What is likely to happen when a groom in India tells his prospective in-laws well in advance that he is not ready to accept any dowry?
Generally, the amount of gold the bride wears on the wedding day is greater than usual. Or a bank account is opened in the groom's name and the sum is put in secretly. Even otherwise, a car is often handed to him - not as dowry but just as a gratuitous 'gift.'
Suryakanta Barik, a 30-year-old English teacher from West Bengal's East Midnapore, was also handed a similar gift by his bride's family after he informed them of his disagreement with the concept of dowry.
However, instead of insulting the young man's principles by presenting him anything in gold or cash, the family appreciated his progressive thinking.
How? To his great surprise, Suryakanta was greeted with a thousand books on his special day, and the English teacher, who is a voracious reader, was obviously happy.
The gift included books on Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita, besides the complete works of Rabindranath Tagore and the Harry Potter series. They were shipped to Midnapore from a location around 150 km away, The Telegraph reported.
The bride Priyanka Bej, who is a book lover herself, told media that she is very happy to have a husband who shares her hatred for dowry.
“I want to build a small library at my home that will be accessible to my neighbours too," an excited Suryakanta was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
Giving and accepting dowry is punishable in India under the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. However, it is an enormously popular custom across all castes and communities.
Let's hope our country has more such brides and grooms in the days to come.