Exactly 7 years back, Nilambur, a municipality of Kerala, had their people sell their homes to pay for their Daughter’s marriages. This story tells you how Nilambur became the first Dowry-free village in India.
Marriage in Nilambur means that the Daughter’s family are getting poor forever
The Panchayat found that this village had 60 weddings every month, where Rs. 3-4 lakh was spent on dowry. Those who couldn’t pay dowry couldn’t marry off their daughters. Those who got their daughters married went bankrupt – a whopping 40%. A lot of families left broke after paying their daughters’ dowry demanded it while marrying off their sons. Municipality chairman Mr. Shoukath explained this, “These boys accept dowry in order to bail out their beleaguered parents. So, in effect, it’s become a vicious circle”.
The movement had finally began in 2009
After seeing all these atrocities, Shoukath made a strategy to curb out these problem in the village. He adds “In 2009, we took a pledge to make Nilambur a dowry-free village in a year”. This mission had planned to gather local men and women in large numbers, and took part in public meetings, door-to-door campaigns, street plays and motivation classes.
K Shabeer Ali, a volunteer says “We fashioned it in a way that dowry is the biggest crime in one’s life and it did wonders.”
The major moment when this will be going online
An upcoming matrimonial site will be brought up by Panchayat and NGO Mahila Samakhya (www.dowryfreemarriage.com) to make this movement to go online. This site will go on to talk about various issues of marriage customs, Dowry, Gender Issues, etc.
Adding more to the movement
This agitation which has done wonders in this village has planned to go beyond this issue and fight for issues like Domestic violence, Marriage Desertions, etc. which have become a huge challenge in the Rural India.
Along with this kind of good work, there is also an emphasis on empowerment. Students who need to get proper training for Competitive Exams will be given free of cost coaching. More than 2500 students in Nilambur haven’t passed class 10, hence, when they were given coaching for Study Programs, almost all of them passed.
This has become a picture perfect example of how NGO’s with the help of local people can create wonders for the society. #MorePowerToYou #Nilambur
Author: Rohith Seelamsetty
Blogger,Trekker and Entrepreneur!
Rohith is a passionate iconoclast who loves to get the information from air to paper.
Curator at Storygag and even expresses his opinions through it.