Maneka Gandhi, the Union Women and Child Development Minister, has written to the Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, requesting him to block a website that claims it calculates the prospective amount of dowry a groom will be eligible for.
Asking for immediate action, Maneka Gandhi has asked the IT Minister to block the website and also take action against its developers and founders.
The website in question asks users to fill in various categories such as age, profession, monthly income, caste, skin colour and so on, and then goes on to calculate the amount of dowry that the groom can ask for.
Asking or accepting dowry is an act that is punishable by law in India under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961. The website not only openly claims to calculate the amount of dowry, it also has the audacity to name it in such a way that clearly advertises the fact that it is meant to calculate dowry.
In case you happen to visit the website, the first lines on the website that you will notice are actually part of a dedication that goes as “Dedicated to all the match making aunties of India.” The creators seem to have taken it a tad ahead and given the groom’s family the option of immediately calculating how much their son is worth.
On the one hand we have people developing tools to better our health and bring about more technological advancement in day to day lives, and women who are sitting in top positions and doing a great job of it. And on the other hand, we have people who are still helping you figure out how much you are worth and giving you a false sense of being ‘manly.’
What next? A website that helps you calculate how much work the woman should do at home, how she should go back to the now-hopefully-extinct custom of killing herself on her husband’s pyre, how big a red dot and how thick a mangalsutra she should wear to prove she is married, and what time she should enter the house to give herself the right to be called a good wife?