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Jesuit college denies pro-dowry stand 

By Matters India Reporter

Bengaluru: A controversy over dowry has embroiled a 135-year-old Jesuit college in Bengaluru, southern India.

St Joseph’s College got into a controversy on October 20 over a study note that allegedly extoled the “advantages” of the dowry system.

The college denied the allegation the following day and ordered probe into the matter, but the controversy continued to rage on social media platforms.

The controversy arose after the college’s undergraduate sociology class allegedly received study notes listing the advantages of dowry, especially for ugly looking girls.

The note reportedly acknowledges dowry as an “evil practice” but sees advantages in the system. “The marriage of ugly girls who otherwise would have gone without a partner is made possible by offering amounts of dowry,” the alleged note says. Dowry, it allegedly claims, “is useful and effective method of attracting good, handsome… boys for marriage.”

The college’s statement asserts that no teacher “has made pro-dowry statements in the class.” It also said it is investigating the matter and trying to get to the root of the problem.

The incident came to light after a social media user posted a page which was widely read by the people.

As the images of the note went viral on social media, the college asserted that it is opposed to patriarchal views that see advantages in dowry and supports it.

“This fact has been made clear with utmost clarity from the accounts of both teachers and students,” the college release noted.

The press release was issued after an internal enquiry. It said that “the college has enquired into the matter arising from the college student Ritika Ramesh’s Facebook post about the alleged pro-dowry slant in the BA Sociology syllabus.”

“The method of sociology requires students to look at opposing viewpoints carefully. We have found that the person making the Facebook post has selectively cited extraneous materials from one of the soure books suggested, with no understanding of the process followed in the classroom. Besides, the specific section of the book that was posted on the Facebook was never recommended by the department faculty.”

The autonomous college also clarified that no student had raised this as an issue with the teacher concerned or with the head of the department or with the dean of the Social Sciences.

The controversy has evoked outrage among students and parents.

The college is one of the oldest higher education institutions in Karnataka state. India’s University Grants Commission has recognized it as college of excellence. It was awarded the highest rating, in the re-accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council in 2007. It imparts graduate, post-graduate and research education.

The College was founded in 1882 by the Fathers of the French Foreign Mission. On 1 June 1937, the management of the college was transferred to the Society of Jesus. At the time the college consisted of one building, accommodating 350 students. The college and its sister institutions now cater to more than 5,000 students.

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7 Responses to Jesuit college denies pro-dowry stand

  1. Mathews

    Making a hill out of a mole.The college already clarified its stand.St Joseph’s is one of the best colleges in the country with a rich tradition of focus on ethics and Christian values

  2. K C. Thomas

    Every loving family( parents) give gold or money or property as convenient to them,to the daughters at the time of marriage. This does not mean the daughter is not eligible for her share in the family property. There is nothing wrong in this as it is not as a result of any force from anyone. But the dowry (or any assets ) if demanded before or after the marriage by the boy or his family it becomes a condition for the marriage and it is wrong,illegal and immoral. It is illegal because it contravenes the law of the country. It is immoral because the demand is nothing less than coveting another’s property as neither the boy nor his family deserves it. The Christian boys and families must realise that marriage is not a commercial activity, but a holy Sacrament. As long as this important fact is not understood, it is likely to give various interpretations and self justifications to jump over the Commandment.

  3. Thomas K C

    I have given my comment

  4. chhotebhai

    Would not like to comment on the college without knowing all the facts. However, I am surprised at some respondents extending tacit support to dowry. My father took no dowry when he got married. There was no dowry when my two brothers, two sisters and myself got married. Last year my daughter got married without any dowry. Instead of dowry we should ensure gender equality in inheritance.

  5. K. C. Thomas

    On any subject there are different views. There is no need to make a circus of words on the subject as far as the Christians are concerned. The parents of a daughter may give her money or property at the time of marriage and none can say it is wrong or illegal or immoral. Before or after marriage if the groom or his parents demand money , gold or property as a condition for marriage it is wrong, illegal and immoral. It is illegal as it is banned by law. It is immoral as coveting other’s property is sinful under the tenth Commandment. So for a Christian marriage dowry or gold or even manthrakodi is no condition. The boys who are Christians should learn the definition of marriage. It is not a commerce but Sacrament

  6. Thankapan vaidhyar

    What ever developed in society was good and will be good. Dowry also in same way. But Indians changed attitudes towards dowry, Indian boys started loose meanness. So patriarchal system in India is in crisis, not dowry. Many boys (cannot be called man) wait to marry to bye bike, car etc. From girls dowry.
    It is highly foolish to make mockery of great colleges. Research centres are to be freed to make comment on social issues in the intellectual circle(not in social media, who has less range to grasp the depth of the issues) Indians only ready to listen to uneducated politicians. What to do.

  7. A. S. Mathew

    The word ” dowry” is termed as an Hindu religious invention, but in reality we can read that word a few times in the book of Genesis. That vocabulary is connected with the issue of daughters. The 1st King of Israel Saul started having jealousy towards the GODLY appointed shepherd boy David as the 2nd King of Israel. Saul’s devious plans were many to get rid of David, but since GOD was with him, he became stronger.

    When the women began to sing ” Saul killed 1000 but David killed 10000, ten times honor which began to trigger hatred and retaliatory spirit in Saul. And so, Saul invented a killing plan with a dowry term. To marry her first daughter Mereb, the only dowry was 100 foreskin of the Philistines. David was in love with the 2nd daughter Michal, at the same offer, David made the deal. He got 200 foreskin of the Philistines, double dowry delivery.(I Samuel 18)

    In course of time, the money shared with the daughters ” dowry ” began to enter into a cycle of radical changes. Some parents, both father and mother are too adamant not to give hardly an even share of the wealth to the daughters; but to hand over to the sons because the sons will have to take care of them. Thus the pure selfish motives have grown as a traditional pattern of dowry giving. I know one family, the mother made dowry law half a century back ” only 20% of the wealth to four daughters and 80% to two sons. What kind of a discriminatory selfish ideology is that? If we are loving our daughters and sons equality, then the issue of sharing the wealth will be an impartial sharing, after the old parents having enough for a comfortable living until they die.

    Many of the very rich people of the U.S. are giving less money to their children not to spoil them; but giving away billions and millions for charities. Likewise, some of the very rich people in India will have to share a portion of their wealth to help the poor girls as dowry gift to give them a new life. There will be a divine blessing in that, the blessing falling upon their own children. The rich Christians of India will have to start that noble tradition, then other rich non-Christians will follow that.

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