‘Honor’ killing is a misnomer


By Baidurjya Sen Gupta
Via e-mail

The recent spate of ‘honor killings’ in the country is shocking. Young men and women are being slaughtered by their near-and-dear ones, allegedly for marrying outside their caste and against their families’ wishes. Unfortunately, this man-slaughter is being romanticized by some of our political leaders by citing ‘Indian tradition’. This narrow feudal mentality goes against the rational spirit of modern times. We in the Brahmo Samaj believe that the institution of caste poses a serious impediment to our lives. From all historical evidence, it is certain that castes were formulated to demarcate occupations. Our ancient sacred books say that initially the castes were fluid and one could switch among them by changing one’s trade. Later, caste status became permanent and turned into an instrument of oppression. The creator has made us all equal. The narrow divisions of caste or creed are man-made and superficial.

The love that lights up the lives of a man and a woman —hitherto strangers — is no different from our creator’s love for us. Human affection inspires the blossoming of some of the most cherished values like selflessness and sacrifice. Any effort to divert the flow of love along artificial channels of caste is against the natural order. ‘Honor’ killing is a misnomer: it is horrible and ghastly. Betrayal by one’s own kin is unthinkable. There cannot be any honor in these murders. We must all protest against this social madness by writing in the media and by building up a tide of opinion against it. Let us respect inter-caste and inter-religious love marriages in our families and neighborhoods. It is the meeting of minds that makes a fruitful marriage, not external ap-pendages like caste.

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