Honour Killings… and they justify it!

Posted on April 4, 2010 in Society

Nupur Dogra:

“They punched and kicked her stomach as she called out for her husband ‘Raj’ ”, 21yr old Raj kumar, when he came, both were dragged into waiting cars, driven away and strangled. Their bodies, half-stripped, were laid outside Rimpi’s father’s house for all to see, a sign that the family’s “Honour” has been restored by her cold blooded murder”.

Rimpi and Rajkumar lived in a village of a northern state; they were killed brutally by their own clan people. Their fault was just that they loved each other and unfortunately they dreamt of spending their lives together. They forgot that they lived in a society which respects old medieval beliefs more than the life of a fellow human being. In fact, they forgot to conduct a full fledged research on each others caste and community before falling in love with each other. They were wrong because they forgot that they lived in a society of insensitive and psychopathic people, who placed pride and ego over life. “I fell in love with Raj as a person and not as a name”. said Rimpi lying half dead on the ground, to her parents.

They begged, pleaded, shouted, fought and did everything possible to save their lives from these insane people; but every effort was in vain. No one listened to them. They were beaten to death by their own family members.

An honour killing, also called customary killing, is the murder of a family or a clan member by one or more fellow family or clan members, where the murderers (and potentially the wider community) believes the victim to have brought dishonor upon the family, clan or community. These killings result from the perception that defending honor justifies the killing of a person whose behavior dishonors their clan or family. They believe that by committing this inhuman act they have removed the stain from their apparently “spotless” previous record of so called honour, and have set an example for everyone to look at and follow.

Men and women are still murdered across the villages of north Indian states for daring to marry outside their caste. These societies are deeply patriarchal, where caste purity is paramount and marriages are arranged to sustain a status quo. Anyone who transgresses these social codes, by marrying across caste boundaries or within the same village is liable to meet the same fate as Rimpi and Rajkumar. Many such cases remain unheard of or unreported.

One of the main reasons for the continuation of such evil practices in India is widespread illiteracy and lack of education in society. People are not completely aware of their rights and duties, and, therefore, tend to get suppressed by the powerful force of the society that they exist in. Due to illiteracy people are more superstitious and are generally more concerned about their pride and honour rather than the happiness of their own children.

Huge caste based discriminations and stratification of the society is another reason for practice of such practices. More importance is given to a person’s ascribed status rather than his achieved status. This caste system exists in the very roots of our society. Another reason is the ignorance of our political leaders, to secure their “Vote banks”.

Some also believe that the insecurity in the minds of the mail chauvinist members of the clan which is caused by the legalization of property rights for women in 1956. They prefer marrying their daughters off to a place out of their village, which is farther off. They try to envelop their insecurity by the cloak of tradition. And this practice is given the name of honour to sham their own insecurities.

Justification for such insane acts is given that a girl and a boy belonging to same clan cannot marry. But the concept or the motive behind this ancestral law is not clear to its blind followers.

It is biologically proven that if the people who are blood relatives, engage in a sexual relationship, or try to reproduce, the chances are that the child born to them “MAY” have some genetical disorder due to defected mutation of genes. But, it is not necessary that this will happen. It is a rather rare possibility. It does become clear that our ancestors wanted a longer and a healthier life for us. They wished for our survival and not for our brutal killings. They wanted our happiness even if it meant short-lived lives. This whole concept has been misunderstood by its followers of this barbaric act.

Honour killing can never be justified.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.