| Nisha with her father at their Noida residence. Picture by Rajesh Kumar
New Delhi, May 14: Till three days ago, she was just another faceless bride stepping into a new life. But that was before she got her fiancé arrested on the day of her wedding after her would-be in-laws demanded dowry.
That was May 11. Today, Nisha Sharma, the girl from Noida, has become an icon for women in the capital.
She has been getting calls not only from the media but also from friends, relatives and non-government organisations for her decision to call off her marriage when most girls would have sobbed and cursed their fate.
Till that Sunday, everything had gone smoothly. The engagement had been done in style, invitation cards had been distributed and her family had done lavish shopping. Electronic gadgets like a Sony home theatre, a refrigerator and a Maruti Esteem had already been purchased as gifts. Even a pandal was in place.
But a couple of hours before the marriage ceremony, her world fell apart. Her in-laws to be wanted more — an extra kitty of Rs 12 lakh. When Nisha’s father dithered, they assaulted him. That made up her mind.
Nisha called up Noida police from her mobile and lodged a complaint of dowry harassment. Her fiancé Munish Dalal, a computer teacher, was picked up from his Vikaspuri residence in west Delhi and put behind bars. Munish’s mother Vidya is absconding.
“I was not afraid of what I was doing because I knew that it would boost my image if I took a stand against dowry demands,” Nisha, a third-year student of software engineering, said.
Women’s organisations and public figures, ready to publicise a case that can send a message stronger and louder than any anti-dowry lecture, are queuing up to invite her.
Today, it was the turn of the National Commission for Women. The commission wants to invite Nisha to participate in its anti-dowry programmes, spokesperson Romi Sharma said.
In a letter, the commission described her as a role model for the younger generation, while Sharma said the country needs girls like Nisha.
Earlier, parliamentarian and social activist Sunil Dutt called on her at her F-109 residence in Noida’s Sector 56 to congratulate her and say she could contact him whenever she needed to.
The diminutive-looking girl has had visitors from Nari Raksha Samiti and Delhi Pradesh Panthers Party, which, according to the Sharmas, said they wanted to felicitate her at a public function.
Joint commissioner of Delhi police (crime against women cell) Vimla Mehra said this incident would go a long way in fighting the dowry menace.
For the moment, Nisha is concentrating on her final examinations, which begin on May 17. But the bitter experience has not made her averse to marriage. “If my parents find a suitable match, I will certainly marry because not all people are bad and dowry hungry,” she says.