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Research Proposal

Scenario of dowry system in rural area Jhenidah district of Bangladesh

Name of the researcher Tonmoy Biswas

Department of Sociology
University of BSMRSTU

Name of the supervisor Anisur Rahaman

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
University of BSMRSTU
Chapter One: Introduction:
Dowry is a social custom, which arises from the pervasive greed. It is prevailing in both rural and
urban sectors and among non-affluent influent section of the people of the Bangladesh. Around fifty
percent of the violence against women in Bangladesh are happening due to the dowry system. The
author suggested that action plan with proper implementation is necessary for legal and social measures
to fight against dowry system. He also further argued that with a combined effort and launching a
social movement against dowry may help to achieve a goal oriented development process for which
society should consider dowry activity as a criminal act .Dowry is the property that a woman brings
to. Her husband at the time of the marriage. It has been a well-established institution among the
propertied classes of various lands and times, e.g., in ancient Greece and Rome, India, medieval
Europe, and modern continental countries. In civil-law countries the dowry is an important form of
property. Dowry system has socio-economic impact of the country. It is one of the worst social
systems, which creates discrimination for females by virtue of their birth in this sub-continent
especially in the country. Under the dowry system females are treated as a commercial product and
they are measured as ordinary goods. This inhuman practice makes the society as unbearable situation.
Greed for dowry is very much pervasive. Though currently cruelty of dowry system increases, but its
root was originated in the society from the ancient society when non-Aryans started this practice in
this sub-continent. In this sub-continent though dowry system is acquit in India but in Bangladesh it is
widening. It is increased at a higher rate after the independence. Lot of bridegroom studied at the
expenses of father in laws in the British period. Pakistani era and also in, the current age. "GHOR
JAMAl" sys-tem was very popular among the Muslim society. At the expenses of father in law many
people were able to establish in the society. Dowry is not only prevailing in the rural areas, but also
prevailing in the urban areas. People of all religions of this country are more or less affected by this
illicit practice. The situation of women in Bangladesh is still deplorable and establishment of human
rights of the women in the country is far from reality. When the world is becoming a global village,
and gender equality was prevailing both in the developed and developing countries, a large number of
women in Bangladesh were being tortured due to dowry by their spouses/members of in laws houses.
1.1 Background of the problem:
Bangladesh has already enter into modern computer and science era but Bengali’s women are
downtrodden and at the bottom of development mainstream. The women are fighting for equability
and social justice yet. They are still treated as second class citizen. We have seen religion, culture and
society and political mirrors all these reality. A great number of the total population are depressed by
the hierarchical system, which generate casts and gender discrimination, touch ability system in the
society. Women are victimizing most in which various types of social discrimination existing
hierarchical structure the Hindu religion is dominated to women. The United Nations Secretary-
General has repeatedly emphasized that as long as violence against women continues, we cannot claim
to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace. Drawing violence against women
out of the private domain in to public attention and the area of state accountability has been a
formidable task. Violence is any kind of oppression coercion and greatly against another being.
However in a patriarchal society, the greatest violence is directed towards girls and women. This
includes not only physical violence but also the mental and emotional violence that arise because of
discriminatory attitude which affect women throughout their lives. The different is only the nature and
its extent violence against women refers to any type of harmful behavior at women and girls. Girls and
women are violated in many more forms i.e., child marriage, girls trafficking, sexual harassment, rape,
forced marriage, marital rape, forced conception, domestic violence and dowry related violence
minimize their human rights reproductive rights. Girls and women are neglected in every aspects of
their life too. Women are neglected before their birth i.e., sex selection abortion most of Bengalis
agents prefer daughter both mother and daughter get less care than she would have got in case she had
a son. Domestic violence against women is a common phenomenon in a patriarchal society in which
women are considered as docile, feeble and weak. The atrocity of female dominated society
characterized by gender discrimination and old hackneyed socioeconomic dependence to much
