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Of drought, dowry and funerals in Maharashtra’s parched Latur and Nanded

 Shashikant Patil & Satish Mohite


Latur girl ends life as she didn’t want her family to sell only land to pay dowry

By Shashikant Patil

Mumbai: An 18-year-old Latur girl’s suicide has revealed how drought has crippled the lives in the rural parts of Maharashtra. The girl, allegedly upset over her father’s plan to sell off their only piece of land to arrange for her dowry, ended her life by hanging with her dupatta at her home on Wednesday afternoon. The police recovered a suicide note from her residence.

Mohini Pandurang Bhise, daughter of a farmer, too had her dreams of getting happily married like any village girl. Her parents too, in the last few months, were searching a groom for her. However, this year’s drought shattered the family’s hopes.

According to Pandurang Bhise, Mohini’s father, “every time we thought that things are finally falling in place and Mohini would soon get married, we would get a wishlist from the groom’s family.” He added, “My only possession is a one-acre farm land, which yielded nothing this year due to the drought. I am now working as a collection agent for a bank to make ends meet. How can anyone expect dowry from me. So the proposals got rejected.”

On Wednesday morning, Bhise was in discussion with his wife Kuntabai on ways to arrange money for dowry, when he suggested to sell off the land. “Mohini, we suspect, overheard the conversation,” said Navnath Bhise, a relative.

Concerned over her family having to suffer because of her, Mohini took her life on Wednesday afternoon, when her parents were away for work. “We came to know of it when we returned in the evening. We entered the house only to see our girl hanging on her dupatta,” said an inconsolable Bhise. “She left a suicide note, asking me not to sell the land. She also mentioned that dowry is a social evil and must be stopped,” said Bhise.


By Satish Mohite

Mumbai: Inability to raise dowry money for his sister forced a 20-year-old to allegedly end life by jumping into the community well in Nanded on Monday. The deceased, Satish Madhavrao Kadam, alike his family members, was a farmer and under pressure to raise additional Rs 2 lakh to be given to his elder sister’s fiancé’s family.

Kadam’s elder sister Sheetal Kadam had got engaged in May last year to one Gopinath Kadam from a nearby village. The groom’s family at the time of engagement had demanded a dowry of Rs 3.5 lakh. “We had fixed the wedding with Gopinath and had also given them Rs 3.5 lakh as dowry. However, a few days ago, when we went to their home to finalise the date of marriage they demanded Rs 2 lakh more,” said Madhavrao Kadam, Satish’s father, adding that the family owns four acres of land, but due to the drought were leading a hand-to-mouth existence.

On Monday, Satish was allegedly called by Gopinath’s uncle to his farm. The latter threatened that the marriage will have to be called off if Satish’s family is unable to raise the money. “Satish had come home that day and informed us about groom’s uncle’s demand. He was visibly under stress and told us that he feared the worst,” said Madhavrao.

Satish, who left his room in a hurry, later jumped into the community well. Himat Nagar police have booked Gopinath, his father, mother and his uncle on charges of abetment to suicide and have launched a manhunt for them.

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