Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday began day-long fasting at his official residence Raj Bhavan against dowry and atrocities against women to raise awareness on the injustice of the practice.
The governor started the fast from 8 am and will continue till 6 pm today, as per sources in Raj Bhavan.
This may be the first time in Kerala’s history that a Governor is fasting for such a social cause.
The fasting protest campaign was initiated by various Gandhian organizations such as Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi with the aim to create awareness against the practice of giving and taking dowry as part of marriage unions. At Gandhi Bhavan, several Gandhians are also observing the dawn-to-dusk fast.
The Gandhian organizations said their programme aims to end atrocities against women and to address the need to make Kerala a safer place.
Khan will also attend a prayer meeting at the Gandhi Bhavan later in the evening before ending his fast.
Moreover, in a video message issued on Tuesday evening, the governor said that dowry is a “grave injustice and ignominy to the dignity of women”.
“Our beloved state of Kerala was in the news recently for a tragic death due to dowry. It is sad that this spectre of dowry continues to raise its ugly head in our state which has been globally acclaimed for its social indicators including literacy and life expectancy,” he said.
“Mahatma Gandhi said that any young man who makes dowry a condition for marriage discredits his education and country and dishonors womanhood. The Sthreepaksha Keralam initiative of the state government emphasizes the need to ensure dignity of women by saying no to dowry and related practices,” Khan continued.
Finally, he said that taking and giving dowry are criminal offences with the punishment of imprisonment up to five years.
“Let us make Kerala a true ‘God’s own land’ where boys and girls come forward to say no to marriages which involves dowry,” he said. He also acknowledged the contribution of women to the state’s growth.
Last month, Khan had appealed to women to say no to dowry when it was demanded from them. He had also expressed willingness to be part of an organized voluntary movement to create awareness against the practice.