Controversial Dowry System is the Theme of New Jersey Author's Debut Novel, "The Dowry Bride"

Indian American author uses India's dowry system to spin her tale, "The Dowry Bride"

Mercer County, NJ, August 17, 2007 --( Is contemporary India still plagued by an archaic dowry system despite its modernization? "The Dowry Bride," Indian-American author, Shobhan Bantwal’s debut novel, takes us into a world where the ancient tradition of dowry continues to thrive. The book is scheduled for release by Kensington Publishing on August 28, 2007.

More than 40 years after the controversial dowry system was banned in India with the passage of the Dowry Prohibition Act, many Indian women still die or suffer serious injuries every year because of dowry-related abuse.

Bantwal’s tale touches on the corrupt and often covert practice of dowry – a centuries-old tradition in which a bride’s parents give cash, gifts and sometimes real estate to the groom and his family. Her book tells the action-packed and emotional story of Megha, a young woman trapped in India’s arranged marriage and dowry system. When she overhears her husband and mother-in-law plotting to kill her, Megha escapes and embarks on a rocky journey to save herself. Despite the hurdles, she ultimately finds freedom, hope and a rare chance for happiness.

To quote Bantwal about what inspired the book, “After reading about the gruesome fate suffered by thousands of Indian women each year I felt compelled to write about a just such a woman. But I also wanted the story to be one of hope and triumph and the resilience of the human spirit.” However, she maintains that dowry abuse is not the norm in Indian marriages. “The instances are quite rare when juxtaposed against India’s vast population, but the fact remains that it continues to occur in this day and age.”

Bantwal weaves the universal themes of betrayal, love and courage into the story while bringing to light the contradictions of a culture that is both modern and quaintly old-fashioned, a society where women can aspire to the highest elected office and yet be plagued by the dark shadow of domestic abuse.

Many of the cultural elements come from the author’s observations and personal experiences from growing up in a small town in India. Bantwal herself is in the 34th year of an arranged marriage, a topic she regularly writes and speaks about. “I enjoy sharing a part of my Indian culture with my fellow Americans through my writing,” says the author.

Bantwal plans to conduct drawings and award prizes or “Dowry Bags” containing a signed copy of her book and novelty gift items. Similar drawings or contests will be done periodically through her web site, The site also contains her book excerpt, short stories, articles, author events, recipes, guest book, and photographs.

To schedule an interview or for further information, please contact Shobhan Bantwal at the phone number or e-mail address indicated below.

Shobhan Bantwal
(609) 259-9433
Call evenings bet 6 pm & 9 pm