allegiance of their husbands fear of exposition of fact, dowry related issue, system capable of illiterate
true statement from the culprit seems to existing such a situation the court is held on place for the
accused to tell fabricate of domestic violence take place if the dark with none to shoot a video tape to
the produces in law court as the real evidence of the event. There are various forms of violence the
extent of domestic violence is also wide which was rooted very deeply in traditional Bengali
community. But more incidences do not come into media. Dowry system is deeply rooted with social
and religious system. Dowry is something given to bride from the side of her parents and relatives.
Actually it is not any wrong system but if this gets priorities in conjugal life, then become vulnerable
and ultimate results different violence. Most of the dowry related violence is seen from jhenidah district
of the Bangladesh. The dowry practice is up-coming in crystal clear format. In many hilly base
communities they make deal between themselves as if it an important segments of the ceremony. The
practice of dowry being pained to grooms with commitment risk of extortion and dowry death, it is
made spread in India, Pakistan and Nepal and has begun in Bangladesh. (UNICEF, 1999) It is not only
confined to Jhenidah district only, but the increasing in villages and other parts of the country as well
even through in Bangladesh also, social acts was passed in 1980 and the Women and Children
Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act 2000 of the country strictly ensures prohibition of
dowry in Bangladesh society .
1.2 Statement of the problem
Dowry is a violence of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burn to
death because of their marriage dowries are deemed too small. When we try to visualize the social
picture of the world South Asia, few specific pictures emerge in front of us. Especially in our
philosophy or in patriarchal society women hold low or secondary profile our society has get some
basic features which are responsibility to minimize women’s status. One of them obviously dowry
system a bride supposes to bring fortunes with in material size and shape to her husband’s family and
home. Failure to meet this material expectation of their lows would not able to secure her right position
at home or family after marriage. The whole system of family laws which govern marriage, divorce,
property right inheritance reinforces the patriarchal and severely limits women command over
economic resources. The system of inheritance disadvantages girl’s right from birth. As a guest in
father household awaiting transfer to another household on marriage a girl does not inherit from her
real household. As an outsider in her husband is house, she has to prove her loyalty to her new agnatic
group bringing remaining faithful to the group. In fact this dowry system has broken many families
and resulted ample mental emotional and physical tortures to innocent newly-wed girls. It has caused
many physical, mental damages along with murders of young women. In South Asia, India takes lead
in dowry system. There are many communities who demand dowry as their fundamental rights and the
pivotal base of the marriage. Therefore, in many pivotal south Asia countries daughters are taken as
liabilities and burden where sons are considered as social assets. The dowry system has come up as
basic and prime cause of domestic violence in many communities especially it is burning issues of all
communities in Jhenidah district. It has become a regular feature of coverage in most of the media
channels with sensitized news. Many sad stories and cases emerged of burnt, throttling, poisoning,
torture and beating up to death caused of dowry. Therefore this research will be intended to analyze
some of the relevant questions during research period.
1.3 Rationale of the Study
Since, Dowry is a universal phenomenon and exist in almost all cities in India, Pakistan, Nepal and
Bangladesh, the dowry is one of the major cause of domestic violence in our country. Child marriage
which lead the dowry and the illiteracy also the biggest factor to lead it. That other developed country
where dowry is prohibited there is no violence and divorce system and they enjoy the normal life with
their rights. The dowry related violence are found both town and villages of kotchadpur, moheshpur ,
Kaliganj , A lot of women and their family are broken and have no human rights as well as they are
deprived of from their rights , a fundamental human basic right. For ensuring social and cultural
development it is important to provide fundamental family support facility to the woman. This scenario
is also true for the woman and their family of kotchadpur, moheshpur, Khliganj upazilla and Jhenidah.
The tradition of Hindu marriage that called gift led to the Dowry and the farmer mainly the poor man
and unemployed as well as the drug addicted bridegroom have a demand for the money or the
necessary goods from the bride house that’s why it’s led to a violence and divorce some where it tuned
into murdered .
That is why this research aims at identifying the present status of women who are facing various
problems in these villages and to draw some policy suggestions to reduce the dowry system in the
study area.

