As much as dowry as a practice is totally illegal, immoral and regressive, the practice of demanding money from husband to walk out of marriage without his fault is equally unethical. However, while the former is considered against the law, the latter is a tool clubbed with gender biased laws, that empower wives to threaten and force husbands to pay up.
One such story has been narrated to us by a man whose marriage crumbled within just 2-months, and now he suspects that his in-laws pre planned the marriage and subsequent demand of money by asking their daughter to return to them.
Sameer (name changed), 31, got married to 26-year-old Naina (name changed) in October 2020. It was an arranged marriage and both were quite happy with each other for initial few days.
Naina’s family did not have an economically strong background and thus her maternal uncle and grandfather arranged the marriage expenses from their side. They had also funded the woman’s college fees while she was studying. At the time of marriage, Naina earned Rs 12,000 per month.
Sameer was fully aware of the woman’s financial status before marriage and he in fact also offered to give her Rs 5,000 per month which she could send to her family and support them even when she was not residing with them.
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However, within a few days of marriage, Naina’s mother did not seem happy with the alliance and the husband says he did sense something was wrong with her since day 1, but he did not bother much. The festival of Karwachauth was soon approaching, and Sameer wanted to celebrate it well with his wife, being their first ritual together after marriage. Shockingly, Naina’s mother started demanding expensive gift for her daughter on this festival and instructed Sameer that he must buy Naina a gold necklace. Sameer says,
After buying a gold necklace for my wife worth Rs 45,000, my mother-in-law wanted to see the bill as she did not believe it was real. I was disappointed and heartbroken after what my wife’s mother put me through.
Soon after this episode, Naina’s mother’s started asking her to return to their home and also blackmailed her emotionally.
Sameer said his wife too would get upset and question her mother’s behaviour. Later, she even spoke to her father and asked him why did they get her married to this man, if they were not convinced with him. Naina then returned to Sameer and things were smooth between the two. They would often go out for dining and spend lot of time with each other. The wife would also post several happy pictures of the two on social media.
In December 2020, Naina’s parents visited Sameer’s house and told him that they wanted to take their daughter home for a few days, to which the husband agreed. Even after the wife left, the couple would frequently text and speak to each other.
Pay Alimony Else Face False Cases
Things turned drastically when Naina stopped talking to Sameer and did not receive his calls. When he tried to reach her parents, Naina’s mother bullied him and broke all communication channels. Sameer shares,
When I visited their place, her family just told me they did not want this marriage to continue. I was shocked when they said give us Rs 12 lakh or we could file cases against you.
I kept visiting my wife’s place for nearly five months, but instead of speaking about reconciliation, they would only talk about alimony.
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One day Naina texted Sameer and said,
Hum divorce ke baad dost banke rahenge. Mere papa bahot zid karte hai vo ab hume saath nahi rahene denge. Aap achhe ladke ho but I can’t go against my family.
(We shall remain friends post divorce. My father is very stubborn and won’t let us live together. You are a nice man, but I can’t go against my family)
According to Sameer, his wife also tried to convince her parents, however, they even threatened her, after which she gave up the thought of reuniting with her husband.
Police Case Against Sameer
Soon after, Naina and her family filed dowry harassment complaint against Sameer and also accused him of being a drug addict. Husband quotes,
Naina was someone else at the police station. Her family told the police that I bullied them, wanted dowry and that I was a drug addict who never allowed my wife to talk to her family. I told the police how I was ready to undergo a drug test to prove otherwise.
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Adding further, he informed police,
Please take her call details from October 2020 to December 2020 and if you find a single day when my wife had not called her family, I am ready to go to jail for the rest of my life. There is nothing else I can do and my only mistake is that I am a man and my wife is taking advantage of these laws.
Sameer also informed police how Naina’s family was demanding money from him. He even asked the cops to check his bank accounts from where he had purchased several gifts for his wife after marriage. He quoted,
Within 45-days of marriage, I bought so many clothes worth Rs 25,000 for my wife and had also gifted her phone worth Rs 22,000 before marriage. Despite telling all this to the police, they were not ready to listen to my side.
My life has become hell and every single breadth I take hurts me, because I have been cheated and have nowhere to go. Indian marriage for Men is nothing but slavery. I don’t feel I live in a democratic country.
MDO Take –
Taking advantage of people and getting away with it is wrong and there have been many cases where women trap men and get away because of their gender. There are many Men like Sameer who get duped in an arranged marriage and end up being treated like a criminal. We need to listen to #MenToo as their side of the story also needs to be told.
Gender should not become an excuse for anyone to take advantage and anyone who tries to harass or make life miserable for their spouse, should be punished equally.
Author: Nandini Shah is a 3rd year Bachelors of Journalism student and currently working as an intern with MDO.
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