Saturday 28 January 2023 \


Anti-dowry drive: Thousands of Indian Muslims return millions to bride families

Haji Mumtaz Ali addressing anti-dowry campaign in India’s Jharkhand state. (Supplied)
A man in India has launched a massive campaign against dowry, one of the biggest social evils claiming hundreds of lives every year in the country. Such is the impact of the campaign that close to 1,000 Muslim families have now returned dowry to the bride families, expressing regret over their conduct in public and vowing not to repeat it in future.
The credit to this unique campaign straightway goes to Haji Mumtaz Ali who has launched the campaign in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. The success of the campaign is underlined from the fact that villages after villages are joining it every day, openly taking an oath not to accept dowry in future.
Initially, the campaign was started in Palamu district but now it has gone beyond its boundary and spread to several others districts as well. But what’s further fascinating about it is that the campaign is not limited to any particular community only as the Hindus too have lent a wholehearted support to this campaign, joining the anti-dowry rallies in large numbers.
“I am happy to inform you that what started as a silent campaign against this social evil two years back has now turned out to be the mass movement. Now it’s not limited to any particular area or the community only but Hindus too are joining us in large numbers,” said Ali who happens to be the brainchild of the campaign.
Rs 60 million returned
The peak of the campaign was when the Muslim villagers began returning dowries years after they had taken them at the time of their son’s wedding. According to Ali, close to 1,000 Muslim families have returned dowries worth Rs 60 million to the brides’ families so far, impressed by his appeals to give up dowry.
One of them was Nizamuddin Ansari who returned Rs 40,000 to the bride families. “I regret about taking dowry from my daughter-in-law’s families but feel proud to return it now,” Ansari told an anti-dowry meeting held in Palamu recently.
However, the campaign didn’t reach at this level all of a sudden. Ali had to work hard, day and nights for months during which he held more than 100 such meetings and rallies in entire Palamu division to convince his community members not to take dowry, braving sweltering heat and chilling winter.

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