A dowry (also known as trousseau or tocher) is the money, goods, or estate that is given to a woman at the time of her marriage. A dowry creates a fund for her support in case her husband dies. The dowry eventually goes to her sons and daughters of this marriage. At times a dowry was required to validate a marriage.
Dowry started as gifts that were handed out to the bride at the time of marriage to make her stay at in-laws place more comfortable. It has hence taken an ugly turn, many parts of India still have a high incidence of dowry demands. Some states with a very poor reputation with regards to dowry are - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu. This is a sad reality in Indian marriages and has gone unchecked.
- Michael MacMahon Sheehan, Marriage, family and law in medieval Europe: collected studies (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), p. 16 & n. 1