Patriarchy/honor killings are the worst case scenarios! For no fault you cannot murder women/girls!
This is a psychological disease, a pandemic that seems to have no cure. A man may be superior due to the strength he possesses but that attribute does not give him the license to devour the women folk!
‘We want them to be progressive, we want them to get to the top of the deck yet we do atrocities on them. There are so many questions the answers to which are not coming and thus it happens almost every day. Throughout our great land, buried alive, burned, mutilated, dragged through the streets and decapitated. They beg for mercy with no avail, family teachings must prevail. Father slays daughter, a husband his wife, a mother is killed by her son, cut from the womb, infant is strangled. Honor killers, moral vigilantes, wipe away the stain of shame, to protect the family honor and restore the family name. A tortured body on display, segregation discrimination, mutilation, subordination banned from doing many things. Forced into marriage against her own will, dowry and bride price to seal the deal. Left to rot in solitude, Suicide is the only substitute, buried alive, burned mutilated. This should never be the fate of a girl/woman but the fact is that it happens and we all know about it and the worst part is that we are silent about all this.’
Of all creatures that can feel and think, we women are the worst treated things alive. Its not restricted to India alone. This is a world wide phenomenon which leads one to think that though times have changed with technology taking us on a fast and furious ride yet our mindsets remain primitive and medieval as far as girls/women go. In rural India this is an outrage and many are saying now that as a girl, she was a legal prey, especially if she was dressed in a worn black leather jacket and had pierced eyebrows, tattoos, and zero social status. We may be talking about women empowerment yet the fact is that the men are still reluctant to acknowledge that women can do better than them if opportunities are given. In fact many ways they are and in many spheres they are the specialists’
Agreed that honor is the most cherished value in the Indian sub-continental patriarchal families irrespective of the caste, regional and religious identities. Families gain and lose honor through money, power and improper behavior of women. the family honor as a daughter, wife and mother while man regulates it. This should not happen but the same is. Honor crimes cut across racial, religious, cultural and regional divides. The horrific and horrendous waves of massacring, young and innocent women daring to choose their life-partners much against the accepted social mores by the allegedly supreme caste and religious groups; the culture of regulating and controlling their conduct and life and amputating, shattering the personalities marching against the accepted social and patriarchal traditions in the guise of protecting the family, caste, clan or tribe ‘Honor’ is rapidly engulfing the entire ocean of mankind. In the rural area things have gone to the extremes and are setting up rules even on trivial aspects such as what girls should wear in the household and even going to the extreme levels on frivolous arguments like for example wearing jeans and tops! The last one that happened very recently in the backward region of Deoria, Uttar Pradesh is testimony to the fact that all is not well in the rural areas. The problem is that several incidents happen but a very few get highlighted but this one was where a girl was beaten to death and subsequently hung under the bridge just because of the fact that she loved jeans and the family was objecting the same. For some it must be bizarre and unbelievable but the same is true to the hilt.
I The Incident:
She was just seventeen years of age. Neha Paswan was an obedient girl, full of bounce and energy which every kid has at this age. She loved wearing modern outfits and jeans happened to be one of them but the big extended family of hers had some serious objections to it. The matter was small, in fact it was nothing at all. She had kept a day-long religious fast. In the evening, she put on jeans and a top and performed her rituals. When her grandparents objected to her attire, Neha retorted that jeans were made to be worn and that she would wear it. This resulted in an argument which ultimately resulted in violence. She was beaten with sticks by her grandfather and uncles at their home in Savreji Kharg village in Deoria district, one of the least developed regions in the state. She lay unconscious, the family members called an autorickshaw and said they were taking her to hospital. But she was never. The next morning her mother heard that the body of a girl was hanging from the bridge over the Gandak river that flows through the region. When identification was done it was found out to be Neha’s. All said and done this was ridiculous to the core.
Girls and women in India face serious threats – from being at the risk of foeticide even before they are born because of the preference for sons – to discrimination and neglect. Domestic violence is rampant and on average, twenty women are killed every day for bringing in insufficient dowries. Women and girls in small town and rural India live under severe restrictions with village heads or family patriarchs often dictating what they wear, where they go or who they talk to, and any perceived misstep is considered a provocation and must be punished. It is the family elders who have to change with times especially so in the far interior regions. But the same is not happening. Campaigners say violence against women and girls within homes in a society steeped in patriarchy is deeply embedded and is often sanctioned by family elders.
A heart wrenching video emerged on Social media from Alirajpur district in the neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh showed a 20-year-old tribal woman being beaten by her father and three male cousins. Following outrage, police lodged a complaint against the men and said she was being punished for running away from her “abusive” marital home. In another video two girls were mercilessly beaten up by their family members for talking on the phone with a male cousin in the neighboring district of Dhar. Video of the incident showed one of the girls being dragged by her hair, thrown to the ground, kicked and punched and beaten with sticks and wood planks by her parents, brothers and cousins. After the video went viral, police arrested seven people. In yet another one that took place last month has been reported from the state of Gujarat where two teenagers were beaten by at least 15 men, including relatives, for talking on mobile phones, police said. This is sheer nonsense but unfortunately with so much being talked about the safety, welfare and empowerment of the women, nothing much is happening especially so in rural areas where stubborn and arrogant beliefs still persist.
