The number of the cases related to the act of “honour killing” has gone up. There are many instances when the matter had been investigated by the police and the guilty have been sentenced to death after a court case. The recent news was reported from a village in Mathura, UP. However, the region of northern India, especially the states of Punjab, Haryana and UP, has been reported to have maximum number of the cases of “honour killing”.
What is “honour killing”?
The families, rather the village communities, chose their “honour” over an “individual” in any case of inter-caste love affair/marriage. They deem it fit that this act of falling in love with a boy or girl of the other caste is “dishonouring”. Thus, the villagers are pushed to take the extreme step of not only separating the love birds, but also punishing them for their conduct, sometimes even by publicly killing them for the sake of honour.
What irritates the villagers?
The exact factors that irritate the villagers could be many, and may also involve the matters related to property or money. However, the villagers get extremely irritated in the cases where the love birds run away from the village and their story of running away spreads to neighbouring villages. They think that it brings bad name to their village. In another case, they get extremely irritated when the love birds return to their village after some time (2-3 days or a week). Their return to the village is considered extremely defying to the social rules and regulations established by the elders in the village. In yet another case, the villagers search for the missing couple and thus get irritated in the effort of searching them. So once the couple is caught, it has to take a lot of flak. This anger is doubled if the boy and girl involved in the act get married and any of their friends supports them.
How the “honour killing” is done?
Once the love birds are caught, they are separated. The Gram Panchayat, a local administrative body having the power to decide the affairs of a village, is called for settling the issue of the inter-caste marriage and punishing the culprits who not only had an affair, but also run away from their village. Once the Gram Panchayat declares that it was a “dishonouring act” and the love birds are the criminals, it becomes its duty to punish them. The facts tell us that the villagers adopt the following ways to punish the love birds:
- The couple is hanged upside down from a tree and beaten to death.
- The couple is murdered and then cremated so that the police cannot find any evidence of how they were murdered.
- The love birds are poisoned to death.
Is “honour killing” a good practice or bad practice?
The act of “honour killing” is one of the several extremes of the conventional village community. It does not symbolise any good intention behind the killing of the individuals. By killing the couple, villagers break the law of the land, as our law does not allow us to kill anybody. The act of killing may satisfy them for a while thinking that they have upheld the honour of their family/village; however, there remains a big regret of the loss of a loving member of the family or village community. This act shows that our village society sometimes acts in a highly immature manner and due to the influence of strong emotions, sidelines the ability to judge the right or wrong.
Since India is due to become a globally influential country, although it is the second fastest developing nation in the world, the acts of “honour killing” push the country into dark ages where the society was run by a few powerful and influential individuals. However, we are now looking forward to have a say in the world affairs and cannot afford that some other nation reminds us to first keep our house in order and establish standard social practices. Thus, it is required that we should get rid of the practice of “honour killing” a soon as possible.