Saturday, July 16, 2005

Engineered for marriage

I did my undergraduation in a self-financing college in Tamilnadu. It is a "Telugu-minority institution," which means that only 50% of its seats need be surrendered to the state-wide admission authority (which follows the government rules like reservation, etc for admission); the college management can fill the remaining seats with the minority students, in this case Telugu-speaking students, by its discretion. Such seats are filled, mostly, by charging money for admission.

My college, therefore, had a large number of students from Andhra Pradesh who enrolled under the minority quota by paying their way in. They were generally those who had not done well in their school examinations and thus could not get a college seat of their choice by merit. These students would seldom attend classes. They would have an arrear of at least 5 papers (some 10) in each semester. I often wondered why they had no inclination to perform well and land a good job.

Then, someone told me the reason. They enroll neither to acquire employment nor knowledge, ... but because engineering graduates command enormous amounts of dowry in Andhra! Large sums of money, lands, car and more would be theirs if they merely pass all exams, so why worry? The degree helps them graduate to a higher level in the marriage market.


[Inspired by Sunil Laxman's post on dowry.]

10 comments :

Sunil said...

Srikanth (I'm cross posting this in my blog also)....

The malice of dowry is spread across India. Not just in Andhra (though it is common there). One of my Telugu speaking friends working in Microsoft, who is fanatically against dowry (and has had plenty of arguements and fights with parents and relatives about the issue) says the typical "dowry" demand of a Telugu software engineer working in the US is Rs. 25 lakh to 1 crore (2.5 million rupees to 10 million rupees).

Now, why would a software engineer working in the US (average salary exceeding $ 80,000) even want to consider taking a dowry of this sum? The mind boggles, while reeling in disgust.

Srikanth said...

Sunil,

Why do they want dowry? Avarice, I guess.

In addition, I am sure the man's parent would say, "Well, with my son earning so well, the dowry demanded for my daughter's marriage is likely to be higher. I need this money for that."

Anonymous said...

Andhraites have 'dowry picchi'(dowry craze), 'kulam gajji'(caste feeling) and it sucks!

Charu said...

Srikanth, like sunil says, the dowry problem is not restricted to AP - but I know that in AP, there are dowry slabs / rate cards - you can command so many lakhs depending on which category you fall under - for instance, an IAS officer gets the most (I dont know the current market rate though) followed by doctors and so on - also if you are in the US, then you can charge a premium.
and all these are decided based on the education level of the groom. can anything be more ironical?

Srikanth said...

Anonymous: Probably, as Sunil and Charu rightly point out, the dowry and caste problems are not exclusive to Andhra.

Charu: I remember some of my classmates describe the dowry slab.

As you point out, it says something about "education," doesn't it!

What is surprising is the mother of the groom is an active participant in the menace, considering her family must have suffered at the time of her marriage... But then again, probably it is not that surprising - we all know how ragging persists, when this year's victims of ragging become the perpetrators next year.

Schizophrenia said...

hmm nice one...well i guess most people make it a mark stating that engg is like a minimum standards for pepople to get married....

just have a question do people still hold a mark that they need dowry...aint the system changing???i guess people are now more openminded than before :D

Srikanth said...

Hi Paparazzi,
I am sure things are changing. But dowry is a long-standing custom and is unlikely to die very quickly.

crallspace said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

hello first time here ....good post.
u were talking about the dowry slab well from what i have heard and seen its as much prevalent in eastern india as in ap..n yes ias and doctors ( the well educated and well placed mind you ) command the highest prices...specially in bihar ...what surprises me is from where the parents manage to get such huge amounts.....

Anonymous said...

how is the 'dowry' situation in other states ?? how about TN ?