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Dowry and Dowry Harassment in India: An Assessment Based on Modified Capitalist Patriarchy*

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

ABSTRACT Listen to the many women Listen to the many voices Spoken and unspoken1 On March 27, 1984, "The Times of India" reported that in Delhi, "a bride is burnt to death every twelve hours." 2 The number of dowry deaths has steadily increased in the 1980s and 1990s. Even though the official number of dowry deaths rose from 6,758 in 1996 to 7,543 in 1997,3 unofficial estimates of dowry deaths figure around a staggering 25,000 annually. 4 Classical socialist feminist traditions have inadequately addressed the widespread prevalence of this social practice. Drawing from primary and secondary sources, this article reconceptualizes and reframes the "legitimate" practice of dowry from a modified socialist feminist perspective. A modified capitalist patriarchal approach that includes caste and religion is necessary to expound the primacy of the phenomenon. As well, this critique suggests recommendations for social change. For: Through the eyes of women It is another way of seeing It is another way of knowing 5


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