Dowry System in Tamil Society
"...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, USA,
14 September 2000
I am thankful for Mr.
Thangavelu’s 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 bride’s 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.
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
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
"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
"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
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
s 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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 daughter’s 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.