With its bias in favour of innovation the internet is the enemy of tradition. But some traditions do not deserve to survive. One of them is the Indian dowry custom that persists, despite the fact that it is illegal, and leads to much bitterness in marriages, and even deaths — especially among the poor.
So this time it’s internet to the rescue. Indian dating website shaadi.com has produced an online game called “Angry Brides” — inspired by the popular “Angry Birds” game — which allows players to attack prospective grooms greedy for dowry with a variety of weapons, from a brick-red stiletto to a broomstick. The game, available as a free application on Facebook, has already attracted more than 272,000 “likes”, says the Telegraph:
“Shaadi.com has always believed that marriage is an institution of love, where there is a place for togetherness, mutual understanding, family values and emotional support but not for dowry!” it said in a statement.
Although the greedy grooms are represented by professional men, the dowry system seems to affect all levels of Indian society. But, since even the poor in India seem to have access to digital media, this may just help to raise consciousness amongst those most victimised by the system. It really is a serious issue:
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau in 2010, 8,391 women died in dowry-related deaths, and 44 per cent of all crimes against women in the country were carried out by their husbands and relatives.