In recent years, social media has become a platform for bringing some real social changes. Dowry is one of the issues plaguing the Indian mindsets even today and to help rid the society of this, youngsters in Karnataka decided to take the help of social media. Using WhatsApp, a group of eight youngsters from Mangaluru not only initiated the conversations against dowry but have also been able to successfully bring together couples without the exchange of dowry.
These youngters, who are virtually connected through the WhatsApp group, started the social revolution in Dakshina Kannada district. As the New Indian Express reports, owing to the increased number of suicides and women above 30 years of age remaining unmarried in a particular community, the group of youngsters created a discussion group in February 2017. A month later, they created a WhatsApp group called ‘Dowry Free Nikah’.
Until today, the group has reportedly been able to successfully bring together 75 coupled without any involvement of a broker or dowry exchange. The group essentially works like a matchmaking community where singles looking for a suitable match are required to send in their details to the group administrators. After the verification of details, they agree to follow the rules set by the administrators and then candidates are accepted as members.
Details of potential brides and grooms are then shared with members of the WhatsApp group for matchmaking. The group does not ask for the skin complexion, nor does any message against a specific caste or group is apparently exchanged on the group.
“We haven’t yet met together as a team, but we are united by a purpose. We strive to ensure that no family in our community suffers due to the evil dowry practice. Most of our team members are writers and we all got connected on a different social media group after a poverty-stricken family committed suicide in our village. Over a period of time, we formed a group of our own to discuss the issues plaguing the region, and ultimately ‘Dowry Free Nikah’ group was formed,” creator of the group Zaheer Shantinagar is quoted as saying in the report. “Besides dowry, if a broker is involved in the matchmaking, the bride’s family has to shell out extra Rs 40,000,” he adds.
Watch: WhatsApp features in 2017
The WhatsApp group now has members from across Karnataka. “The increasing number of people joining the group hints at a positive social change,” administrator of one of the five groups Riyaz Farangipet is quoted as saying. “The anti-dowry programme is being taken to all jamats. There is no Shia-Sunni division either,” says Zaheer.
It is one of the instances where social media has been able to bring about some positive change in the society. Often we share scores of messages which range from fun to futile, but such initiatives suggest how important a role can technology play when it goes into the right hands.