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Nilambur, Kerala Dowry Free Village www.dowryfreevillage.com, www.dowryfreemarriage.com

A year back, residents of a Kerala village in Malappuram district took a pledge that they would neither ask for dowry in marriage nor give any. The villagers are now launching two websites on dowry-free marriages.

These websites have been created by Nilambur village which has a population of 50,000, of which 40 percent are Muslims. The rest are Hindus and Christians.

Heading the campaign is Nilambur village council president Aryadan Shoukat (son of veteran Congress legislator Aryadan Mohammed), who told IANS that the new websites would be launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in state capital Thiruvananthapuram next Monday.

The two websites are www.dowryfreevillage.com and www.dowryfreemarriage.com.

"According to a survey, there are more than 4,698 unmarried men and women in the village in the age group of 18 to 40. Of these, some 2,000 have registered with the websites so far. The registration is free," said Shoukat, who is also an award winning filmmaker.

Last year, in January, the village took a pledge in the presence of Congress leader Sachin Pilot that they will not give nor ask for dowry.

"Consequent to the pledge, the dowry taken and given which was close to 85 percent came down to 40 percent. Through these websites we expect to further bring down the percentage and eradicate this social evil," added Shoukat.

The idea started almost two years back when the council was conducting a survey to find out the number of people who had no house of their own.

They were surprised to find that 25 percent of those belonging to the lower strata of the society had no house of their own because they had to sell it to marry off their daughters.

This village became the first in the country almost two years back when the entire population successfully completed Class 4 education under the Kerala State Literacy Mission programme called Jyothirgamaya, aimed at spreading non-formal education in the state.
(News published under the licence from Indo Asian News Service)

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