In the 21st Century we talk a lot about the broader perspective for India as it’s going to emerge as a super power in 2020, also with his firm stand on the basic grounds of ethics and culture values and Preservation of the same. But besides all this still the growing incidents of honour killing in different states, and now in the national capital, have proven that caste and its brutal ramifications are still prevalent in India. Many of us are unaware by the incidents.
But ever thought about those lives that had to suffer and go through these brutal rituals of our so called ‘Society’ who claim to decide the right and wrong for an individual.
Is it justified that a Father or the Relatives should kill their own siblings in the name of Honour and prestige in the society if a girl or a boy wants to marry with her own choice irrespective of caste, religion?
Honor killing can be defined as:
Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce — even from an abusive husband — or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonours” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.
The apparent "shame" could be caused by a victim refusing to enter into an arranged marriage or for having a relationship that the family considers to be inappropriate. Some victims are driven to suicide from the pressure of their families.
Honor killing is different from the dowry deaths that are also a very common practice in India as, in the case of dowry deaths, the perpetrators of that action claim that they have not been given enough material rewards for accepting the woman into the family. In that case there is a lot of harassment from the in-laws and more times than one, it has been noted that the wife commits suicide rather than being killed by the in-laws, though it has to be said that she has been mentally killed, if not physically. We have had a tradition of honor killing.
There are various reasons why people or family members decide to kill the daughter in the name of preserving their family honor. The most obvious reason for this practice to continue in India, albeit, at a much faster and almost daily basis, is because of the fact that the caste system continues to be at its rigid best and also because people from the rural areas refuse to change their attitude to marriage. According to them, if any daughter dares to disobey her parents on the issue of marriage and decides to marry a man of her wishes but from another gotra or outside her caste, it would bring disrepute to the family honor and hence they decide to give the ultimate sentence, that is death, to the daughter. Now as has become the norm, the son-in-law is killed as well. Sociologists believe that the reason why honor killings continue to take place is because of the continued rigidity of the caste system. Hence the fear of losing their caste status through which they gain many benefits makes them commit this heinous crime. The other reason why honor killings are taking place is because the mentality of people has not changed and they just cannot accept that marriages can take place in the same gotra or outside one’s caste. The root of the cause for the increase in the number of honor killings is because the formal governance has not been able to reach the rural areas and as a result. Thus, this practice continues though it should have been removed by now.
There are various misconceptions regarding the practice of honor killing. The first misconception about honor killing is that this is a practice that is limited to the rural areas. The truth is that it is spread over such a large geographical area that we cannot isolate honor killings to rural areas only, though one has to admit that majority of the killings take place in the rural areas. But it has also been seen recently that even the metropolitan cities like Delhi and Tamil Nadu are not safe from this crime because 5 honor killings were reported from Delhi and in Tamil Nadu; a daughter and son in law were killed due to marriage into the same gotra. So it can be seen clearly that honor killing is not isolated to rural areas but also to urban areas and as already pointed out, it has a very wide geographical spread. The second misconception regarding honor killing is that it has religious roots. Even if a woman commits adultery, there have to be four male witnesses with good behavior and reputation to validate the charge. Furthermore only the State can carry out judicial punishments, but never an individual vigilante. So, we can clearly see that there is no religious backing or religious roots for this heinous crime.
By Simran Gupta