Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ed on honor killings

Read Birinder Pal Singh's (Dean & prof. Dept. Sociology, Pbi Univ. Patiala) article titled "Honour killings: make the state accountable". The writer explains how the meaning of the term honour-killing differ from place to place. In Haryana it is sacrilegious to marry in the same caste in Punjab it's the opposite.

The writer goes on to say that modern education is not all-emancipating or liberating when it comes to issues like honour killings and that the whole concept that it is, is a "recent assumption". The writer goes on to justify his case by quoting the examples of Indians residing in cities like London and Vancouver, exposed to "plurality and multiculturalism" would not be involved in the act. What was new to me was the "common knowledge" that gangs of boys and girls living in these big international metros charge hefty sums of money to divulge the whereabouts of the runaway couples to "'honour retrieving' parents". Apparently the members of these gangs are well connected and needless to say that "winning the confidence of potential victim(s)" is a part of their strategy. On this point I fully agree with the writer, I have been exposed to the minds of the educated people who are/have-been at high positions.

The writer talks about the origin of khaps to the medieval era of regional feudatories when the khaps provided protection to its clan. "Hence it's role was to to ensure the safety of the community from external threats and internal collapse". He says that it's not that honour killings are a recent occurrence but has merely come under the media-light.

The write goes on to unload the blame on the modern day "populist and perverted political culture" failing to maintain law and order and thus resuscitating institutions like the khap. He says it's also the common knowledge that Haryanvi politicians in Haryana demanded Mitsubishi-Monteros just two years after they were given Toyotas and their counterparts in Punjab ask for Toyotas while the schools and hospitals are starving of funds. The writer ends the article saying that the state functionaries have to become modern themselves- a concern for the other- before modernising the society.

My take on this:
I partially agree with the writer in that modern education doesn't seem to break the shackles of bigotry that's apparently infused into our blood and is being brazenly handed down from generation to generation.
I say that it's a vicious cycle. Ever heard of any political leader's offsprings were to carry out the act so sacrilegious to their society. They can't for if they do, their daddies will not win the next election and they won't get to be as profligate with the public money. In saying that I'm saying that we the citizens are fueling this bigotry because this is the bigotry that's so ingrained in our own minds and no education modern or otherwise has been able to remove it. I don't see a cure for it, it's a the emancipated individual that sees the honour killings as culpable, most others say that it's bad with an undertone that says "serves them right". Toyotas, Mitsubishis or any other Japanese brand's presence or absense will fail to free our minds. We want leaders that move in big cars, are brazenly shameless, ruthless and rich for we aspire to be the same.

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