1.4 Objectives of the study:

The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of dowry system scenario in rural area
Jhenidah district of Bangladesh. The specific objective of the study are as follows:

i. To investigate the present scenario of dowry system in Bangladesh;

ii. To identify the sources of dowry system in the study area;
iii. To investigate the causes of dowry system in the study area;
iv. To draw some policy suggestions to reduce the dowry system in the sociology.

1.5 Hypothesis
Such types of women violence (burnt, throttling, poisoning, torture and beating up to death) are caused
by dowry system.

1.6 Variable of the study

In this study, several types of variables will be used. Some of the variables are given such as age
structure, religion view, type of family, occupation, income of the household, education levels of other
family members, amount of dowry, way of torching, divorce, health facilities, early marriage, work
position of woman, the proportion of time spent on recreation, GOs support to the women and number
of NGOs supports to the victim , etc.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

Every study has own limitation due to the limited time and the lack of sufficient financial sources. The
present study will limited to the following area:
 The study has been limited within the Jhenidah District of Bangladesh.
 In this study only the women have taken as sources of data.
 This is my first comprehensive study; as a result I had not been much experience about social
 There have very short time and have money problem.

Chapter 2- Review of Literature

Several studies have been done to focus on the issue of dowry system in the country context and in the
perspective of other countries. The most of these studies focused on the nature, sources and causes of
dowry system.
Farouk (1980) argued that women’s unemployment problem in the rural areas can be overcome
through :(a) remove illiteracy in the rural areas; (b) introduce a high yielding but labor intensive
technology in the rural economy and (c) remove the limitation of women in doing out-door work in
the rural areas. Naved (1994) found that dowry was a major factor driving decisions' regarding
education of girl children. To some extent it also defines involvement in savings and credit and income
generating activities. Rao (1993) described that dowries of Bangladesh have steadily risen over the
last forty years and now often amount to over 50 percent of a household's assets .He observed that a
'marriage squeeze' caused by population growth, resulting in larger younger cohorts and hence a
surplus of women in the marriage market, has played a significant role in the rise in dowries.
Chowdhury (2001) argued that a society is culture generally consists of two types of values .the core
and the peripheral values. Core values are time honored values that remain relatively resistant to
change. Peripheral values are those, which are either imposed, imitated or artificially created ones or
are practiced in response to the exigency of the period and are amenable to change. In the article
"Traditional Values Prevail as Education and Contraception Enter Rural Bangladesh"(l997),it was
argued that in Bangladesh and many other South Asian countries, dowry cash or valuables given by a
prospective bride's family to her betrothed-has supplanted bride price, which a man presents to his
fiancé’s family. Amin and other social scientists attribute this to a "marriage squeeze'l-va mismatch in
number between marriageable men and women. By custom, Bangladeshi teenaged girls marry men in
their twenties. Since infant mortality has steadily declined, younger girls outnumber older men, and
parents cope with the competition in the marriage market by offering dowries. The rise in dowry
payments in Bangladesh has been taken as evidence that women increasingly are at disadvantage on
the marriage market and must pay for marriage. Moreover, high dowries, it is argued, add to the plight
of parents of daughters and have thus contributed to the scarcity of women (brides).(Edlund,2006) The
notion of dowry as a pre-mortem inheritance which is also propounded by Goody is challenged by
Madam, who prefers to regard it instead as a 'substitute for women's lack of rights of inheritance
equivalent to those of men'. (Goody, 1973) Social anthropologists have often talked about it in
ethnographies focused primarily on other subjects, but their reasoning has usually been limited to
explaining it away as a consequence of ' Sanskritization '.This is a term used by Srinivas to explain the
adoption of upper-caste patterns of behavior by members of lower castes as a means of acquiring
higher social status. Since dowries have traditionally been the common marriage transaction of the
highest (Brahmin) caste, Sanskritization explains the observed shift in regime from bride price to
dowry in all the other castes as upwardly mobile imitative behavior. Evidence suggests that the custom
of giving dowry has traditionally been more prevalent in north than in south India, and in the latter
region, more commonly found among Brahmans than others (Miller, I980). Arranged marriages
characterize the Indian marriage system; parents of a daughter are often willing to provide a good
dowry to secure a suitable husband for her, partly to avoid the prospect of the daughter's long-term
dependence on the parents (Krishnaswamy, 1995). Muslims and members of lower status tribes, for
example, are less likely than others to support the dowry. These differences do not portend social
change unless the proportions of the population in these categories are increasing, which is not the
case. (Srinivasan, 2004). Quarrels over the dowry give rise to what newspapers portray as "dowry
murders," where wives are flamed alive by their husband's ancestors. Thus, "dowry" aggression does
not pass on directly to marriage-related expenditures made at the time of the nuptials, but to
supplementary payments demanded after the marriage by the groom's family where the husband
steadily abuses the wife in order to extort larger transfers. (Bloch, 2002).

