by Anisha Suvarna
A certain article caught my attention a week ago. The article was about honour killings, of how a young girl in Haryana was killed along with her lover by her own family members. After I read that I began reading more articles on the issue and was horrified. I came to realise that most people will do almost anything to preserve their family honour, even kill their own daughter in the name of it. The most obvious reason for this practice to continue in India for so long and almost on a daily basis is because of the fact that the caste system continues to be at its rigid best. It is also because people from the rural areas refuse to change their attitude towards marriage. According to them, if their daughter dares to marry a man of her wishes much against her parents’ will and who is not from her gotra or outside her caste, they consider it to dishonour to the family in the society and hence they decide to give the ultimate sentence, that is death, to the daughter or even the son. The fear of losing their caste status through which they gain many benefits makes them commit this heinous crime.
The other reason for these killings I feel are because the mentality of people has just not changed and they just cannot accept that marriages can take place in the same gotra or outside one’s caste or even on one’s own wishes. It always has to be decided by the elders in the family. The youngsters have no say in the matter whatsoever which is not fair since they are the ones who are going to live with the ones they are married to. One of the main reasons, according to me, for the increase in the number of honour killings is because the formal governance has not been able to reach the rural areas and as a result. The judiciary is not within the reach of these people. Thus, these practices continue though it should have been removed by now.
However, there are various misconceptions regarding the practice of honour killing. The first misconception about honour killing is that it is prevalent only in the rural areas. The truth is that it is prevalent in the metropolitan cities like Delhi and Tamil Nadu. The second misconception regarding honour killing is that it has religious roots. Even if a woman commits adultery, there have to be four male witnesses with good behaviour and reputation to validate the charge. Furthermore only the State can carry out judicial punishments, but never an individual by himself. So, we can clearly see that there is no religious backing or religious roots for this heinous crime.
This has to stop and it is possible only if the mentality of the people changes towards marriage and parents begin to accept their children’s wishes regarding to whom they wish to marry as it is they who have to lead a life with their life partners. Also, we need to have stricter laws to protect people to tackle these kinds of killings and the victims as this is a crime which cannot be pardoned because humans do not have the right to write down death sentences of innocent fellow humans and no one has a right on another person’s life.