Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Honor killings are the latest flavor of the season, just as once it was rape and earlier dowry death. Hardly does a young couple taste their married togetherness then the noses ("naak") of the male relatives gets longer and itchier and wham, bang, off with their heads, it goes.
Why this extreme reaction to the most natural phenomena in the world? what are these gotras and castes after all? when did women become chattels to be used as bargaining counters by the male of the species? How did this spree of honor killing become part of our revered ancient culture?
Chanakya's Arthshastra lists a bare handful of castes; few of them are original ones, the rest are the result of cross-castre marriages. From then on, through the writings of travelers like Huian Tsang, Alburni and others, plus our own venerable books and histories, down to British enumerators, the number of so-called castes has burgeoned into thousands of names of new castes created by intermarriage between persons of different castes.
Let me give an example:
I am a Sindhi lady married to a Punjabi. When they were kids, my children used to call themselves Panglo-sindhis, which was a take-off on Anglo-Indians. My eldest daughter, offspring of a Sindhi-Punjabi marriage married a young man who was offspring of a Parsi-Sindhi marriage. Obviously both belong to socalled 'new' castes and their offspring form a brand new caste again.. we call them either kitchdi or cocktail.
There is more to come. My son married a woman of Jain-sindhi roots, again a new caste? and their kids? another new caste?
That is exactly the four original castes multiplied thousands of times over and now we fight over the castes and actually kill off our young people for loving each other. Turning all religious texts to nought as they preach that one should spread love, not hate.
Nevertheless, honor killing just became even more dangerous when the long noses of the lady's relatives insisted that not only should the married couple be murdered, but that the killing should extend to the person who helped them! where will it all end?
Is our socalled civilised society going to rise up against this as they did in the case of Jessica Lall and others?

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