Satyamev Jayate: There is no Honour in Honour Killings
We are afraid of the unknown; however the greatest danger often leaps at us from the known – often what we call our own.
“Izzat”, the first word she hears when she opens her eyes. The first word she learns and grows up living to that word, letting it decide her future. She is being told that she is the “Izzat” of the house, the clan. She is told to make only a certain kinds of friends; belonging to a particular caste, religion and sex; told at an early age that love is a crime, more so if that love is to someone who belongs to the other caste, religion. Death is often the reward for love.
“Honour” is so deeply engraved in a few caste that it becomes their sole reason to live, to survive. And to safeguard this honour, people will go any extend, use the most extreme means and the victim, their love will suffer. One of the common practices against women and their relationships are honour killing. An honour killing is the murder of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community.
The first misconception about honour 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 honour killings to rural areas only, though one has to admit that majority of the killings take place in the rural areas. Rizwan, a Computer engineer in Kolkatta was brutally killed and left in the railway tracks.. the name given the police was suicide. The crime as the society claims was his love and marriage to Priyanka, a girl who was a Hindu and belongs to a higher class.
In a small village in Haryana, 18 year-old Babli and 21-year-old Manoj, were told that they could not marry as they belonged to the same gotra. However, love overcame these hurdles and they got married only to get killed by Babli’s parents, relatives and the Khap Panchayat. Manoj’s sister and his mother are currently fighting the case against the Khap Panchayat and Babli’s brothers who carried out the brutal attack. More so, the troubles seem to tower for the family as the village have also started to socially ostracize them. They had done this under the guidance and protection of Khap Panchayats, the apex body of caste based council. The main function of Khap Panchayat is murdering couples of the same gotra or sub caste in the villages of rural India.
The Khap Panchayat believes that they are above law, and they have the authority to dictate the lives of the villagers. Parampara, has to sustain and if it requires blood shed.. so be it. Another opposite extreme group of people belong to a voluntary initiative called, “Love Commandos”, who provide relief to those couples whose parents are against their relationship. They provide the couple with free stay, food and give them assistance in getting legally married.
I am not against the traditional belief systems that exist in India. The belief that couple should belong to different gotra, same caste and so on. India gives us the right to choose our own partner, and we only hope that our parents support and guide us.. not leave us when we need their blessings the most. What baffles me is the fact that so many innocent lives are lost in the name of this belief, this age old ritual which now requires a time check.
These beliefs and panchayat laws and orders hamper the growth of a human mind and force us to live within the illusionary world that it has created for himself. There is a strong need for government intervention. The government needs to enforce strict measures to stop honour killings. There should be a ban on all decisions made by these “self-appointed” courts in the villages. India is world’s largest democracy and in a country where people have the right to voice their opinions freely, to be young and to marry the person of your choice shouldn’t be fatal anymore.