What's the best way to draw attention to a big issue in India? Make fun of it and hope the youth catch on, thereby promoting the cause. This is exactly what this mobile and Facebook app aims to do. Taking on the dowry system prevalent in our country as well as ‘match-making aunties’, Tanul Thakur's Dowry Calculator has become a rage among netizens. Released on May 6 this year, it has garnered much support online with half a million hits so far.
“I could have written a serious blog-post lambasting the dowry system but it would have been read by a total of 10 people. So, I decided to comment through a format which had not been tried before,” says Thakur, an electrical engineer, who later got to know that the release of the website coincided with the marriage season in India.
The app calculates a groom’s dowry amount based on different parameters such as his age, salary, profession, skin colour etc. Thakur spent a good amount of time researching different castes and the dowry market of the country. The idea was not to map the real-life story about dowry, but to transcend it by going intentionally over-the-top. “The drop-down options on the app are tongue in-cheek comments on things that in-laws obsess over while searching for their daughter’s groom,” says Thakur.
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Close to 67,000 people have shared it on Facebook and more than 1,000 people have re-tweeted it on Twitter. Thakur says, "I think the idea clicked with everyone in a major way, because instead of preaching, Dowry Calculator satires the problem in a unique whimsical manner."