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Liberty & the menace of Dowry

Consider this latest move being proposed by the Indian Planning Commission's Working Group on Women's Agency and Empowerment. A high-powered government panel has recommended income-linked cap on marriage expenditure, including gifts and food served. The panel wants wants to improve implementation of the anti-dowry law by appointing sufficient number of dedicated, full time dowry prohibition officers to enforce the Dowry Prohibition Act. It has also recommended a relook at the existing definition of what constitutes "dowry", and penalties for violation.


But then again, its another classic example of government infringing on individual liberties under the garb of protecting them. I agree the problem of dowry in India is a depressing one. Latest statistics show there's a bride burnt every hour in India.

How tragic.

But if you think regulation and its enforcement is the answer to curbing this menace, you're wrong. As I have said umpteen times before, the presence of a regulator is good news for violators, for it helps them get away with murder (literally) by ensuring the regulator is 'bought' out. Which by the way has been happening for donkey's years in India, and will happen till kingdom come.

Social problems can't be tackled by government via regulations. It can only be mitigated through individuals exercising their god-given liberty. Women, with parental support must refuse marriage offers if its accompanied by dowry demands. If such demands start post marriage, women must walk out if they are subjected to any sort of abuse (psychological or physical). Finally, if doing the former means remaining single, they must welcome it, open arms. They may also take the Sushmita Sen (kudos to her) route, if that's acceptable.

Now I know this isn't easy in India. But tell you what, this is the only way out. Plus its better than hoping government will come to a woman's rescue (it won't and can't), or hoping her husband and his family won't burn her alive.

In the world of consumers too, it must be same story. Ensuring consumers buy into quality products and services must come out their exercising their individual liberty. That is, consumers must decide whether to buy, or not to. Their not buying is their best response to lousy quality. Depending on government to ensure quality is chasing a pipe dream. Plus history shows that when regulators in India were out in full force pre-liberalisation, we as consumers were at the mercy of the lousiest products and services imaginable.

The key to getting your choice of partner, or your product purchase right lies in you exercising your god-given liberty. One that allows you to say a no when you so desire, and proclaim a yes when you think the person or the product's right. God forbid, even if your choice turns out wrong, fret not. Respond, and exercise your liberty.

Stop your patronage of the brand.

Kick the guy out!


R.V. said…
Nice article sir, especially the last paragraph, but is India mature enough to survive without any regulations?
Sir, I think this article is needed at these times where the companies whose products has ISO certifications and prove to be abominable in quality maintenance.
As you said - "Their not buying is their best response to lousy quality". However, in India, most of the services are equally pathetic or lousy. Take for example Banking. If the Customer rejects a bank, he doesnt have much choice as other banks are also equally pathetic.

Even the banks know this and dont care much about Customer Service, if at all it exists! :)

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