|
|Shan Ranjit, USA 12 July 2000|
|"...The Tamil society should turn away from its social conservatism. Instead of weaving a cocoon around their daughters, the Tamil parents should allow them more freedom when it comes to choosing their own partners. Tamil parents should disavow the idea that their daughters are born only to married off early. Tamil girls should be given all the education so that they can be independent and not depend on their life partners. Tamil girls should turn down any man who asks for dowry. Like wise, Tamil men should take a lead role in wiping out the dowry system from our nation by not asking for it. It is neither the business of the Tamil society nor or its elders to act as watch dogs of young Tamil men and women especially so when it comes to the free mingling of the young people...." Shan Ranjit|
Shan Ranjit, USA, 14 September 2000
I am thankful for Mr. Thangavelus comments on my article on elimination of the dowry system. However, I do not agree with all the things said in his response. He writes that "the dowry system has lost much of its shine of lately." This is not true. The dowry system is not only alive and kicking in Eelam, but also has crossed many oceans and spread to those countries where Eelam Tamils are settled. It is widely practiced from Australia to America though not in its original form. I am personally aware of Eelam Tamils who live in Malaysia who take the dowry system to the hilt , by giving Mercedes and BMWs to their future son- in- laws.
He writes " dowry system has helped the Tamils to live frugally, encourage savings and build houses." The dowry system did not help but forced the Tamils to live frugally. The Tamil father knows that if he is not frugal enough, he may not get his daughter married.. What is the purpose of building a house if you cannot spend your old days in it? The main agenda in any dowry system is the transfer of the primary residence of the brides parents. Once this is done, the daughter and her new husband become the sole owners. Even in the country where Thangavelu presently lives, there are many instances when the Tamils parents who had contributed significant amounts for the purchase of the house - but who have been kicked out of the house by their daughters/ sons in laws and forced to live in " Tuxedo court " and dingy apartments I can provide their names and the addresses both in Mississauga and Scarbarough.
As regards to the Brown family from California: It is wrong to assume that Americans have enough money in their bank. The Americans are very poor savers. In fact this country has the lowest saving rate in the entire developed world. Recently I was listening to a radio talk - show, whose host asked any one to call if he or she owned a house worth more than a half million dollars, and who had a BMW or Jaguar. There were hundreds who called the show. The next question was how much you have in your bank. The answer did not surprise me. More than 90 % had less than $ 50,000 in their bank balance. But the Americans would not hesitate to spend - on groceries to the most exotic games. Though this has its own disadvantages, it moves and make the economy more vibrant.
Having traveled the length and breadth of Sri Lanka, I can vouch that the Sinhala economy is much more enterprising and vibrant than that of the Tamil society. . The Sinhala man has no hesitation of opening his wallet. For any economy to move on, the society has to spend. Go to any Sinhala town or bazaar, and you will see amazed to see the spending power of the Sinhala people. In the early eighties, I was in a small hamlet called Uhana close to Ampara - during the Sinhala New year celebration. I was simply mesmerized by the amount of spending by the poor Sinhala peasants. Sure, some of them spent on borrowed money. For any economy to be vibrant, people have to spend. Economy will not thrive if you lock your money in till boxes or leave them in low interest bank deposits. Ask any economist and he will say that excessive savings will lead to recession and stagnation of the economy.
Finally, there is a big difference between an accountant and an economist. An account merely keeps and balances books. He is not involved with policies that shapes and moves the economy the job of an economist. Surely, in third world countries people do not know this difference. And, that is why the economies of these countries are in an absolute mess.
Let Eelam take a firm stand on this Dowry issue. I understand the love that Mr.Thangavelu has for Eelam and its people. However, it is unwise to even remotely justify and defend a criminal and immoral practice.
