12:00 AM, November 15, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 15, 2011

A welcome divorce

Girl responds to dowry demand on wedding day

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Staff Correspondent

Farzana Yasmin, who caused waves throughout the country last Friday by repudiating her husband right at the wedding after her in-laws demanded dowry, has said she wants everyone to take lessons from the incident.
“Dowry has become a cancer of society,” she told BBC Bangla Service yesterday. “I've read in newspapers about it and have always wondered why this happens.”
She called upon all to take note that girls can rise against this social menace.
“When it happened right before my eyes, something happened inside me. I felt like speaking up against it and doing something about it.”
Farzana, who recently completed her masters from Eden College, Dhaka, yesterday narrated to the BBC the details of the incident which occurred in Borguna on Friday.
“Everything was complete,” she said. “They were about to take me to the wedding car.”
She realised something was wrong while seated on the stage. “I tried to understand what it was. But as I was the bride I remained on the stage while people were taking photographs.”
Amidst the commotion, she heard her in-laws demanding “gifts”. “They said, 'Where are the gifts?' They didn't call it dowry.”
“My elder sister reacted, 'We are going to give you our girl; nothing else was promised',” said Farzana.
At one point, an aunt of her just-wed husband Shawkat Ali Khan came to her and said, “We are going to keep this girl hanging for five years. If we don't receive a TV and refrigerator, we won't take her home.”
Farzana said, “I was dumbfounded! I asked my husband, who sat beside me, 'What is this?'”
He replied, “My aunt's words are my words”.
“Aunt's words are your words? What is that supposed to mean? Then it's not possible for me to remain here,” she told her husband.
“I'd rather leave than stay with people who ask for dowry at a wedding.”
Farzana left the stage and changed back into her usual clothes. Her family members and neighbours rushed to her, asking her why she had done that.
“I explained everything to them, and asked them what decision I should take,” she told the BBC.
“I said I'd rather commit suicide than go with that man, that rogue of a man.”
Although her family members, friends and neighbours found it difficult to support her decision in the beginning, they later appreciated the move.
Farzana Yasmin will soon take legal steps to file for divorce.
“I have no regrets,” she told the BBC. “Maybe I haven't changed the lives of ten people, but I want people to take the lesson that girls can do something.”

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