Part memoir, part documentation of a twenty-five-year battle against dowry
When Hardeep Kaur screamed for help, the entire neighbourhood rushed out of their homes, but only to watch in mute horror as the young mother was burnt alive in her in-laws' house. When the case came up in court, only one person, Subhadra Butalla, testified, while the others refused in the interests of maintaining ‘good neighbourly, relations'.
Thus began Subhadra's crusade against dowry. In The Gift of a Daughter, she re cords her struggle against dowry–of how she and her team set up short-stay homes for the victims and gave them and their families emotional support and legal advice, organized protests and street plays to increase awareness, and fought the corruption in the police force and the state administration. While recounting the stories of the victims, Subhadra comments on the system of marriage in India and the
indignities women are subjected to, the tragedy of parents waking up too late to the danger their daughters are in, the-compulsions that force them to forget the dead and focus on the living, and the inadequacy of the Dowry Prevention Act.
An informed and unsparing examination of just how widespread and well entrenched the custom of dowry is, The Gift of a Daughter is an account of a long battle that has made a small but significant difference.