Haji Mumtaj Ali, who comes from the Pokhari village in the Latehar district in Jharkand, has successfully led a mass movement against the practice of dowry in his region.
In fact, in part due to his initiative and also due to the willingness of his community, 800 families in the region not only came forward to admit they had taken dowry, they have also duly returned the money to the families of the brides they took it from!
In April 2016, to battle the evils of dowry, Haji started his campaign and started reaching out to the elders in his community to spread the message. The movement became so successful that even the maulvis have promised to not solemnise any wedding where the practice of dowry has been enforced.
Since April, families in and around Latehar and Palamu districts in the state have already returned an impressive ₹6 crore to families of brides.
Image for representation. Photo source: Pixabay
Through meetings and discussions, they have ensured the campaign does not lose steam and expands further. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Haji said, “The war against dowry will eat up poor families like cancer till it is completely wiped out. There are still a few families that are yet to give up the evil practice. Earlier, the Muslim community did not pay dowry, but of late, dowry has become a part of marriages, in the process badly hampering the sanctity of this sacred bond.”
The practice of dowry is a nation-wide problem that has to be addressed by both society and the government. In 2015, the Women and Child Development Ministry wrote to the Lok Sabha noting that since 2012 to 2015, there had been 24,771 dowry-related deaths reported in India.
But hundreds of families in Latehar have resolutely committed to change and promise that they are only just getting started in this battle against a clear evil. And the movement has only just begun.