Dowry death and bride burning: A look beyond the smoke screen (MRM India)

The phrase “bride burning” conjures up images of a cruel husband and his family members dousing a young woman in kerosene, flinging a lighted matchstick on her and gloating as the hapless bride goes up in flames. The term “dowry death” also sparks off vivid imaginations of a woman being taunted and harassed for money and finally, hanged to death within the four walls of her house. We also have watched movies and TV serials where a malicious mother-in-law poisons the unsuspecting daughter-in-law’s meal or quietly causes a gas leak and locks the new bride in the kitchen right before she lights the stove to make tea for the family.

There must be many families who burn their brides for dowry as a routine practice otherwise, why would there be so many news reports about dowry deaths? As they say, there cannot be smoke without a fire. Right?

Feminists would have you believe that every unnatural or untimely death of a married Indian woman is dowry death. Not only that, the feminist hyperbole on “bride killing” and “dowry harassment” makes it look like Indian men have an uncanny propensity to commit violence on their wives for money, while men in other countries commit domestic violence for other reasons.

In reality, it is the number of registered suicides of married women which are passed off as statistics of dowry death, and even these numbers are almost always exaggerated. It has become a custom to claim that all the women have been “driven to suicide” due to dowry harassment.(Links No.1-6) The husband and in-laws are immediately arrested under IPC Sections 304B and 498A and incarcerated for a couple of weeks to several months without bail. They are promptly subjected to media trial and labeled criminals even before investigation or trial can begin.

Even if all the noise about Indian brides being “driven to suicide” for dowry is indeed well-founded, one would expect that the number of suicides of married women would be significantly higher compared to that of unmarried women. However, the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics show that there is no significant difference in the rates of suicide by married and unmarried women.

Justice Saldana’s remarks (in Crl.A. no. 589 of 2003) are testimony to how anti-dowry laws are being misused to the detriment of innocent citizens:

…we need to sound a note of caution that the police and investigating authorities should not improperly and technically jump to the conclusion that merely because death has occurred that ipso facto a criminal offense has been committed . In as many as 44% of these cases prosecution is thoroughly unjustified. Unless there is cogent and convincing evidence and unless there is material to sustain these charges, it would be totally impermissible and completely unjustified to embark upon legal action. The consequences of these charges are extremely grave because the accused husband and invariably family members are placed under arrest. There are serious social and economic repercussions.

The fact that we do come across considerable number of instances where prosecution was unjustified seems to indicate that in every case of death of young woman or recently married women that prosecution and filing of charge sheet has become automatic. There does not appear to be a proper application of mind at the stage of scrutiny and having regard to this position we direct the concerned authorities to ensure that requirements of the law are correctly and responsibly followed.

It is important to note that more than 56,000 married Indian men end their lives every year. According to statistics obtained from the National Crime Records Bureau, every year, twice as many married men, compared to women, commit suicides unable to withstand verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse by their wives and in-laws. Deaths of these men make for the brief stories we often read in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”. (LInks No.7-12)

Thanks to the concerted efforts of the feminists, thousands of men are also becoming victims of “legal terrorism” unleashed through laws like Sections 498A and 304B of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, adultery laws, laws against rape and sexual harassment, and even divorce, maintenance and child custody laws. Many men are ending their lives unable to endure the fear, humiliation and trauma caused by the legal harassment.(Links No.13-18)

While it is insisted that the death of every young married woman is a case of dowry death requiring immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, accompanied by media-hype, male-bashing and breast-beating, driving thousands of men to commit suicide is considered social service in India.

Feminists have always wanted “dowry harassment” and “bride burning” to remain hot issues that fuel the Indian Domestic Violence Industry.

The feminist Taliban will surely burn in rage as we look beyond the smoke screen and call their bluff.

About Uma Challa

Uma Challa was inspired to submit this article after reading A Voice for Men. If you too have ideas or experiences you would like to share with our readers. please click here

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  • Whitney Dodman

    So why are these women not being held responsible for the deaths of the men? Never mind, I know the answer.

    • Zyeria

      Where is there evidence that the women are killing the men? I have never come across any stories of men being set alight by their wives.

      • L.

        There is significant evidence of men committing suicide after a divorce, or so I would guess.

        Which is mariage – money transfer @ loss of party X – suicide of party X
        a bit like the indian stuff, isn’t it ?

    • L.

      R E S P O N S I B L E
      mhhh .. what could that mean ?

  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    Excellent post and very educational. I recently left a comment on another post about the treatment of Indian men and women. I’ve wanted to know more about it. My understanding has been that the mistreatment of Indian women prompted the misandrous laws that are now used to punish innocent men in retaliation for past transgression of their forefathers. I also understand that much of the dowry and bride burning is enforced not by the husband, but by the mother-in-law so that it isn’t necessarily even the men who are to blame. I know I may be wrong about this, is it possible to write about the history of this practice?