R.Shanmugalingam, USA 1 September 2000
Dowry an Anachronism, Not an Anathema - Dowry is "old furniture" to the younger generation as it revolves around "the money, goods, or estate a woman brings to her husband in marriage; the portion given with a wife." [Webster's dictionary]
Free education in Ceylon paved the way for many to enter the professions that were once the birthright of the 'filthy rich.' Rich families looked after their interests rather adroitly. It is continued even to this day.
The next class before free education under the colonial masters could not pierce the "metallic ceiling." For example, those who sat for the "Ceylon Civil Service" examination, were allocated some marks for family connection not only via caste but also via wealth. This was another way to keep the poor brilliant out of the race and give a chance to some lesser capable rich.
In some cases even caste was not very rigorously imposed by the wealthy high caste, if the groom was a CCS Cadet, who rated the highest in the matrimonial market of the time. The not so rich, but high caste had the clerical service and allied services to hunger for. This was the market that created the most problems and the reason for Tamil frugality was lost in the search for false status symbols.
Sisters married to Class 2 clerical servants who went with a house in Wellawatte (Colombo) as dowry did not get along well with the sisters married to Class 3 clerical servants who had to be satisfied with the home town (Jaffna) property. With laissez faire in matrimony; dowry became the demon.
Dowry in its original use was a"a gift given to or for a wife." (ibid) Here, wife is the keyword, as the mother took center stage in the Tamil home. One scenario could be that it was too soon for a young man to save enough to start a family. Unlike some Western couples, who, live together but wait to be married in public until they are financially ready to start a home, Tamil society was not that permissive. Although, free love was practiced, forsaking men, whose mistakes did not bulge, made forsaken women bulge with their indiscretions. Hence, public accountability became paramount to protect women.
"pojjum vazuvum tOnRija pinnar yjar jAttanar karanham enpa." [Verse 145 - tolkAppijam poruL]
Dr. S. Illakkuvanar in his "THOLKAPPIYAM in English with Critical Studies" under KARPU IYAL [Chapter on Wedded Love] translated the above as follows:
"It is said that after falsehood and failure appeared (in the conduct of love) the leaders [yjar] of the society caused ceremony [accountability] to be held."
Society leaders were not acting on 'polls'. Ancient Tamils worked hard to make the best of life. Naturally, they had to find means to encourage young men. The dowry system was a good incentive, as almost everything needed to run a home came with the bride. Tamil words 'cIrvaricy OR cItanam' are self-explanatory as they indicate an orderly list of wealth.
Things have changed. We have moved from times of "foot travels" in days to times of "feet per nano second travels." In the "foot travel" days, "every town and person was our kin" limited only by distance. Today distance is not a limiting factor - travel is limited by travel documents. Our town can be made like the others. So why leave it? Stay and make it like the other towns! Change is inevitable. Change for the better is desirable. Dowry is not a Tamil anathema today. Thanks to the war and the Tamil leadership, dowry is a thing of the past. Superstition laced with the "I" factor is the negative factor. If this can be changed, then, Tamils can live up to the expectations of their glorious past.
"kAmam cAnRa kadykkOz kAly Emam cAnRa makkalodu tuvanRi aRampuri cuRRamodu kizavanum kizattijum CiRantatu pajiRRal iRantatan pajanE." (Verse 192 - Porul)
"After the enjoyment of love is fulfilled, being surrounded by the pleasure-giving children and having the various virtuous relatives with them, the husband and wife must perform what is best for the world and die for it; this is the way of reaping benefit of this life." (ibid page 447)
V. Thangavelu, Canada 25 August 2000
Dowry System - A Counter-point - I read with interest Shan Ranjit's piece on "Elimination of the Dowry System from Tamil Society." Before I comment on it, let me say that I have a healthy respect for his progressive and rational views on socio-economic values that are a stumbling block to the progress and advancement of the Tamil society. Especially I am on the same wavelength as him on the subject of religion.