Honor killing is nothing but a murder of an individual, either an outsider or a member of a family, by someone seeking to protect what they see as the dignity and honour of their family. Religion is often a motive, and those killed will often be more liberal than the murderer rather than genuinely “dishonorable”. Most often, it involves the murder of a woman or girl by male family members, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family name, reputation or prestige. Honour killings are believed to have originated from tribal customs. They are prevalent in various parts of the world, as well as in immigrant communities in countries which do not otherwise have societal norms that encourage honor killings. Honor killings are often associated with rural and tribal areas, but they occur in urban areas too.
Although condemned honor killings are often justified and encouraged by various communities. The killing evolves from the perpetrators’ perception that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the entire family, which could lead to social expulsion from the community, for violating the moral norms of a community. Examples are having premarital, extramarital or post marital sex (in case of divorce or widower ship), refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, seeking a divorce or separation, engaging in interfaith relations or relations with persons from a different caste, being the victim of a sexual crime, dressing in clothing, jewelry and accessories which are associated with sexual deviance, engaging in a relationship in spite of moral marriage impediments or bans, and engaging in non-heterosexual relations. Though both men and women commit and are victims of honor killings, in many communities conformity to moral standards implies different behavior for men and women, including stricter standards for chastity for women. In many families, the honor motive is used by men as a pretext to restrict the rights of women.
Honor killings have been reported in northern regions of India, mainly in the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Honor killings are less prevalent but are not completely non-existent in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The most honor killings in the country take place in Western Uttar Pradesh. In some other parts of India, notably West Bengal, honor killings completely ceased about a century ago, largely due to the activism and influence of reformists such as Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Haryana has had many incidences of honor killings, mainly among Meenas, Rajputs and Jats. Some gruesome examples go as follows.
In March 2010, Karnal district court ordered the execution of five perpetrators of an honor killing and imprisoning for life the khap (local caste-based council) chief who ordered the killings of Manoj Banwala (23) and Babli (19), a man and woman of the same gotra who eloped and married in June 2007. Despite having been given police protection on court orders, they were kidnapped; their mutilated bodies were found a week later in an irrigation canal.
In 2013, a young couple who were planning to marry were murdered in Garnauthi village, Haryana, due to having a love affair. The woman, Nidhi, was beaten to death and the man, Dharmender, was dismembered alive. People in the village and neighbouring villages approved of the killings.
Punjab also has a large number of honor killings. According to data compiled by the Punjab Police, Bhagalpur in the eastern Indian state of Bihar has also been notorious for honor killings. Jagir Kaur, a prominent Sikh leader was also charged with allegation of Honor Killing of her daughter and she was sent to jail . However murder charges were dropped later by court .
Recent cases include a 16-year-old girl, Imrana, from Bhojpur who was set on fire inside her house in a case of what the police called ‘moral vigilantism’. The victim had screamed for help for about 20 minutes before neighbors arrived, only to find her smoldering body. She was admitted to a local hospital, where she later died from her injuries.
In May 2008, Jayvirsingh Bhadodiya shot his daughter Vandana Bhadodiya and struck her on the head with an axe.
In Rajasthan, In June 2012, a man chopped off his 20-year-old daughter’s head with a sword in Rajasthan after learning that she was dating men. According to the police officer, Omkar Singh told the police that his daughter Manju had relations with several men. He had asked her to mend her ways several times in the past. However, she did not pay heed. Out of pure rage, he chopped off her head with the sword.
In 2000 Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu (nicknamed Jassi), a Canadian Punjabi who married rickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu (nicknamed Mithu) against her family’s wishes, was brutally murdered in India following orders from her mother and uncle in Canada so that “the family honor was restored. Her body was found in an irrigation canal. Mithu was kidnapped, beaten and left to die, but survived.
In 2016, Chinnaswamy, a member of the Thevar community dominant in the southern part of the state, ordered the killing of his daughter Kausalya and her husband Shankar, belonging to the Dalit Pallar community. The crime, taking place at Udumalaipettai Bus station, was caught on video with Shankar hacked to death in broad daylight, while his wife barely escaped alive. The accused in the case were at first sentenced to death, but later Chinnaswamy was ruled not guilty and the other killer’s sentences were reduced.
In the year 2018 25-year-old Nandhish from the Dalit community fell in love with Swathi, an upper caste woman. The couple got married and lived together for a few months before they were both murdered by the couple’s father. Swathi’s father has confessed to murdering them and throwing the bodies into a river in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district.
Again in the same year, same month Harish, a 27-year-old cab owner from Bengaluru, was hacked to death for marrying his childhood sweetheart who belonged to an upper caste. Harish’s body was found in the Cauvery river near Mandya. He was allegedly murdered by his wife’s brother for marrying her despite repeated threats from the family. Depressed over her husband’s death, Meenakshi committed suicide after a few days.
