I was aware of the widespread custom on dowries in Indian society, but wasn’t so aware of the violence which appears to be an integral part of the custom.
An article in CNN describes a new video game by an Indian matchmaking organization, Shaadi. The game is called Angry Brides and appears to be a lighthearted attempt to address a heavy matter. According to the article:
The game, produced by the Indian marriage site Shaadi.com, is a play on the extremely popular game “Angry Birds.” But instead of hurling birds across the screen, this time, you’re throwing household objects such as shoes and rolling pins at prospective grooms, with listed dowries starting at 1.5 million rupees (about $29,200). If you hit grooms just right, you’ll lower the amount and add it into your anti-dowry fund.
“The Angry Brides game is our way of throwing a spotlight on the nuisance of dowry,” Ram Bhamidi, senior vice president and head of online marketing for the site, wrote on its Facebook page.
The page, advertising the game, features what appears to be a Hindu goddess holding all of the tools you would need to strike your possible groom.
“A woman will give you strength, care and all the love you need … NOT dowry!” a caption under the image exclaims.
Not to play moral equivalence – since the fact that thousands of women are killed every year as a result of the practice puts it in another league of immorality altogether – but I think that anyone living in the West also knows that Western marriages are not always and not entirely free of financial considerations.
In his own inimitable style, here’s Trace Adkins satire on the subject:
Unfortunately, in India marrying for money isn’t innocuous, as the article emphasizes:
The group hopes that the viral nature of “Angry Birds” – and therefore, they hope, the parody – will draw attention to the dowry issue and the violence it can cause.
“According to a 2007 study … there is a dowry-related death every four hours in India,” Bhamidi wrote on the Facebook page. “We condemn this menace and have consistently run campaigns on social media to help create awareness of the issue.”
Kudos to Shaadi for tackling the issue, and I’d love to see Jewish matchmaking sites raise social consciousness about some of the destructive features of the community today, in particular the search for the perfect size 0 bride.