16-22 May 2014 #707

Love for sale

Nisha Rai, Setopati.com, 11 May

She worked as an auxiliary nurse at a hospital in Siraha. He had just passed the civil service exams. They fell in love and decided to get married. The parents, reluctant at first, eventually agreed and the wedding preparations began.

The date was set for 11 May. But, three weeks before the wedding, the girl attempted suicide. Why? Her parents weren’t able to meet the dowry demands from the boy’s family. Initially, Rs 300,000 was sought in the name of dowry. The girl begged her father to collect the sum anyhow, saying she couldn’t marry anyone else, and even promising to pay back the debt. The family agreed and arranged for the cash with much difficulty.

Once the invitations were sent out, the boy’s family had more demands: they now wanted a motorcycle and a laptop. The families sat together to bargain. The boy said he would give the girl’s family a year’s time to make necessary arrangements. If the demands are not met, then there would be no wedding.

The girl returned home dissappointed. She was worried about what people would say, how would she live without the love of her life. She couldn’t sleep at all, and decided ending her life was the answer. The bottle of pesticide that she consumed didn’t kill her but hospitalised her for a week.

After her discharge, the girl’s family filed a complaint against the boy’s family demanding an investigation. The boy was then taken in for questioning by the police.

I was covering the story for a radio program and called the girl to inform her that the boy had been arrested. In her feeble voice, she told me she knew. She also said that the two families had agreed to resolve their differences. “We are getting married today,” she announced.

I wish the newlyweds all the best for their life and I hope the boy accepts and learns from his mistake. Dowry practice is prohibited by the law in Nepal, but a quarter of all cases of violence against women are believed to be caused due to dowry demands from the groom’s family.

Read also:

“My husband and in-laws left me to die” AYESHA SHAKYA

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