Non-Resident Indians are often seen as the dream partner by many women living in India, especially in states like the Punjab. The idea of getting married to an NRI and living abroad in places like the USA, UK and Europe in a happy union of marital life attracts many women to take the plunge for NRI marriages.
However, the story is not so good or as happy as it perceives to be. Many such marriages do end up with the bride on a waiting list – not due to formal reasons but simply because the groom never returns to take his wife to her rightful or promised home abroad.
Cases like this usually lead from NRI marriages where large dowries are bestowed on grooms and their families further to their requests. Sometimes causing huge financial crisis for parents of the bride in order to meet the expectations of them in terms of dowry.
The trend has shown the such grooms and families, after getting their dowries, which sometimes are very large amounts of cash and goods, return back abroad and then begin delay tactics, avoiding a return of any kind. The marriages are being used as business opportunities. There is also evidence of further requests made to the women and their families post the marriages, where the groom and families abroad request additional dowry. This is often used as a showstopper to the marriage and therefore, ensuring that due to non- satisfaction of the dowry requirements, the bride never leaves India.
Additionally, there are stories of repeat marriages of this kind to different women by the same NRI men, the NRI men getting married abroad to local women and completely ignoring the wife in India, and some women having to bring up children as single mothers due to false promises made by their NRI husbands abroad. There are cases of NRI men not turning up for over a decade after marrying and other situations where the women cannot visit legally or find the husband abroad due to them moving.
As with many Indian marital traditions and culture, this issue of the dowry is one that still lingers on in today’s society causing such huge social and economic problems.
Many parents would argue that this is the only way they can marry their daughters to potential husbands who have a good status and stature in society – especially abroad. Therefore, impressing them with dowry and meeting the needs of the groom are the sure way to seal approval for their daughter’s marriage.
However, many families, especially in Punjab, are realising the devious plans of NRI’s who are hoaxing their way into marriages in order to receive dowry and then, not comply with the marriage thereafter. To the extent that there have been backlashes from families both physically and verbally towards grooms and families visiting who are expecting and asking for dowry to be given to them.
A special NDTV video report from India shows an example of some of the problems faced by the brides of NRI marriages in Punjab and how the the expectation of dowry is not being easily met anymore by parents of the girls and women marrying NRI men. Watch the report to see the impact of how NRI marriages are no longer easily disguising themselves as sweetners for dowry.
The report demonstrates that dowry requests are not going to be tolerated easily anymore and activist groups are fully aware of what some NRI men and their families pre-plan before participating in marriages with women in India. Punjabi politicians such as Balwant Singh Ramoowalia as seen in the the report, are making this issue a priority and are working hard to act upon such mischievous activity.
However, will this really tackle the problem which seems to be growing? Should the Indian government or foreign governments be involved to act upon something that can be classed as fraudulant marriages? Because it is evident that some NRI men and families of this kind are tarnishing the reputation of many others that are genuinely looking for partners abroad without the thought of acquiring dowries or any other form of compensation for considering the hand in marriage of an Indian born woman.