As for the dowry system there is no dispute that it was a social evil and continues to be an evil although it has lost much of its shine lately, particularly among the younger generation. But to use the words of Oscar Wilde, the claim that "most of the social, economical and moral problems of the Eelam Tamils - especially that of the Jaffna Tamils- can be traced to the disgraceful and heinous practice of the dowry system" is highly exaggerated. On a personal note, four of my sons and one daughter are married, but none received or gave dowry. The word " dowry" is considered taboo in our household.
The dowry system is a social custom that prevailed in almost every society in one form or other. In Africa the dowry system is practised in the reverse order. Instead of the father of the bride-giving dowry, the bridegroom gives "bride money" to the intended father-in-law.
In my view there is nothing intrinsically evil in the dowry system per se. What is evil is the abuse of the system when it is the sole criteria to contract marriage and the bride with the highest dowry is "preferred" over others in the market.
The dowry system has helped Tamils to live frugally, encourage savings, build houses and generally to accumulate wealth. It is because of this that in the old days there was hardly a family in Jaffna who did not own even a small house.
The analogy drawn between the Brown family from California and the Kandasamy family (this family is now extinct) of Eelam is not valid. Comparison should always be with comparables. That is like with like, not oranges and apples. The Brown family living in the third richest country in the world can afford to spend lavishly because he has enough disposable income in their hand. Disposable income may either be spent on consumption or saved. And savings is the difference between personal income less taxes and total consumption spending. The major reason why third world countries economy remains stagnant is due to lack of savings and investments. That is why they have now opened their economy to foreign investors.
The Brown family has already tucked away enough money in saving bonds, shares, pension funds and fixed deposits (in Canada on Registered Retirement Savings Plan). So they can afford an expensive holiday. But the poor Kandasamy family hailing from a third world country (Sri Lanka ranked 79th in United Nation's Human Development Index) cannot ape the Brown family. If he does he will go bankrupt and end up at one of the madams in Sellachanathi temple.
But the Kandasamy family do spend money when the necessity arises. Kandasamy will stage his daughters' weddings right royally on a scale that befits only the wealthy, partly to keep company with the Jones, and partly out of a false sense of egoism. And what about the money he spends on the annual tHer festival in his village temple? He dips deep into his pocket and borrows from the PSMPA to celebrate the festival with pomp and glory. Then he loves to be told that his event was the best and none can beat him even if they have to born again.
I am not convinced that the Sinhala economy is more vibrant than that of the Tamil economy. On the other hand between a Tamil and a Sinhalese civil servant working in the same office and of similar status, the former will have a house in Colombo in addition to his dowried house in Jaffna, one son studying overseas, another daughter in the University.
As an Accountant by profession, I am confounded at the astounding claim by Ranjith that excessive savings dull the economy. Any student of economics will tell you that savings is the basis for investment which in turn drives the economy. Savings is the magic key factor, the greater the savings the greater the investment and greater the economic growth.
By building two houses in his village the young Tamil has contributed much to Eelam economy compared to his counterpart. He provided employment for the masons, carpenters, blacksmiths and host of others.
If there is objection to the dowry system it is on moral and egalitarian grounds. Certainly not on economic grounds. Those who possess wealth have an edge over others and the system crushes poor people.
The educated youths are now turning their back on the dowry system. One obvious reason is that today the girls are also educated and hold comparable jobs. So in effect a young man marrying a young working girl is getting a bigger dowry spread over a livelong career.
Finally let me conclude by repeating that I am not holding a brief for the dowry system which has now become an anachronism anyway. The object of the system was economically sound, but it was morally untenable. Therefore it has to go!
Mani Kumarasamy, New
Zealand, 18 July 2000
I read with some interest Shan Ranjit's article on dowry. I am very pleased that someone is making an attempt to come up with practical steps to eliminate the dowry system. This is commendable indeed. We need more ideas on this burning issue. However I am puzzled and disappointed to see the last para with some quotation in a foreign language. Was that really necessary? In what language was it anyway? It may have been more appropriate to have found something in Tamil.
