Bride price implies selling women into marriage without their consent. The payment of bride-price gives a man total ownership of the woman and over all her children, whether he fathers them or not. If he wishes, he may re-sell both his wife and her children; when he dies she is inherited by his heir and must become his wife, unless the heir chooses to sell her to another man.
In India, this practice used to be restricted to the upper class. Even though it was made illegal in the 1960's, it has become more widespread under pressures of rising consumerism. The dowry may amount to fifteen years' salary of a villager.
A dowry is a curse; it destroys family after family who have to find the money to arrange the marriage of a daughter. As a result, a daughter becomes a family liability. The moment she is born, the family looks upon the daughter as a kind of punishment. Throughout her life the daughter lives in a very apologetic way. "Sorry I was born to be a daughter. I wish I was not born."
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