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South Asia from the marginsEchoes of Orissa, 1800-2000$
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Biswamoy Pati

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086588

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086588.001.0001

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‘Living’ with dowry: oral testimonies of gender oppression*

‘Living’ with dowry: oral testimonies of gender oppression*

(p.159) 9 ‘Living’ with dowry: oral testimonies of gender oppression*
South Asia from the margins

Biswamoy Pati

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses on the problem of dowry to explore its present-day ramifications. It highlights a problem that is in sharp contrast to the ‘image’ of Orissan society being relatively free from violence and major conflicts, with communal riots (as exemplified in the case of Kandhamal) being explained as aberrations, that have been precipitated by fascist, right-wing politics. Tracing the problem of gender devaluation that had pre-colonial roots, it questions positions that see it as a problem related to increased agricultural productivity or prosperity. As delineated, the problems related to under-development and scarcity need to be borne in mind while discussing the phenomenon of dowry. As this chapter argues, while economic explanations can explain some aspects of the problem, they can be hopelessly inadequate in explaining the problem of dowry.

Keywords:   bride-price, corruption, Domestic Violence Bill (2001), dowry ‘demand’, ‘kerosene stove’ accidents, oral testimonies, patriarchy

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