Chapter 3 – Theoretical Freamwork:

Theory of Equalizing Differentials

An influential view that can be subsumed under the price model is that dowry is given to compensate
the groom's family for supporting a women after her marriage, as women are often prohibited by social
customs from entering the productive economy and earning an income that would contribute
economically to the family (Bhat and Halli 1999). In line with this view is Dalmia and Lawrence's
(2005, p. 77) theory that marital arrangements between households are "manifestations of implicit
contracts serving to 'equalize' the imbalance in the value of marriage". It was proposed that a
combination of traits of the groom, bride and their respective households determines the "price" of that
Kodoth's (2008, p. 2) analysis of the matrilineal castes of northern Kerala suggested that dowry was
demeaning and transacted as compensations only in "exceptional" circumstances, by women "marked
by a combination of poor economic, social and normative feminine attributes". Dowry is transacted in
the local discourse when women are considered "old", where over-age is considered a deficit of a
normative conception of femininity. It was the price socially vulnerable and poor families were called
upon to pay to avoid the possibility of sexual liaisons that were condemned or enforced spinsterhood
(Kodoth 2008). Hence, in Kerala, gender, caste and the emphasis on conjugality work together to
provide a basis for dowry.
Female competition model
From a neo-Darwinian perspective, dowry is the product of competition among women to attract
resourceful men so as to maximise genetic representation in future generations (Gaulin and Boster,
1990). Females prefer males who provide the best supply of resources, as females who do so would
have the highest reproductive success. Dowries are investments of resources and reproductive tactics
used by prospective brides and their kinsmen to attract the wealthiest bridegroom (Gaulin and Boster,
The price model views dowry as an instrument whereby parents of daughters secure alliances with
high-quality in-laws (Arunachalam and Logan, 2008). Dowries are considered as opportunities for
daughters to attract resourceful men and means to ensure a better future for one's daughter and to
enhance one's own prestige in the community. In this way, dowry is a gift for alliance and not a
marriage payment. Although dowry does not involve a transfer that is provided in exchange for a
transfer of rights between families, there is the necessary connotation that something is expected to be
obtained in return for the dowry (Bell, 1998).
The female competition model seems particularly relevant to understanding the Indian marriage
market as "Hindu social organization is essentially hierarchical, and dowry there has been traditionally
linked to hyper gamy" (Bhat and Halli, 1999: 131).

Chapter Four - Methodology

4.1 Nature of the Study
The study is descriptive in nature. Both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to
describe the study variables. By descriptive analysis, the specific details of a situation, as well as the
accurate background profile of the subject was presented. By statistical analysis, the specific relation
among various variables was presented. The present study on “Scenario of Dowry System in Jhenidah
District of Bangladesh” is pioneering and explanatory in nature and the survey design was used to
conduct the study.

4.2 Method of the Study

The study will mainly base on primary data and collected from different villages through face to face
interview with a well-structured questionnaire and case study will be applied. In spite of this, some
secondary data will also be collected and used in order to achieve the objectives set for the study.
4.3 Study Area
The study will be conducted in several rural area’s people of Jhenidah district, mainly kaliganj,
kotchadpur, moheshpur upazilla. Besides, some secondary level we have analysed some the report
from different villages used for the study.

4.4 Unit of Analysis

Unit of analysis is an important factor for conducting any research. To achieve the objective of the
study data were collected from village on the basis of the rural people whose age is between 18-25
4.5 Population of the Study
Data were collected from various village of those three upazilla of Jhenidah district of Bangladesh.
Three upazilla of this district are selected for study. Data will be collected from various families of
those upazilla to present scenario of dowry system and other social conditions. There are 10 wards are
selected for study from those wards, samples are selected to fulfill the objective of the study.

