Olympic bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt is known to be a trendsetter. The champion wrestler, who etched his name in Indian wrestling history by winning the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, has brought many laurels for his country including a gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and another at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Earlier this weekend, he made the headlines yet again but not for an achievement in the sporting field. Yogeshwar Dutt set an example to the society when he accepted a ‘token dowry’ of just Re 1 for marrying Sheetal Sharma, the daughter of Haryana’s Congress politician Jai Bhagwan Sharma. The couple got engaged in a private ceremony on January 14, in Sonepat.
Dowry system is perhaps the most pressing issue in our country. It is certainly one of the most prevalent and deep-rooted social evils. Although the Supreme Court has deemed it illegal, many still follow the ritual. It is a menace to the society.
What the practice of dowry has done is, it has demeaned the value of women in our society. To bear a daughter means to lose money whereas to bear a son translates to gaining money. In a world, where money rules over everything, where everything is weighed materially, daughters come across as less valuable to parents.
In an interview a few days back, Dutt had said that when he was young, he saw his family struggling to collect dowry for his sisters’ weddings. He had decided two things back then – one, he will become a champion wrestler and two, he will never accept dowry.
Then why did he receive Re 1 as ‘token dowry’? And what is this ‘token dowry’ exactly? Who is to decide what amount is ‘token’? For some it might be Re 1, for others, it could be Rs 1 crore.
By accepting Re 1 as ‘token dowry’, Dutt has made it look like taking dowry is compulsory because of the prevalent social norms and that he has done the bride’s family a favour by accepting a paltry amount.
Justifying his decision of taking Re 1 as a token of goodwill, Dutt wrote on Twitter: “In ‘Sanatana Dharma’, on any auspicious occasion gifts are exchanged as good omen, and the one rupee I have accepted is nothing but for goodwill. It is not a dowry, so I request people to choose their words wisely.”
सनातन धर्म में किसी भी शुभ अवसर पर शगुन या नेग दिया जाता है,मैंने एक रुपये का शगुन स्वीकार किया है ना कि दहेज।शब्दों के चुनाव ठीक से करे। https://t.co/5hwiEWu1Fb
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) January 15, 2017
Even though Dutt clarified that he did not intend for the amount to be considered dowry, we need to question the practice of taking dowry. Even if you are accepting Re 1 in the name of ‘token dowry’, others will say look at Yogeshwar Dutt. He is a world famous personality and yet he has accepted dowry, why cannot we?
It is up to the readers to decide whether Yogeshwar’s decision was right or wrong. We, from The Logical Indian, wish the champion wrestler a happy married life and hope that he continues to bring more laurels to the country.