Shan Ranjit, USA 12 July 2000
Most of the social, economical and moral problems of the Eelam Tamils especially that of the Jaffna Tamils- can be traced to the disgraceful and heinous practice of the dowry system. Though no one can figure out when the evil dowry system originated among the Eelam Tamils, by the early part of this century it was rampant, and virtually destroying the whole Tamil society. The Tamil society had to pay a huge price for perpetrating and perpetuating this senseless practice.
I will first deal about the after - effects of the dowry system in Tamil society, and then map out how the dowry system should be totally eliminated form our society.
Dowry System: Destruction of Economic, Social and Moral Values
Economic After Effects
Most of us in the western world would shudder at the news of economic recession. Recession means the economy is not doing well, and people are going to be laid out or loose their jobs. In simpler term, recession means that the people are not spending enough outside their homes. Its only when people spend out side their homes, the economy of any society or country moves forward.
Let me give an example here: Say the Brown family from California consisting five people- decides to travel from Los Angeles to Seattle by car, and then fly out to Alaska for their summer vacation. They decide to rent a car in LA (auto industry). On their way to Seattle they eat only at restaurants (Restaurant industry). They fill gas once a day (oil industry). They concede to request of their children by stopping at some of the famous theme parks (leisure industry). They spend their nights at reasonably priced motels (hotel industry). When they reach Seattle, they catch a flight to Alaska (air lines industry).
The above example shows how the Brown family has contributed to the economy in each sector in parenthesis. Just imagine if thousands of Browns do the same. This not only creates enough employment in each sector, but also gives rise to a booming economy. This is exactly what you see in the western world where the economies are so successful.
Now let us take another example of Kandasamy family of Eelam a middle class family with two teenage girls and a boy - going on vacation from Jaffna to Colombo. In spite of owing a new car, Kandasamy decides to use the warrant and takes the train. He has safely locked the car in the garage contemplating that this might be used as a part of the dowry for his daughters.
The Kandasamys had reservation of purchasing a gift for their host. So, they pack a box of Murunga and Mangoes - picked from their garden. Instead of taking a comfortable drive in a taxi to the train station (2 km), the Kandasamys decide to walk - with all the luggages balancing on their heads and shoulders. Mrs.Kandasamy had dutifully done her part by packing not only the breakfast, but also the mid- morning snacks and the lunch- the train will reach Colombo only in the late afternoon. When the train reaches Anuradapura, the children gleefully look at the people who sell sodas. But with the stern look, the mother pulls out a big flask of tender coconut water - from their tree and serves it to the family. When the train pulls in to the Maho station Mr. Kandasamy hurriedly picks up the morning papers left on the seat by a departing passenger. At Colombo Fort, their host picks them up and drives them in their car.
During the whole journey, the Kandasamy did not have to take out his wallet even once. Most would argue that Kandasamys were smart and careful. Most of Kandasamys frugal behavior could be traced to their obsessive compulsive nature of saving dowry money for their two daughters. But the spending attitude of Kandasamys and other Eelam Tamils, spells doom for the Tamil economy.
I have always argued that the Eelam economy- especially that of Jaffna has been in a perpetual recession for this same reason. For those economists who want to learn and taste about recession, the Tamil economy would be the most perfect example. The economy thrives and flourishes only when people have the habit of spending. This is the very reason why the Sinhala economy is much more vibrant than that of the Tamil economy - the Sinhala man has no hesitation of spending his money out side the house.
Sure, people should learn about saving for their future. However, excessive saving by the Eelam Tamils not only dulls the economy but also its growth. It dampens free money circulation in the society. All this leads to an economic recession. Most of this obsessive frugal habit of the Tamil society can be traced to the dowry system . This has been an absolute disaster for the Eelam economy. As long as the dowry system is allowed to perpetuate, the Eelam economy will never prosper.
