Every year, 1 in 5 honour killings in the world is from India. In our 21st-century ‘developing’ country, shackles of caste stop young people from choosing whom they can and cannot love, whom they can and cannot be with. In Haryana especially, Khap Panchayats are still relevant and very much in existence, with gruesome stories often being reported. Young couples have been found murdered, even hung on trees, for daring to fall in love outside of their caste or within the same ‘gotra’, and ‘tarnishing’ their community’s ‘honour’. No one can forget the gory Manoj-Babli honour killing case where a young married couple was kidnapped and murdered in 2007, by member’s of the bride’s family, as ordered by a Khap Panchayat.
“[Khaps] maintain the long-term patriarchal system, pursue personal interests and continue exploiting minorities like women and Dalits,” says Jagmati Sangwan, a fierce activist who has been battling the Khaps for years now. Taking hers and the fight of many others ahead, comes ‘Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan’, a bold and powerful documentary that shows just how uncomfortable patriarchal India is with a woman who ‘crosses the line’. It features stories of women who dared to resist the Khaps, and exposes the hypocrisy of modern-day India, where a woman is bound by stifling traditions and grounded in this land of ‘honour’, just for choosing to make her own decisions.