I would like to tell you that India, our great country is very proud of its cultural heritage that made it a world leader in 'honour killing'.
I once heard a poet saying that in India, love is a subject of which only theory classes are conducted and allowed. Now I realize the true meaning of those lines. We are very proud of our culture. We say India is a land of diversity and cultural richness. Well I would say, India has become a land of discriminations and social differences. And even love is not allowed to breach these boundaries.
Love - something that makes one’s life worth living, something that unites two people unconditionally, something that gives an eye to look at the brighter side of life. These definitions of love may be valid for any other country in any other part of the world but this country has discovered a new meaning for it. Love means illusion, a path righteous should not follow, a germ that pollutes our tradition and our so called society, and not to forget our rich culture.
To the world, love means discovering new aspects of life but to us it means disturbing the normal course of life. In India love is considered equally dangerous as smallpox or polio and very soon we would certainly be successful in inventing some vaccine for it as well, so that it can be eradicated from this great country. To us, love is an issue of national as well as social security. Very soon there will be a time when someone will be prosecuted in the court of justice for falling in love and would be declared a threat to our social security.
Many a time this question has been asked and never did it find a suitable answer. Well, I would definitely like to give it a try.
In India, people believe in traditions. To us traditions mean the way of life; the way of doing things as has been going on since the days of our great great and greatest grandfathers. We are so influenced by the old way of living that in our quest for this so-called tradition, which is considered to be a part of our rich culture, that we forget to judge them as right or wrong. Or shall I say that we don’t dare to judge these traditions because we are very reluctant to change. We have closed our eyes, we have silenced our conscience and we have suppressed every voice coming from our soul that would guide us to the path of righteousness.
Here in India, righteousness is not considered a virtue but a vice. People are not allowed to follow their will but taught to act as the others are acting, taught to follow others' will. We are in a habit of caring for the will of the people who are least concerned about ourselves and don’t even matter a bit in our lives. But for the sake of their opinion we are ready to burn our own houses, shatter our own dreams and sacrifice our own happiness.
We hide our wrong doings behind the word ‘practicality’. We are not honest because that’s impractical; we don’t marry a person of our choice because that’s impractical; we never dare to speak truth because that’s impractical; we never strive for happiness because that’s impractical; we never challenge anything wrong that is prevalent because that’s impractical. Corruption, illiteracy, social injustice, moral downfall, every form of discrimination, is part of our very own ‘practical policy’. But we have forgotten the very meaning of the word practical. Anything that can be practiced is practical but we are so used in practicing wrong that anything that is right seems impractical.
It may seem that I have gone astray from the issue I started with, but it’s not so. The things that I have explained here are the very reasons of many social evils proudly practiced in India, one of which is ‘honour killing’.
In this country love is the only thing that faces maximum social resistance. It is such an irony that Indian public has a great taste for romantic cinema. It’s for the same reason that almost half of the Hindi movies made every year are romantic in genre. Celluloid romance is acceptable in this country but there is no place for real life romance. Why? Of course, because that’s impractical.
The whole concept of love is so unacceptable in this country that everyone, especially our dear parents, are not ready to acknowledge the mere existence of love. Instead of treating it as a part of life, it is treated as a teenage misguidance or just an opposite sex attraction.
Most of the love stories in India are never successful in ending up in a lifelong married relationship because they are suppressed either by emotional pressure (the very best tool used to its potential and perfection by our very own Indian Maa) or by physical force. Everyone keeps on talking about ‘Khandan ki izzat’ i.e. family’s pride, but pride in what; and how is that pride jeopardized by accepting the most beautiful aspect of life. Every possible effort is employed for the sake of suppressing this love but when all these efforts are made in vain and love chooses to fight back and is not ready to be toyed around, it tries to set itself free of this bondage. But even then they are not allowed to live a secluded and isolated life because the hands of oppression want to set an example for others so that the seeds of love would think twice before germinating in this land.
Love is slain, its blood is shed and its killers proudly bear the stain of its blood like warriors. Their bosoms become bigger with pride - pride of keeping the tradition alive, pride of adding more filth to this sick and pathetic society, pride of choking humanity to death and pride of making this country an even worse place to live in.
A stunning fact about these 'honour killings' is that most of them are committed by the closest members of the family. They spill the blood of their own children in the name of false pride. Parents are considered equivalent to God but after commiting such a shameful and heinous act, can they be considered even close to godliness. Their only concern is what others will say or think. Not for a moment do they think about the happiness of their own child. They are concerned about ‘khandan ki izzat’ but what addition do they make to this ‘izzat’ by slaughtering their own child?
In the constitution of India every citizen is given equal fundamental rights, one of which is right to freedom. It empowers every citizen to choose and live a life of his/ her own. But the truth is, everyday many many people in India are deprived of their very basic rights. And one of these rights is right to choose a life partner.
Choosing a life partner for their sons and daughters seems to be social and moreover moral responsibility of these parents. They are so determined to keep this tradition alive that any hindrance in their path would be met with maximum force required. If necessary it would even cost some lives. Lives of their children. But who is concerned about them? For the protection and prevalence of some age old tradition, false pride and for the pleasure of a hypothetical society that acts as an unwritten guideline we are bound to follow, our own parents are ready to sacrifice their own part. It’s quite surprising that this is not because of backwardness or illiteracy which is actually a major problem in this country even after so many years of independence.
I can say this because these 'honour killings' are not confined to small and backward villages of India but are equally evident and visible in the developed metropolitans such as Delhi and Kolkata. Most of such cases are suppressed and never allowed to come into light. From a small ratio of reported cases it is evident that such killings are happening all over the country, ranging from small villages to metropolitans, from illiterate to highly educated, poor to upper middle class. This point proves that these murders are not result of social backwardness or lack of education.
I believe the cause lies within the mentality of the people of this country, especially the older generation i.e. people who are married and have teenage or adult kids. Because they are older it does not mean they are wiser as well. It’s because of them that many different social evils are not even close to eradication. They are the ones who nurture these sick traditions and evils and make sure that these are passed on to the coming generation if not by will, by force. They expect their children to be robots who are ready to do anything at their will, even sacrifice their life and happiness.
The main issue is that they are just not ready to accept the existence of love. If someone asks them, what binds two people in a married life that they are willing to spend their life together, most of them wouldn’t have any answer and some of them would be shameless enough to say that it is practical life. One has to live a married life even if he doesn’t want to, because it’s their social responsibility and they are not free to choose. And we all know the result of some rebels who strived so hard to free themselves from this bondage. They ended up being killed by their own kin. It’s a strange fact that in this nation marriage is not a personal relationship but a social one.
If you think that I wrote this to light a fire of conscience in these sick old minds, you are wrong. They couldn’t be taught anything because they are not ready to hear our perspective. They are not ready to acknowledge life; they are not ready to understand the true meaning of living. They never lived for themselves; no, no, don’t misunderstand me; I am not saying that they are very selfless. What I mean is that they never strived for their happiness. They led a mechanical life bound by the rules of hypothetical society. They even forgot they are the ones who make this society, and if they change, the society might change as well.
This is the time they need to understand that if they keep on confining love behind walls of culture and traditions, if they keep on crushing the hopes and slaughtering the wishes of the upcoming generation, very soon the time will come that the youth of this country would abandon the boundaries of this nation and fly away in search of a better place to live, to constitute a society that embraces life and love within its foundations.