Dowry is not only considered a social evil in India, it also comes under the ambit of law as a crime. There is Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 to stop this social evil and the action is punishable under the Indian Penal Code as well.
However, earlier today, the Times of India carried a news titled “Yogeshwar Dutt floors all with Re 1 dowry“:
The first reaction of a reader would be – good that just one rupee, but why dowry at all? Isn’t dowry banned? Will Yogeshwar Dutt not be in trouble due to this? After all, whether one rupee or one crore rupees, dowry still is prohibited and can’t be practiced, definitely not promoted as an act of winning hearts.
Although Yogeshwar Dutt has not clarified (he must be busy with the wedding), it appears that the “dowry” part is a sensationalism added by the TOI. In the report, the ace wrestler said that his family struggled to collect dowry for the girls of the family and therefore he decided not to take dowry in life.
His family accepted a Re 1 coin as ‘shagun’ (good omen) from the girl’s family. He denied any other form of gift from his in-laws.
Even in legal terms, ‘shagun’ and dowry are different.
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 article 3 specifies that the penalty for giving or taking dowry does not apply to presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride or bridegroom, when no demand for them have been made.
Sadly, usage of the word dowry to sensationalise the news risks spoiling the brilliant example set by Dutt. The same term is now being repeated by other media organisations that are republishing what TOI published.