On May 24 2018, Kevin Joseph, a converted Christian from Kottayam, married Neenu Chacko. The couple had jointly applied for marriage despite strong opposition from Neenu’s family. A few days later, Joseph’s body was found with torture marks at a dam near Kollam in what has now been ruled as an honor killing. Kevin’s murder is an example of how honour killings aren’t always about maintaining the alleged purity of a caste. Though the girl’s parents were from different religions, they still opposed the marriage on the basis of social class.
Same year 20-year-old Indraja from upper caste was in love with a Dalit man, despite strong opposition from her father. After frequent quarrels over the issue, her father allegedly hanged his daughter to death and completed her final rites in the wee hours of the same night to keep things quiet.
Amrutha, who belonged to a wealthy upper caste family, fell in love with Pranay from the Dalit community and the couple got married two years ago. In September 2018, while returning after a medical check-up, Pranay was hacked to death in broad daylight in front of his pregnant wife. The gruesome murder that shook south India was caught on CCTV. Amrutha’s father confessed to have plotted the murder as he did not approve of Pranay’s caste and lack of wealth.
Again in 2018, 23-year-old Gaddi Kumar was in love with a minor girl from a different community. Both the parents had agreed to their marriage once the girl turned 18. But, a few days after that, Gaddi was found dead. The autopsy revealed that he had injuries and bruises, following which the police filed a murder case. Gaddi’s mother claimed that the girl’s father was unhappy with the union and he was the one who murdered Gaddi. The girl’s father, on the other hand, had filed a case of sexual harassment against Gaddi. Survey’s suggesting that parents make false allegations of sexual harassment against their daughter’s love interest, one can’t help being sceptical about such allegations.
In India, women are not considered individuals with lives and choices of their own. Instead, they are seen as the spearheads of family honor. They are curbed from talking to men, choosing their life partners etc. In rural areas a heavy duty purdah system still exists. Right from Vedic times women were respected and venerated. The best example of this is from Hindu mythology where Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and fortune, Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning, and Durga, the Goddess of power. As the famous Sanskrit shloka says, where women are honored and respected, divinity dwells there and all actions are fruitless where women are not honored. In fact, India is personified as Bharat Mata and rivers have been named Saraswati, Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri. Islam faith states that in the eyes of God, men and women should be equal and are allowed to fulfill the same roles. Therefore, they also are required to complete all the duties of a Muslim worshiper, including the completion of religious traditions, specifically the pilgrimage to Mecca. The principles of Sikhism state that women have the same souls as men and thus possess an equal right to cultivate their spirituality with equal chances of achieving salvation. While technically woman can participate in all religious, cultural, social, and secular activities including lead religious congregations, take part in the Akhand Path (the continuous recitation of the holy scriptures), perform kirtan (congregational singing of hymns), and work as a Granthis, although equality for women has always been a major attribute of Sikhism and a great number of women have made significant contributions, it is important to note that it is still a work in progress. Guru Nanak proclaimed the equality of men and women, and both he and the gurus that succeeded him encouraged men and women to take a full part in all the activities of Sikh worship and practice. Sikh history also has recorded the role of women, portraying them as equals to men in service, devotion, sacrifice, and bravery. The roles of women in Christianity have varied since its founding. Women have played an important role in Christianity especially in marriage and in formal ministry positions within certain Christian denominations, churches, and parachurch organizations. Many leadership roles in the organized church have been prohibited to women, but the majority of churches now hold an egalitarian (men and women’s roles equal) view regarding women’s roles in the church. In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, only men may serve as priests or elders (bishops, presbyters and deacons); only celibate males serve in senior leadership positions such as pope, patriarch, and cardinals. Women may serve as abbesses and consecrated virgins. A number of mainstream Protestant denominations are beginning to relax their longstanding constraints on ordaining women to be ministers (priesthood), though some large groups, most notably the Southern Baptist Convention, are tightening their constraints in reaction. Most Charismatic and Pentecostal churches were pioneers in this matter, and have embraced allowing women to preach since their founding.
Indian women have made stellar contributions in several fields including politics, arts, literature, sports and education, among others. Women are now being inducted into the combat stream of the armed forces and the nation proudly acknowledged the induction of the first three women fighter pilots. The three massive schemes, Beti Bachao Beti Padao, Pradhan Mantri UjjwalaYoajana and Sukhanya SamvriddiYojana not only indicate the immense importance the Government attaches to arresting the alarming decline in the child sex ratio, but also in ensuring the well-being of women by preventing them from falling prey to diseases. But still the nonsense is happening! It is disgusting and depressing even to talk on the subject leave aside writing. Anyway as a conclusion I will only say, tragically, these witch hunts go unpunished because the law books do not view them as crimes. Basically, the law allows people to act as judge, jury and executioner and is prepared to cast a blind eye no matter how harsh their punishment might be. It should not be the case and the reasons are many (these I will give you in the second part of the story with a few more horrific examples). Cultural and religious traditions that forbid cross-cultural unions prevent peace on earth. Instead of rejoicing that our sons and daughters are heart-driven and love other humans outside of their familiar religious, social or cultural domains, we punish and insult them. This is wrong. Honor killings are not honorable by God. They are driven by ignorance and ego and nothing more! And sadly speaking in rural areas of India plenty of ignorance still persists!