Honor Killings

Islamtribnune.com informs that in many parts of the world, such as in Africa, the Muslim world, in some parts of India some fanatics’ still uphold culture – honor killings. A lot of Westerners would be absolutely appalled to learn how parents and relatives have no qualms in killing their children if they felt that they went against their “family honor “and married or fell in love with someone not from their own religion or caste.

In Rajasthan, a state in India, in medieval times, when warriors were almost certain to lose a battle, their wives put themselves on fire so as not to fall into the hands of the victors and suffer ignominies at their hands. Similarly, when the Partition of India and Pakistan took place and communal riots followed, there were so many instances of fathers and sons killing their wives, mothers so that they could be “saved” from what they would have to encounter from the people they were fighting against.

According to Gloria Steinheim, it is women who need to uproot the sexual caste system – which is the most pervasive powered structure in society and that can be done by changing the patriarchal values of those who run the institutions, be it fathers or sons.

In India, the caste system is still quite strong in Hinduism and people do expect that marriages take place within the same caste or within the same “gotra” – a sub community within one’s one caste. This is less prevalent in cosmopolitan cities such as Mumbai but in cities in northern India such as the capital New Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Amritsar, it is still quite rampant. In villages, there is what is called the “khap panchayats”, which are a justice system on its own and especially in matters such as marrying outside one’s own caste or one’s own gotra; the writ of the panchayat prevails. According to islamtribune.com sources, few people would dare to approach the local police to protest against the decisions of the “khap panchayat” for fear of being ostracized.

In modern cities, now women’s rights organizations have been beginning to protest against barbaric acts like culture – honor killings. Even the National Commission on Women, which is a Central Commission, has been taking an interest in this issue. The Chairperson of the National Commission on Women has been attempting through the Law and the Home Ministry, to ensure that the perpetuators of these crimes are severely punished to act as a deterrent to other people.

Just as Hitler wrongly believed in the superiority of the Aryan race and caused thousands of Jews to be massacred, so also, in some parts of the Muslim world, in Africa and in some parts of India, there are people who erroneously believe in the superiority of their own religious group or sub groups and believe that it is their sacred duty to preserve their religious group and annihilate anyone who comes in their way, even if it happens to be their own children or close relatives. Islamtribune.com states, even performing horrendous acts like culture – honor killings does not deter them for they believe that they would ultimately go to Heaven as God would reward them for having discharged their duties well. We must all attempt to courageously resist these tendencies and to correct these distortions which have been entrenched in the minds of such people, else we would not be deserved to be called civilized people.