    • Zyeria

      Typical, men don’t have enough balls to stand up for what is it right.

      Pretty pathetic when a husband doesn’t stop his mother from setting his wife on fire.

      • L.

        And you’d go ahead and blame them when that’s what society wants ?

        If “men don’t have enough balls to stand up for what is it right”, how come you live in a democracy (which is wrong, but still more right than the previous order of things – I hope) ?

        If “men don’t have enough balls to stand up for what is right”, how come you don’t speak german ?

        The aforementioned male human being might not have balls, but do you even care about why he is that way ?

        From your talk I can tell you’re westerner, so here’s a quick fiction for you :
        The man’s mother wants to burn his wife and goes ahead as planned.
        The man incapacitates the mother in order to protect his wife.
        The man goes to prison for hurting a lady.
        The wife gets burned by the mother.

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  • Whitney Dodman


    The gist of the article is that Bride Burnings and Dowry Death are not as common as the mainstream media (read feminism) would have you believe. They are chalking all bride suicides into the same stats while completely ignoring that twice as many men are driven to suicide by these heartless savages.

  • Sha

    Great piece of work UMA. Thanx so much for posting it.
    Its been hard for me to explain most wester men in right words.. that dowry-death and Bride-Burning was just a thing of past and a Great weapon in the hands of these radical feminists. I am sure now they will understand it to some extent.
    As I had said before, Men are always being tagged, may it be DV,RAPES..or any fals accuses and all wether they played a role to it or not.. just to shut them up and corner them..
    and incase of Indian men Dowry-demands and bride-burning comes as additions to PATRIARCHY-tag !

    Look forward to whole lot more posts from you.
    Thankyou again.

  • http://498aterminator.blogspot.com/ 498aTerminator

    Fantastic article, lets spread awareness among all Men world over on Feminazi atrocities. So called International Domestic Violence Acts are just a way for women to abuse the law and get away with murder. Laws like IPC 498a are simply draconian laws used for extortion and helps the already corrupted Police and Judiciary.
    Please visit my blog at the link below to read articles from around the world, with special emphasis given to India since Divorce Law is Criminal law.


  • AntZ

    Yet another feminist enclave sells its soul for power.

    I understand the temptation. The more hot air that feminists can pump into their make believe “savage predator” male-construct, the more state resources will be made available to them.

    This is how it all goes so wrong:

    Take the issue of the mainstream airline policy requiring that all travelling men must move when seated next to unrelated children, to prevent child abuse. Given that there has never been a case of in-flight child abuse, the harm that this policy of hate causes to men is obvious … but let’s get past that.

    What effect does regarding all men to be unsafe around children have on women? The societal consensus that men are raving lunatics hungering for the blood of children makes it very unlikely that most men will choose a child care or other nurturing role … consequently these burdens largely fall to women.

    You would think that women would find common cause with men in fighting this hateful and discriminatory policy … given that it hurts women as well as men. You would be wrong. This is the heart of the dilemma that currently plagues feminism.

    Feminism has awesome POWER in the form of financial resources, political resources, and institutional resources. And yet feminism finds itself unable to exert this power as INFLUENCE, because retaining their power keeps feminism married to a policy of hatred and vilification of men.

    Paradoxically, because men have more than proven their capability in the workplace, the primary feminist venue for unleashing their anti-male poison is the denigration of men in nurturing or supporting roles such as husband, father, and caretaker. This makes men even less likely to do these jobs, burdening many competent women to the point that they are unable to compete at the very highest levels of corporate leadership.

    The remarkable thing is that gender feminists are the primary enforcers of the “patriarchy” conjured by equity feminists in the 50s!

    When feminism began to use hate and fear of men as a means to acquire power, they sold their souls to the Devil. Now they spend their time cursing in nests of hate, cursing in impotent frustration, because they know very well that their movement is fading into irrelevance and ridicule.

  • Carlos

    First the male bashing on the bus and then this. I had no idea that India had it’s head as far up its ass as we do in terms of sex relations. I’ve talked to father’s with children abducted to India and heard them speak to its maternal bias in child custody, but I had no idea the issue was so pervasive there. On the contrary my impression was that women might have some legitimacy to their often claimed special status in India with the things I’ve heard about like bride burning, honor killings and acid throwing. Yet somehow I’m not so surprised to find out that, even in India, the Empress has no clothes and is a fat ugly bitch.

  • Bob O’Hara

    Uma Challa is someone I would very much like to have lunch with. If only she didn’t live on the other side of the world.

  • John Smitt

    This is just the begining, things will go far much worst since nobody care about men’s lifes. We can all die they don’t care. In fact I beleave that some take pleasure of that.

    • Zyeria

      Indeed we would.

