Tue, Jan 17, 2012 - Page 5 News List

‘Angry Brides’ takes aim at Indian dowry demands

Reuters, NEW DELHI

Anger at the practice of demanding dowries, which can lead to violence against brides, has prompted a takeoff of Angry Birds called Angry Brides that aims to highlight the illegal practice still prevalent in many South Asian countries.

Dowries — such as jewelery, clothes, cars and money — are traditionally given by the bride’s family to the groom and his parents to ensure she is taken care of in her new home.

The custom was outlawed more than five decades ago. However, it is still widely practiced, with the groom’s family demanding even more money after marriage, leading to mental and physical harassment that can drive the woman to suicide.

In the worst cases, she might be murdered by her husband and his family, often in so-called “stove burnings” where she is doused in kerosene and set on fire.

“The Angry Brides game is our way of throwing a spotlight on the nuisance of dowry,” said Ram Bhamidi, senior vice president and head of online marketing for Shaadi.com, a matrimonial Web site with 2 million members. “According to a 2007 study ... there is a dowry-related death every four hours in India. We condemn this menace and have consistently run campaigns on social media to help create awareness of the issue.”

The name of the app, available on the group’s home page is a spinoff from the globally popular Angry Birds game. Its home page shows a red-clad, eight-armed woman resembling a powerful female Hindu goddess.

Underneath, there is a caption: “A woman will give you strength, care and all the love you need ... NOT dowry!”

To play the game, users have to try and hit three dodging grooms — a pilot, builder and doctor. There is a wide array of weapons to choose from, including a stiletto shoe, a frying pan, broomstick, tomato and loafer.

Each groom has a price tag, starting at 1.5 million rupees (US$29,165). Every time the player hits a groom, his value decreases and money is added to the player’s Anti-Dowry Fund, which is posted on their Facebook page.

According to latest figures from the Indian National Crime Records Bureau, there were 8,391 cases of dowry-related deaths in the country and 90,000 cases of torture and cruelty toward women by their husbands or family in 2010.

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