You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1996

Re: seervarisai

vidya_at_cco.caltech.edu
Date: Fri Jan 19 1996 - 12:01:33 PST

> on the topic. To equate dowry to a share of the family
> wealth, as suggested by J is not valid. One inherits
> after the demise. Women should have a right for
> inheritance ( recall all the second and subsequent

I just want to point out something here. According to modern
Hindu law, that went into effect after Indian independence, daughters
inherit equally after the demise. 

But this is not the case in most of the dharmaSAstras, which detai;
inheritence rules. MM P. V. Kane's 5-vol work "History of the 
DharmaSAstra" gives all necessary details. 

Daughters were simply not considered in the case of inheritence after
demise by most authors of the dharmaSAstras. In the case of the widow,
opinion was divided. Additionally, even the sons did not have to wait
for demise to come into inheritence. There were rules for partition of
family property between the father and his sons, even when the father
was alive. The father's share of the property is then divided among the
sons after the father's demise. 

If I remember right, there is some evidence in the dharmaSAstras to 
consider strIdhana as a kind of inheritence for the daughter. The
unequal treatment lies in the fact that propoerty is viewed as belonging
to the family, not just the individual. The daughter becomes part of
another family after marriage according to all traditional thinkers. 
Therefore there were rules for allocating a share of property for 
unmarried daughters on the occasion of the father's death. This share
is clearly stated to be towards the strIdhana of the unmarried daughter. 

In my opinion, the evils of the dowry system stem mainly from the fact
that the family of the bridegroom *insists* on certain amounts of money
and jewelry to be given to them at the wedding. This must go, and the
responsibility lies solely on prospective bridegrooms themselves. Such
insistence by the groom's family is just pure greed and wholly unethical. 

Vidyasankar