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If I am not wrong, it all started during the British raj with a law that prohibited women to own land and property. Thats what made dowry a problem. Otherwise dowry for all the reasons you mentioned and more, has been a part of Indian society from ages. Now that that particular law doesn’t exist anymore, the damage caused by it does. In my limited understanding, the problem is when the bridegroom or the in-laws demand the dowry.

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