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May 31, 2024

Anupam Mittal’s ‘Dowry Calculator’ Raises Eyebrows but Reveals a Powerful Twist

Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal grabbed headlines on Thursday with an Instagram post that initially seemed to promote dowry, the controversial practice where a bride’s family gives gifts to the groom. Mittal introduced what appeared to be a new feature on the Shaadi.com website: an artificial intelligence-based dowry calculator.

In the video, Mittal explained that his team had “simplified the process to calculate dowry” through this new tool. “Earlier it was easy to calculate dowry based on whether one owned a car, house, or had a significant bank balance,” Mittal said. However, he added that modern dowry calculations have become more complex, considering various factors such as investments, political beliefs, vacation preferences, the iPhone versus Android debate, and startup equity.

Mittal announced that his team had integrated AI, machine learning, and ChatGPT to create “DowrAI,” a system designed to simplify the dowry calculation process. Users were shown how to input details like age, profession, and monthly salary to determine “how much dowry they are worth.”

The video quickly went viral, garnering over 70,000 likes and sparking significant controversy. Many people criticized Mittal and Shaadi.com for seemingly promoting dowry, a practice that leads to thousands of deaths each year in India. Critics argued that such a feature, even if intended as a joke, was in poor taste and could perpetuate harmful traditions.

However, the apparent promotion of dowry turned out to be a cleverly disguised anti-dowry campaign. When users clicked the button to calculate their dowry worth, they were instead presented with sobering statistics about dowry-related deaths. The site revealed that 187,879 dowry-related deaths were reported in India over the past decade.

“Before calculating your worth, ask yourself what is her life worth? Let’s do away with dowry. Be a part of the change now,” read the message on the website. This twist aimed to shock users and raise awareness about the deadly consequences of the dowry system.

Following this revelation, many praised Mittal’s initiative for its innovative approach to promoting gender equality and fighting against dowry. Comments on Mittal’s post reflected this change in sentiment, with one user writing, “Had us in the first half, not gonna lie.”

The act of giving or receiving dowry is illegal under the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, yet the practice remains entrenched in society due to deep-rooted gender biases. The National Crime Records Bureau reported 6,450 dowry deaths in 2022 alone, highlighting the ongoing severity of the issue.

Mittal’s DowrAI campaign serves as a reminder of the persistent problem of dowry in India and the need for innovative methods to combat it. By using AI and viral marketing tactics, Mittal has managed to bring a critical social issue to the forefront of public consciousness, encouraging people to reflect on the real cost of dowry and join the fight against it.

Read more latest news related news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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