ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dowry as Property

Strange Logic THIS is with reference to KVR's letter regarding the sad plight of P Vara Vara Rao (January 28). His call for a "concerted move by writers, journalists, doctors, civil liberties activists and the like" could not have come at a better and more appropriate time. People like me fear, however, that nobody is in a mood to listen to it if the write-ups in your esteemed weekly are any guide. Consider what 'a correspondent' (January 14) has used Safdar Hashmi's dastardly murder for. Strange is the logic of the write-up which begins with Safdar's murder and concludes with the lesson that the late Safdar's party should learn. It is like arguing that if Vara Vara Rao is in gaol it is because the CPI(ML) or its various factions have not yet learnt that if they "claim democratic rights to propagate [their) views, [they] cannot deny the same to [their] opponents". In one case Rajiv Gandhi gets away scot-free in the last analysis; in the other NTR and his goons get away scot-free in the last analysis. Of course, all the communist parties that your correspondent disapproves of would not understand this. But that the esteemed correspondent of your esteemed weekly should ignore the suicidal implications of his argument from the point of view of left forces (he docs seem to recognise such a thing in India) is one good reason why a "concerted move" against such atrocities which KVR has called for has not yet materialised. Rage, rage against the dying of the light! G P DESHPANDE New Delhi Dowry as Property THE article 'On Kidneys and Dowry' by C S Lakshmi (January 28) is full of misquotes, distortions, contradictions and an unrealistic understanding of the meaning of the term dowry. Lakshmi quotes Madhu Kishwar as describing dowry as a share in the property while, what Madhu Kishwar has written in Manushi (No 48, 1988) is this: "Most women see their dowry as the only share they will get in their parental property. In a situation where women do not have effective inheritance rights, dowry is the only wealth to which they can lay a claim" She also says: "Until we can ensure equal inheritance rights to daughters we have no right to ask them to sacrifice the inadequate compensation they get by way of dowry.'' This is misconstrued by Lakshmi to mean dowry being described as a share in property. About property rights of women she says: "A woman inherits property by being the child of parents who own property. Whether married or unmarried she has a right to this property, whether divorced or widowed she has a righf to this property! lf the fact that this right is almost universally denied is ig mored by Lakshmi then this ignorance must be deliberate because it is impossible to think of anybody believing that daughters in India are really given a share in parental property.

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