For the sake of honour – Honour Killing

One of the main news today was of a father who killed his daughter and a boy from other family for the sake of honour at Garnauthi village in Haryana’s Rohtak district. The mistake of the boy and girl was their love and wish to marry each other. They belonged to the same village and gotra. In most of the Indian families, marriage between same gotra is prohibited because a girl and boy are then considered as brother and sister. This relationship was not acceptable by the family members of the girl. They regarded it as disrepute. So girl’s father conspired the killing of duo with his family and finally killed them.

One bad incident after another. This proves that not only outside but a female is not safe even at home and as per such cases even boys are not safe in India. Will there be anyone to control all these like what some of the Indian reformists had done in the past? Honour killing was prevalent in West Bengal but strong personalities and reformists like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy had actually changed the mindset of people. Now no case of such incidents is reported from that region. India actually needs reformists and activists who can change the mind of people and thus the society and all its ill rituals. To make our country a crime free nation is not an easy task but one step forward means closeness to the goal.

Honour Killing or honor killing is the homicide of a family member or a social group by people belonging to the same family or community with a belief that the victim has dishonoured the family or community.

“A man is superior to woman.” All evils against women are the result of this ideology.  Honour killing is also the outcome of the same notion. In past it was actually the way for a man to control woman. Though broad minded persons have moved further and changed their attitude towards women but still our society is full of many people who believe in this and act accordingly.

Northern states such as Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have the maximum number of honor killing cases in India. Most of these killings are the result of love marriages including marriage in the same caste, and even outside the caste. 34 such cases were reported in Punjab between the year 2008-2010. Cases of honour killing are also common among Rajputs and jaats in Haryana. Honor killing has also been reported from Bhagalpur in the eastern state of Bihar. It is a very complicated issue in India. But tradition of honor killing is not new to our nation. Worst form of honor killing was seen during partition when to preserve the family honor, girls and women were forcefully killed.

This happens not only in India but history of nations like Russia and Greece also points towards honor killing especially of a female. As per the Roman Law of pater families, men of the family used to enjoy full control of their children and wives. Roots of honor killing are also found in ancient Roman Law –  the law states that if women found guilty of adultery could be killed by their husband in whatever manner the husband desired.

The reason of doing this barbaric act can be any but the most common are:

  • Love marriage especially among same caste and clan
  • Sexual as well as non sexual act of female out of marriage
  • Unacceptable dressing of female

But why some minds show such an inhumane instinct? The noticeable reason of honor killing in India at present is the rigid caste system in many regions. People are still against inter-caste or more specifically love marriage in which girl or a boy finds her or his own life partner. According to these rigid minds, if a girl takes a step of marrying against their wish then it would bring disrespect to the entire family. They try not to find any solution but give her and him the death punishment.

Though largely in rural India, but Indian cities are also not untouched from honor killing. Many cases of this heinous act have been reported in metropolitan. 5 cases have been reported in Delhi. In Tamil Nadu a daughter and future son-in-law were killed for the sake of honor.

To control the situation at basic level, a statutory body was set up by the National Commission for Women in 1990. The objective was to address the issue of honor killing in some parts of northern India. The significant role of NCW activists have helped in reducing the number of honor killing.

There is another but a simple way of dealing with such cases at personal front. If you feel that any family member of yours has brought disgrace then stop talking to him or her and you can even break off all the relationships instead of killing your own blood as well as others just for the sake of name. It is nothing but a gruesome murder.

To stop this epidemic, government has to enforce strict law. Apart from this, mentality of people must change towards caste system and society. And all of us must understand that we as human have no right to kill anyone.