A Bane Or A Boon?
‘Nonviolence doesn't always work - but violence never does’...Madge Micheels-Cyrus
Honor Killing refers to the killing of family members, mainly females, in order to keep up the family pride, which they are said to harm by doing any shameful act such as running away from the house, love marriage etc. Around 5000 people (mostly women) are being killed / beaten to death in the name of “Honour Killing” every year all over the world and India contributing to a large number of it. The shame is that the number of Honour Killings in India is increasing day by day and year to year, the reason being “Love Marriages” in most cases and the country needs not only to introduce but also implement stringent legislations to deal with this heinous crime.
Honor Killing: Negative Aspects
The act of honor killing has various negative aspects which not only affect the families of the victims but also the society at large. They are:
The siblings of the victim may fear of being killed for any act of theirs and as a result might feel scared to do anything thus hampering their own growth.
There may be a situation of unrest in the society.
Minds of youngsters in the family may find honor killing as the only solution to get rid of any problem which involves women.
It also leads to increase in the number of suicides committed.
Honor killing also hampers the growth of status of women in the society, thus causing inequality.
A study by ‘India Democratic Women’s Association’ shows the number of killings as approximately 900 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, whereas the rest of the country adds to the number by another 300. A report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) states that 647 women were killed in the name of "honour" in 2009 - up by 13 per cent from 2008 when 574 such killings were reported. Also, in the northern states as high as 92% of the people disapprove of honor killing and related crimes, shows another study commissioned by national commission of women, which interviewed people from both, urban and rural areas.
Reasons For Honor Killing
· Low status of women in the society.
· Marital infidelity
· Pre-marital sex
· Inter cast marriage
· Status variation in case of love marriages
· Attempting to obtain a divorce from an abusive husband
Nirupama Pathak, one of the names that hit the headlines in 2010, in national as well as international media. She was a 22-year-old journalist, reportedly three-month pregnant, who was found dead in the last week of April. Nirupama’s family claimed that she committed suicide, but the post-mortem report showcased a different story altogether. According to the police, she was killed due to her being in love and adultery which resulted in her being pregnant.
The best example is that of Ramayana, where Ravan’s sister, Surpnakha had done ‘Gandharva Vivah’ with army chief ‘Viduth Julvey’ in a place called ‘Kalikey’. Ravan took it as an insult to his family, so in order to maintain his respect, he killed her husband. Thus, honor killing is prevalent since ancient times and needs a full stop to be put to it.
Honor Killing: Putting A Stop
Today, all the reasons stated above are well prevalent and common in daily lives. The society needs to understand that the country is far more modernized and open-minded as compared to a decade back. Merely, having pre-marital sex or opting for an inter cast love marriage does not snatch away the right to life of these people. It is no honor to kill such people mercilessly in the name of honor killing. Rather, a mature and well thaught decision shall be a better option.
# A strict law should be made and implemented at the same time to protect women of our country from such deaths that are not called for.
# Enforcement of harsh punishments should be there against anyone practicing this act.
# Awareness should be created in minds of people, passing on a message that there is no honour in honor killing.
# Education should be provided especially to people living in the rural parts of the country regarding this issue.
# Protection should be made available to women who fear of being killed.
# A strict action is necessary to be taken against Khap Panchayats.
At the end, it can be said that honor killing has definitely done more harm than good. The families need to understand that there is no honor in killing one’s own child and that killing is not the only solution. In this 21st century it has to be understood that if a child of 18 years of age can be given a right to elect his own representative then he is smart enough to take his own personal life decisions and has the right to live. One of the steps taken against honor killing was on August 2nd, 2010, when Youth in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district came up with the idea of organising a "Lovers' Party" across the country to motivate lovers into standing united against caste councils, which are known to back honor killing.
Therefore, honor killing is a grave sin and people practicing it should be given harsh punishment so that one should think twice before committing such crime.
# Murder in the Name of Honor by Rana Husseini
# Law relating to Women and Children by Mamta Rao
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