I still vividly recall the two Banana shops behind the main Wellawatte bus station in the late seventies. One was owned by a young Sinhala lad from Aluthgama. Other by a Tamil man in his early twenties from Chankanai in Jaffna .
The Sinhala chap was always well dressed nylon shirts and terricot pants. The young Tamil man never had a shirt on him - only a dirty/torn verti around his waist. The skin in the upper torso of the Tamil man had many burnt scar marks secondary to the banana stains falling and burning his skin. The Sinhala man had ample amount of cream on his hair and combed.
I doubt the Tamil chap ever combed his hair- it was almost fit for the crows to nest. Sinhala chap opened his store at nine in the morning and closed promptly at seven in the evening. The Tamil lad opened his shop at five in the morning to catch the business of the temple crowd and closed it around eleven at night. The Sinhala man never opened his shop during the weekends, while the Tamil chap worked seven days a week. The Sinhala man had a small apartment in the adjoining lane while the Tamil man used the small room in the back of his shop both as living quarters as well kitchen.
This contrast behaviors of two young men coming from two different communities were noticeable for those of who frequented both the shops. One day, when I asked the Tamil man, why he was working himself to death, his answer was that he came from a poor family, and he had four sisters to be married off. When questioned further, he stated that he only has enough dowries for two of his sisters, and has to work like this till he saved enough for the other two sisters.
Though his commitment and sacrifice to his family and sisters is laudable, the system (dowry) that had been thrust upon him by his society is not only abominable but also sickening . Here is a young Tamil man who in his prime life he had not enjoyed a bit of the teenage life- working to death to satisfy a notorious and scandalous system thrust upon him by his society. The social effects due the infamous dowry system on this Tamil man will be far reaching, and will not only affect him but that also of his family. There is a good chance he too will demand a hefty dowry from the girl he marries, and this will only lead to a vicious after effects. (Note: I was told that his shop was burnt to ground in the 83 riots: He took refuge at one of the camps, and was heard lamenting about his lost savings.)
Most of the decaying moral characters of the Tamil society can be directly or indirectly traced to the dowry system. The Dowry system not only gives rise to but also perpetuates envy, jealousy, competitiveness and even murder among the Tamils. The dowry system is the cause of most of the misunderstandings between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, between relatives, and even among communities. Though there are only few documented dowry deaths in Eelam, there are significant mental and physical torture perpetrated by the men on their wives that can be directly traced to the dowry. There have been many documented cases where the sexual lives have been totally ruined between couples over the dowry.
Here I would like to recall a true incident. There was a Jaffna family that lived at the top of my road. They lived in a single storied house with four bedrooms. The daughter occupied the main house with her husband and their four-year child. The elderly parents of the daughter occupied the small garage adjoining the house. The parents used the small garage as their living quarters as well as the kitchen. The daughter did not allow the parents to use the bathroom inside the house. So the parents had use a public bathroom. Apparently the daughter was their only child. They found a good match for the daughter after having given a sizable dowry. They readily wrote the house for their daughter. However, after about a year, the daughter started bossing the parents and told the parents that the house has to be run her way, ultimately kicking out them in to the garage. There are many such pathetic incidences among the Tamil society.
In Hindu tradition, the parents are given a higher place than even the gods (Matha, Pitha, Guru, Theivam-God). The above true incident is a clear example what the evil dowry system can do to destroy the moral and ethical values of the human beings. The Tamil man loves his daughter to death. From the time a daughter is born he focuses all his energy in saving money for her dowry. He sacrifices his needs and comforts in achieving this. When the daughter is married off, he gives her everything, including his only house.
But what the poor fellow does not understand is the loyalty of the daughter - whom he had loved so much - changes the minute she finds her husband. After the marriage, the daughters interests are primarily focused on her husband and her children. Her interest in her parents is only secondary. We cannot blame the daughter because that is the human nature. So it is foolish for the Tamil parents to donate everything to their daughters as dowry- including their house and find themselves with nothing. They now become totally dependent on their daughters for a living. This is what perpetuates such gross moral decay in our society.
