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Honour Killings… and they justify it!

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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.

You must be to comment.
  1. Chaitanya

    Brilliantly written…
    but well i think it is the social setup and strucure which is to be blamed… and a change cannot be brought in d setup over one night ….. so i would say that psychological rehab fr the criminals would be the best option which could be taken immediately followed by awareness programmes for the society….
    they need to be made aware that caste is jst a stratification to sow the seeds of division among us….

  2. radhika dogra

    well said… this chauvinist society, no one gives enuf importance to practicality n humanism…. all they knw is to get their whims fulfilled in the name of tradition…. who will tell them that tradition is smthing u preach willfully nt smthng wich is imposed on u…..
    its an awsme insight to reality………

  3. Radhika

    Whats most disturbing is that the Govt turn a blind eye when these crimes are committed. They think the path to development is by developing the modern :metro’s: alone, and leaving the villages in the dark.
    They don;t understand that development is needed most in the states where the state of the villagers has not improved and risen aboive this.
    Hopefully with the new movement towards pan india education, there will be change.
    The problem is how long will that take, and whether it will be too late?

  4. Mimansa

    The arguements presented are commendable!
    Honour killings are part of the backlog created by social evils,customs and beliefs that we need to fight to take india ahead. Shameful as it remains, on our part,we need to take a stand against it.
    To be the change the we want to see – thats what we must do.
    And that is what we will do.

  5. YATIN

    Brilliantly written by the Author !!Nice setup used for the example !!

    The Topic indulges with a evil in the society.The Society as we know changes with every km stretch as we move across the country.So change cant be brought by the government itself.The need is ours so the efforts should also be brought about by ourselves only.
    We must all try to change ourselves as well as the people around ourselves, only this can make the country excel and make it a better place to live.

    Go clean your Homes and one day The country will also be cleansed.

  6. Gopika

    Very well written article….
    Honour killings have been going on for a long time without the government doing anything.And why would the government do anything, because this punishment given to the people is being given by the panchayats, one of their own setups.This has to be stopped…..
    The saddest thing of all this is the importance that is being given to old practices than following the religion of humanity.This conservatism has to be removed from the society then only can the reforms be implemented.
    But change doesn’t come in one day.So,writing articles, blogs comes as a first step to bring about the change.

  7. mamta

    hi nupur
    yes -the so called respectable people of our country should realize that youngesters are not always wrong
    the main reason behind this gap in thinking is due to two main reasons–
    one is the lack of communication between the children and their parents and
    second is the thinking of the parents that they are always right—
    honour killing goes a long back way
    and we need people like you to convey the message to the society
    a great topic—and a good job
    keep it up

  8. SUKKU

    I AGREE.THESE SO-CALLED EXPERIENCE HOLDERS OF SOCIETY CAN GO TO ANY EXTENT IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THEIR DIGNITY IN THE SOCIETY.BUT I WISH TO ASK THEM THAT WHAT EXAMPLES THEY ARE PUTTING BEFORE SOCIETY?

  9. akshay

    Your write up surely covers all the aspects but then you missed a point here. The actual reason for honour killings is the people in the society itself. If someone in a family marries outside the caste or in same gotra its the family which is looked down upon, so its that pressure which drives them to commit this act. Honour killing is related to illetracy for sure but its been rampant in the metros too, the reason is that pride prevails over wishes of their children. I in no way support the honour killings or the khap panchayat but i somehow too think that its not socially approived to marry in the same caste because as science has it leads to biological problems and as tradition speaks it amounts to incest. And to be honest marrying within the caste is an exception rather than the rule. We surely need to get together and stop this menance but for that this vote bank politics has to end.

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