      • L.

        Sure .. then you would die hopeless because you destroyed the only thing that always protected you from reality and harsh cold nature, as well as other women.

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  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    @ Whitney

    “The gist of the article is that Bride Burnings and Dowry Death are not as common as the mainstream media (read feminism) would have you believe.”

    I realize what the article is getting at, its just that I’m interested in the history behind it all. Like DV here in the States, feminists may not be presenting all the facts and what they do present may be grossly distorted. But these things did and still do occur. I’m looking for how it started and why, and who supports it? It has now evolved to include heinous, state sponsored crimes against men. There’s a cultural history here and I’d like to know it. Understanding a problem is the first step to solving it.


  • ary

    uma elaborate on an article that indian laws do not consider mothers and sisters of husbands as women

  • Pankaj

    Please also note that a recent judge stated that “the women relatives of the husband cannot be automatically considered implicated in cases of domestic violence and would need further investigation before action is taken against them..”
    Like all propaganda, what is left unsaid is far more important than what is.

  • Pankaj


    The practice is very ancient and no one knows for sure what its intention/roots were. Daughters, in the Hindu society, did not have a right to inheritance from her parent’s family, until recently. This could imply that all that a father wants to give his daughter, the right time is marriage. It is a general custom where most fathers, even today, give their daughter as much as they can, almost always without any demands from anyone. It is considered socially shameful not to give your daughter “enough”. It is quite common and quite benevolent custom.

    Dowry is also used as a means to “sweeten” unattractive marriage proposals, make them worth it, so to speak. People who are already in economic trouble (need money) could get married to less desirable women.. who otherwise would not find a husband without the financial boosting. It seems unethical from a more western point of view, but this is real world of impoverished society. Often what happens, is the deal goes sour one way or the other.. either agreed upon payment cannot or will not be delivered, or demands keep rising, etc. which leads to trouble. There have been cases where the girl’s parents falsely agree to paying dowry, with no intention to ever pay it.

    Now the idea of bride burning has been the brain child of anti-human and criminal elements who look upon dowry as a way to get rich quick, but the issue is far more complicated than it seems or can be explained in words.

    Indian feminism has found fertile ground of extreme chivalry, western sympathy and fraud of democratic “freedom”. Understand that Indian hindu rituals include worship.. literally, of young girls as representatives of goddesses during certain festivals. One can imagine what kind of mentality it fosters in such young girls. Especially, when they understand that it is because they are FEMALE.

    In the west the feminists argue Man=Bad, Woman=Good, in India chivalrist hold Man=Demon/Beast of Burden/mere mortal, Woman=Goddesses. Now top that!

    At least western folks have some concept of justice.. Indians do not. And to the egalitarian folks from the rest of the world, a (relatively poor) Indian woman appears a more authentic victim than a (relatively well off) western woman.

  • http://uchalla.wordpress.com Uma

    “Dowry death” and “bride burning” are inventions of feminists and concepts which pander to the fantasies of the orientalist.

    Killing a person, for any reason, is murder. We have Section 302 of Indian Penal Code which deals with murder, and Section 307 which deals with attempt to murder. We also have laws to deal with assault, extortion, intimidation and other crimes. Men and women in all countries kill or commit crimes for various reasons. Nobody kills or assaults specifically for “dowry”. In fact, the word dowry is not Indian.

    In India, like in many other native cultures, the families of the bride and groom exchange gifts before, at the time of marriage and at various occasions later on. The parents of the bride, out of love or a matter of social custom, prefer not to send their daughter away butt-naked. They deck her up in jewelry, and the best clothes they can afford and also gift the couple cash and other forms of wealth.

    Now, greed is something else, and it is not gender specific. Women along with their families take a close look at the past, present and future savings and earnings and also the assets of a man before choosing to marry him. If that is not a crime, a man expecting his bride to bring lots of money into the household cannot be considered a crime either. It just means some people (men and women) see marriage as a business deal, and they are looking to strike the best one.

  • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

    @ Uma

    I just wanted to offer a word of thanks. The MRM is spreading worldwide, and as your article clearly illustrates, there is a dire need for it. Your offerings not only remind us that gender feminism is not just a western problem, but you educate us on what is happening on the broader scale.

    Kudo’s to you for your good work.

  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    Pankaj and Uma,

    Thank you both for the elaboration. It is very enlightening. Even in western culture marriage has sometimes been seen as a business deal. Here in America we have a tradition of exchanging wedding rings. while the ring given by the bride can be a plain band (usually gold), the ring given by the groom to the bride is expected to be far more and to represent his ability to provide for her. It’s value is expected to equal 3-4 months worth of his salary. Dowries are also common in western tradition. Depending upon culture, they may be expected to come from either the bride’s family or the groom’s. I’ve never really studied the concept, but I have seen it in the news several times in the last year or two and I’m becoming more interested. Thanks.