4.6 Sampling procedure of the Study

For this study, data will be collected from the 3 upazila namely, kaliganj, kotchadpur, and moheshpur.
Firstly, purposively those rural people dowry is chosen. Then, by using simple random sampling
technique 90 households that is 20% from total population are selected from these dowry. In this
method, each observation has an equal probability of being selected, therefore, the sample taken is
very much representative.
4.7 Source of Data
To prepare the study properly available and reliable data are very much essential. To conduct the study
two types of data sources are utilized, the first is primary data i.e. field surveys conducted by the
authors during 2014 in 3 selected rural area of Jhenidah district. The other data source is secondary
materials, relevant to the study. These sources are online journal, newspaper, thesis paper, articles,
books, seminar papers, various online websites, and official documents of Jhenidah district
4.8 Techniques of Data Collection

Multistage random sampling techniques will be used to collect data. After that, collected data will be
classified, tabulated and analyzed in accordance to the objective set for the study. Both tabular and
graphical techniques will be used to analyze collected data. Microsoft-word will be used for the
i. Facts and literature review

ii. Collection of relevant data from online sources

iii. Article and journal review

4.9 Data Collection Instrument

i. Interview Schedule: Data has been collected through questioning rural

ii. Focus group discussion

iii. Participatory analysis

4.10 Development of Study Instrument(s)
Primarily, an interview schedule will be developed and given to the supervisor for correction.
Corrected interview schedule will be primarily applied for data collection through pilot survey. Some
problems were identified during the pre-test and then edited correctly. According to the problems as
identify during pre-test interview schedule has been developed with the suggestion of the supervisor
and then finally modified interview schedule has been finally employed for data collection from the
study area.

4.11 Processing of Data

For the study purpose, the data have been processed with the start of encoding of the primarily data.
In the time of data procession, some data error correction, data management, standardization, scaling
and other procedures have been done. In this case, tabulation method implying comparative study of
different variables has been used. For doing this different statistical software such as Statistical
Package for Social Science (SPSS), STATA, Microsoft Excel have been used. In order to draft the
whole paper, Microsoft Word has been used. The quantitative data for individual case studies
interviewing the slum dwellers have also been prepared according to the need and objective of the
research. After completing the processing, the data were analyzed and prepared for the final
presentation of major study findings. In order to ensure the data validity of the study result, some
careful measurements have been taken.

4.12 Analysis and Interpretation of Data

After processing the data, analysis and interpretation have been done by using statistical techniques
such as correlation analysis, frequency distribution and measures of central tendency.
4.12 Time and Budget
Work Plan Months
Activities January February March April May June
(2016) (2016) (2016) (2016) (2016) (2016)
1. Preparatory
2. Data
3. Data editing ,
cleaning , coding
and entry
4. Data Analysis

5. Preliminary
reports and
6. Final Reports
Sl. Head of Accounts Amount (BDT)
1 Human Resources
Salaries 40,000

2 Travel and Transport

3 Office Rent and 5000
4 Project Activity cost 11,700
7 Audit 20,300
Total 93,000
8 Contingency (10% in 11,000
Grand Totalwork and 1,04,000
necessary support to
Youth Organizations)

Chapter Five
In conclusion, the marriage transaction, commonly known as dowry, is a widespread phenomenon
in Bangladesh. The most hateful systems prevalent in our country is the dowry systems. We find that
their husbands often torture wives. We often read in newspapers that, newly married girls are tortured
in all possible ways. The custom of dowry in Hindu marriages is a deep-seated cultural phenomenon.
The custom is held responsible for a number of problems perpetrated against the nation’s women,
including dowry violence, bride burning, and wife murder.It is therefore, regarded as a social evil and
has become pressing problem to be solved. Young men and women must come forward to put an end
to these disgraceful systems. Today, dowry continues to be a socially accepted and rational outcome
of the current marriage market. True progress in the elimination of the dowry system will only come
through endeavors to create awareness among communities about the negative effects of dowry,
through programs and government sanctions that support education and employment for women of all
ages, and through a fundamental change in the attitudes of peoples. Legal and other strategies must be
used to eliminate both the root causes of the dowry tradition as well as address its grave outward

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