How do you prevent & eliminate the Dowry System?
Below are some of the measures that can implemented to eliminate the dowry system from the Tamil society.
1) Turning away from social conservatism
The Tamil society is one of the most ultra conservative societies when it comes to the social issues. Most of the ills of the Sinhala nation can be traced to its religious ultra conservatism. Likewise, most of the social mishaps and tragedies- including the dowry system - of the Tamil society can be traced to its social conservatism. This is especially so when it comes to the openness and social mingling of the young Tamil men and women.
It is wrong for the Tamil society to assume that a woman looses her virginity by merely talking to an unknown boy at the bus station. It is also wrong to compare openness and free mingling among young people to flirting. This closed-door policy of the social mingling virtually shuts the opportunities for any friendship to blossom between the young men and women in our society. The Tamil society should get rid of its phobia of love marriages among its young people.
Let the women of Eelam marry men of their choice than some one who had been forced on them by their parents. The habit of the neighbors and the village as the watchdogs of Tamil women should be discarded. Otherwise there will be no difference between the Islamic Mullahs and us. The elders of the Tamil society should take a more liberal attitude for such free mingling among the younger generation. This certainly leads to young Tamils choosing their own partners and decreases the dependence on the arranged marriages and dowry system. It also helps to promote relationships between various sections of the Tamil society.
2) Attitude towards Professions
Most of the Tamil parents want to choose a doctor or an engineer as their sons- in laws. This was mainly because in Srilanka these two professions not only offered job security but also a decent income and social prestige. However, the Tamil society - especially Jaffna people took this task to a Himalayan peak by offering ludicrous amounts of dowries to net the right grooms for their daughters.
In Eelam the attitudes towards medical/engineering professions should be drastically changed. Both these professions should be made less lucrative and secure. Eelam should promote, encourage and make lucrative, those jobs, which requires hard physical work- like plumbing, technicians, truck drivers, sanitation workers, etc. This will offer a vast pool of Tamil men with enough earning capacity to maintain a decent standard of living. Minimum wage should be introduced to maintain an economic equality.
The century long dependence of the Tamil society on those so-called government jobs should be given up. It has been proved beyond doubt that too much of dependence on the government creates inefficiency and stagnation in economy. Eelam and its people should be bold to venture in to various private sectors and create ample jobs. This will certainly lead to economic prosperity and decent wages among the working class. Such measures will certainly decrease the demand for those privileged professions such as Doctors/Engineers.
3) Transfer of Real Estate
The major asset transfer in the dowry process is the transfer of the primary residence of the parents. Most of the misunderstandings among the family and relatives arise over this single issue of transfer of the primary residence. It is not only pathetic but also ironic that the parents who had worked so hard to obtain this primary residence become almost homeless at the time of the transfer of their property. Most of the time the daughters on whose name the residence has been transferred start to act on behalf of the interests of her newfound husband and her family. The ultimate victims of this malicious attitude are the parents themselves.
Here are some of my suggestions to completely wipe out the transfer of houses in the dowry system
1) Enact laws that absolutely bars the transfer of the PRIMARY RESIDENCE of the parents to any children until both parents have died. If parents have more than one house, and want to transfer it to a child before they die, tax the second and the subsequent houses at a very high tax rate- say 70 to 75 %.
2) When one parent dies the entire movable and non-movable properties be transferred in to the estate of the surviving parent.
3) When the both parents die the estates of the deceased parents will be distributed according their will.
4) Allow only one house in the estate to be transferred free of federal taxes to the child as indicated in the will. If there are more than one house in the estate, then the second and the subsequent house be taxed heavily as much as 55 to 60 percent. This will prevent greediness among the Tamil society to accumulate houses. It will also dampen the practice that every daughter has to be given a house.