  • Pankaj

    Thanks to Uma for bringing this up and putting in the effort. I wish AIMWA success in whatever it is they are trying. I am a pessimist towards the approach these guys are following, as not a whole lot of men have the time, resources or feel the necessity to oppose the feminist triumph in Indian politics. I see no way to change that either. As the Indian state grows stronger rapidly on the backs of economic progress, things are only getting started towards the worse. There is no CPS yet and DV laws are still not enforced in full rigor as written, but it is only a matter of time.
    Ironically it is the do-gooders who will fertilize and fuel the growth of anti-human anti-male structure.

  • Anil Kumar

    Where did this “25,000 bride burning” hoax starte?

    It started in late 90s by a group of jealous advocates in Harvard University led by a guy called “Himendra Thakur”. The complete statistics was false. This false data was manufactured to collect funds from various sources in United States.

    A copy of his article is available here:

    It says:

    “And as we look away, an estimated 25,000 brides are killed or maimed every year in India over dowry disputes. Intellectuals pull out their calculator and say it is less than 0.003% of India’s population.”

    “Himendra Thakur is a founding member of the International Society against Dowry and Bride Burning in India, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in the United States. He is currently Chairman of the Society’s Board of Directors and Subcommittee on Fundraising.”

    So, it is all about telling sad stories and false statistics in United States so that one call collect funds.

    The words “killed or maimed” got converted to “got killed” and then to “got burnt” in just a couple of iterations. Its just a simple twist of language and one gets wonderful statistics about murder of women in India.

    The lie was given enormous credibility by Time Magazine and now wikipedia refers to this as a valid source on “Bride Burning”.


    The actual convictions of spousal homicides/forced suicides of women in 2008 are 1948. Indian Government Ministry of Home source:


    Now, who is going to put this 10 year old genie back in the bottle?

  • http://truthjusticeca.wordpress.com/ Denis

    Thanks to Uma for writing this article and Pankaj and Anil for further elaborating.

    This is very interesting and there are parallels in western society of creating moral panic via male-blaming mythology and false statistics.

    • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

      Agreed. I hope that we have more direct news and articles from the Indian MRM. Uma has my utmost respect, and she is welcome to post to this website at any time she wishes. We are all enriched from the education.

  • Babbs

    Tarnishing the honor of the family is a deadly paradox for both men and women. However, with depreciated value placed on women in this part of the world, it is a near impossible argument that men are driven to suicide due to the abuse brought about by a mere woman. In many cases of dowry deaths, IF an investigation is made, the investigations are tainted by pay-offs to the investigators and, as minimal research proves, only a tiny fraction of husbands are jailed or prosecuted for these brutal crimes. The largest crime is the fundamental belief that women do not stack up to men. Thus, women are born unto a body that places a life-long burden of insufficiency on herself, her family and her husband. Only the percentage of people who believe in equality and do not feel threatened by a loss of family honor can overcome this burden. In this type of society, male and female suicide rates are guaranteed to be high. But due to the well-established history of brides being burned by the husband/in-laws, it is a remiss crime against humanity itself not to investigate and then prosecute, as necessary, any bride death by fire. There are a great many alternative options of suicide that would liberate a woman from the body she’s imprisoned which would not subject her to this torture. A small application of common sense and research could have made this a credible article. However, credibility is obviously not the intention.

  • Zyeria

    Husbands and in-laws are certainly culpable because it IS THEIR harassment which derives the person to this act. Of course suicides should be included in the “overwhelming” statistics! They are being driven to this act.

    Just wondering if this “writer” is a man?

    • L.


      right … careful with the koolaid though, I heard it can kill you.

  • Shivana

    This is a very sad article. It highlights some of the issues that men in India suffer with laws but still fails to recognise that the issue of ‘bride burning’ strikes at the heart of both mother and FATHER of the bride.

    Maybe the members of this forum will have a kind thought for the father of such a bride.

    A father who cherished his loving, respectable and well educated daughter. A father who has saved faithfully to provide her with a substantial dowry so that she might marry well and start her married life successfully.

    A father who was embarrassed when shortly after becoming married her husband and relatives demanded more money for a dowry. He didn’t have any more money for them.

    A father who cried behind closed doors, when his daughter was found dead in her home a few months after her married. Her body so beaten and bruised that she was hard to identify.

    It was easy for the family to pay off the officials that investigate these deaths. Afterall, they had large dowry along with all the money she had borrowed, when she tried to raise the dowry herself.

  • http://www.manfromatlan.blogspot.com manfromatlan

    So every case of men committing suicide is because of their wives? Aren’t many of those farmers because they can no longer feed their families or other economic issues? You not only have women being gang raped and hung in India you want to downplay the issue of dowry burning?