"I had made it clear that I would not accept any dowry."
In Sonarpur, West Bengal, an Indian bride’s family gave the groom 1,000 books as their way of giving dowry.
Suryakanta Barik is a school teacher and an avid reader. Prior to his wedding, he told his soon-to-be in-laws that he would not accept any dowry.
On his wedding day, he was surprised to see a huge pile of books.
Mr Barik had arrived in Khejuri, East Midnapore to marry Priyanka Bej. He saw the stack of books inside the wedding hall.
The 30-year-old teacher was astonished when he found out that the books were a gift from his in-laws.
The groom said: “I had made it clear that I would not accept any dowry. When I arrived for the wedding, I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge pile of books as a gift.”
According to a member of the Indian bride’s family, 1,000 books were given to Mr Barik as a gift as they knew he enjoyed reading. In total, the books cost Rs. 1 Lakh (£1,100).
Mr Barik is against giving or taking dowry, something which is common within Indian weddings and has sometimes led to serious consequences.
Priyanka is also fond of reading and explained that she is grateful to have a husband who is against the concept of dowry.
She said: “My family knew that I don’t like the concept of marriages that involve giving or taking dowry.
“So I am very grateful to have a husband who understands that. My father also knew that I loved to read. That’s why he gave us the gift.”
All of the books were bought from Kolkata’s college street and Udbodhan Karyalaya which is the publishing house of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.
The collection included the complete works of Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
While dowry has become a loathed concept among newer generations of Asian families, it is still prominent in India and Pakistan.
The bride’s family pays the groom’s family with wealth.
In most cases, the amount of wealth given can vary according to the groom and his family’s status. They can essentially demand any kind of payment they wish, from cars to gold and even property.
In some cases, dowry has resulted in the bride’s family suffering financial burden due to the demands of the groom’s family.
Women have also been subjected to abuse and even death because her husband and in-laws have demanded more dowry.
Even though dowry is not as common as it once was as Mr Barik showed, it is still practised. However, the newer generation’s hate for it may see it become non-existent in the future.