5) Encourage laws that allows the estate of the parents be distributed equally among all children in the will .If any one of the children is given more than 50 percent of the estate, then impose stiffer taxes.
6) If the estate has only one person in the will, then put a limit on the amount -both movable and non movable- that can be transferred ( Ex- any thing more than half a million should be taxed around 60 percent)
7) Allow estates to donate more towards the charity by eliminating all taxes it encourages the Tamil society to get more involved in charity work.
8) Strongly encourage the newly wedded couple to purchase their new dream homes. This might include tax write off on the mortgage interest. One time tax write off of ten to fifteen percent of the purchase price of the primary residence (ex bought a house for 100,000 you get to write off 10,000). Encourage lenders to reduce the interest rates by ¼ to ½ points for those buying house for the first time for 3 to 4 years. Such measures will strongly stimulate the growth of the housing market in Eelam and decrease the dependence on properties transferred from their parents.
9) Similar policy should be adopted as regards to the transfer of vacant lands.
4) Transfer of Jewellery
Here are some suggestions: 1) Put a limit on the amount of money that can be transferred at the time of the marriage of any children- say a sum of 50,000 tax-free. Any amount over this to be taxed heavily. 2) Each year the parents can donate a smaller amount say 10,000- to their adult children (over 18 years). Again, any thing that is donated over this amount be taxed as high as 60 to 70 %.
5) Transfer of Jewellery
1) The Tamil parents are overburdened by the heavy demand of jewelry during the dowry process. There is also over zealous enthusiasm from the Tamil parents to give as much as jewelry to their daughters beyond their means. This leads to an unusually high demand for gold in Eelam leading to higher prices for jewelry.
1) Like the transfer of cash, place a limit on the amount of jewelry that can be transferred at the time of marriage of their children. 2) Parents can donate jewelry to their adult children each year. But this amount should substantially lower than the amount in item one. 3) Any amount of jewelry that exceeds the allowable amount be taxed very high.
The anti dowry laws should be strictly implemented. Those who violate the laws should be shown no mercy. This will not only help to prevent the practice of dowry, but also bring enough revenue to the state coffers.
The menace of dowry system should be wiped off from Eelam once and for all. For this the co-operation of whole Tamil society is needed. The Tamil society should turn away from its social conservatism. Instead of weaving a cocoon around their daughters, the Tamil parents should allow them more freedom when it comes to choosing their own partners. Tamil parents should disavow the idea that their daughters are born only to married off early. Tamil girls should be given all the education so that they can be independent and not depend on their life partners. Tamil girls should turn down any men who ask for dowry. Like wise Tamil men should take a lead role in wiping out the dowry system from our nation by not asking for it. It is neither the business of the Tamil society nor or its elders to act as watch dogs of the young Tamil men and women especially so when it comes to the free mingling of the young people.
I have no doubt that there will be people who will cheat and get around the anti - dowry laws. Those who give and take dowry should be punished equally. Punishment should be severe including jail terms- and swift. Wide publicity should be given to those who violate the dowry laws. For those who violate the dowry laws government assistance in any form should be withdrawn and declined.
The institution of marriage is sacred and should not be treated a brothel house. Tamil women are the most important assets to our nation and they should not be treated like prostitutes. Tamil Eelam should have the decency to respect the institution of marriage. The overzealous attachment the Tamil parents shower for their daughters and their dowries should be discarded. This not only helps to stop the moral decay but also helps the spiritual progress of the Tamil society - according to Hinduism, the less attachment you have for any thing, and one attains liberation faster. There is no purpose in coming out of the slavery of the Sinhala nation only to be slaves to the dowry system. We as a nation cannot prosper both economically and morally as long as we perpetuate this criminal practice of the Dowry system.
Janani Janma Bhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi - women (mothers) and motherland are greater than even heaven. Tamil society should not put our motherland and women to suffering with their conduct and behavior.