Dowry practice bane for Rajbanshis

Jhapa, January 17:

Diro Rajbanshi, a resident of Pathamari VDC, is toiling from dawn to dusk these days to manage dowry (Tilak) for the marriage of her daughters.

An outlawed practice, dowry is still prevalent in several communities, including the Rajbanshi community, in the district.

“My elder daughter has attained marriageable age. I am working hard to manage dowry,” Diro said, adding, “It is impossible to marry her off without providing dowry to the bridegroom.”

“We lack property for the purpose. I need to earn whatever is to be provided in dowry,” she said, adding, “I am forced to toil hard by keeping my health problems aside.”

“Money is the first thing talked about in marriage deals in our community,” she said, adding, “We require a minimum of Rs 60,000 for the dowry, in the absence of which no groom would be ready to marry my daughter.”

Concerned about the marriage of her daughters, Diro has hired a bigha of land on lease where she plans to cultivate crops and sell off the produce to save the money.

Diro has three daughters. The girls study in Grade X, VIII and VII, respectively, meaning they are coming of age. About her sons, however, she is assured that they will bring good dowry in their marriages. “I am hopeful that the sons will give me some relief,” she said.

Rajbanshi folks continue to suffer from the age-old tradition. “The community members would have been financially sound if they were not burdened with dowry,” Diro said.