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Authors

Tara S. Kaushik

Abstract

Incidents of dowry-related violence increase yearly in modern India despite current laws aimed at deterring the cultural perpetuation of the practice. This article provides an understanding of the evolution of the dowry system, an analysis of India's dowry prohibition laws, and an analysis of the cultural notions that support the practice. Using this analysis the author suggests that Indian laws fail to eradicate dowry-related violence because the laws do not adequately address the fundamental notion of dowry exchange as a part of modern day culture in India. The article begins with a brief background on the meaning of dowry exchange. It goes on to analyze the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 as well as other more contemporary laws that are aimed at reforming dowry practices. Finally, the author concludes with a suggested cultural approach to structure and enforce dowry laws today.

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