Mus­lim Vil­lagers Say ‘No’ to Dowry

A coali­tion of Mus­lim lead­ers fights to end the so­cial evil

India Today - - STATES - By Amitabh Sri­vas­tava

Six­tyyear old Haji Mum­taz Ali re­lent­less cam­paign againts the un­law­ful but tra­di­tion prac­tice of dowry aong ru­ral Mus­lim fam­i­lies in north­ern Jharkhand is an in­spir­ing story. Ali, one a district level politi­cian in Plamu who ri­uns a small hand­loom weav­ing unit there , has cob­bled to­gether a coali­tion of mi­nor Mus­lim lead­er­si­mams, even qazis re­spon­si­ble for sol­em­niz­ing wed­dings- to dis­cour­ages dowry. Work­ing mostly via per­sua­sion and re­minders that via per­sua­sion and re­minders thar the prac­tice is againts r4eli­gious tenets the group of elders is hav­ing in­cred­i­ble suc­cess. Since they launched their cru­sade in April 2016, over 800 Mus­lim fam­i­lies in the area have come forward to atone and have even col­lec­tively re­turned nearly Rs 6 crore they had de­manded and re­cieved as dowry. Ali , who runs his busi­ness with his two sons sons says it was a trip to Mecca for Haj in 2008 that roused in him the de­sire to do some­thing about the un­ac­cept­able but wide­spread prac­tise. But it took him eight more years to bring to­gether the anti dowry coali­tion They fol­low a sim­ple drill. Lo­cal vil­lage com­mitt­ties con­sti­tuted by Ali and his col­leagues reach out to fam­i­lies of brides and grooms ex­plain­ing why it is wrong to ask for or get dowry. Fam­i­lies that ad­mit chance to re­turn it. Lo­cal qa­zls are they wont solem­mise nikaals whre dowry had been changed. On the day of the mar­rieage, Ali says the two fam­i­lies are asked to swear by the Holy Ko­ran that no dowry has been changed. "Many fam­i­lies ac­cepts their folly the mo­ments they reach the steps of the mosque" he says . De­tails of the dowry re­turned are duly en­tered in the vil­lage com­mi­tiee reg­is­ter. Although Ali coali­tion is ac­tive only among the ru­ral Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties in the Dal­ton­ganj, Late­har and Garh dis­tric, oth­ers have no­ticed their suc­cess. Palamu deputy com­mis­sioner Amit Ku­mar who at­tended an anti dowry con­ven­tion say the so­cial ini­tia­tive has shown ver­i­fi­ca­tion and tan­gi­ble re­sults. " I have asked so­cial lead­ers in other dis­tricks to try and em­u­late the cam­paign." Ku­mar told IN­DIA TO­DAY

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