“Anti-Dowry.”

Shaadi.com, India’s premier online matrimonial site, has launched a controversial new “Dowry Calculator”.

Spearheaded by founder Anupam Mittal, this initiative is designed to highlight the grim reality of dowry-related deaths in India. Initially introduced as a tool to calculate a bride’s “worth”, the Dowry Calculator asks users questions about the lifestyle preferences and financial status. However, instead of providing the dowry amount, the Calculator instead delivers a shocking statistic: over 1.8 lakh dowry-related deaths have been reported in India over the past two decades. The unexpected twist is intended to provoke outrage and stimulate conversation and change around this regressive practise.

Shaadi.com delivers an equally groundbreaking message on its website, which reads: “Before calculating your worth, ask yourself what is her life worth? Let’s do away with Dowry. Be a part of the change now.”

 

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“Shaadi.org believes that a marriage should be built on trust, mutual respect and love, definitely not on the amount of money that a woman can bring into a marriage,” the site said.

Anupam Mittal’s announcement of the “Dowry Calculator” has provoked mixed reactions on social media. Many criticized Shaadi.com’s founder, accusing him of promoting dowry. One Instagram user questioned, “Why promote dowry? Are you serious?” Anupam Mittal responded by saying, “Yes, coz it’s a very serious issue,” accompanied by a winking face emoji.

Others have defended him against the backlash and appreciated his bold initiative. “Had me for a second glad we’re talking about this. It’s real, it’s scary and it needs change,” a user wrote.

However, some have pointed out that while the “Dowry Calculator” initiative may have had good intentions, even illusionary dowry endorsement may be harmful and inappropriate, making light of a very sensitive topic. Several users pointed out that although it was a clever marketing move with the right goals, it has the potential to trivialize a sensitive issue and should have been approached with more tact.