Friday, May 7, 2010

Wear Condoms and Use (I) Pills to Do Away with Honor Killing

Let us keep the names out of this discussion. Recently, a very young journalist was found dead at her Jharkhand home. The mother of the girl was arrested for ‘killing’ her. Newspapers and the visual media dubbed it as an incident of ‘honor killing’.

The deceased girl, supposedly from an upper caste family, was working as a journalist in Delhi. She was in love with another young journalist from a comparatively lower caste. The girl’s family was not in favor of their marriage.

The telephonic conversations and text messages between the girl and boy tell us that the girl was kept under house arrest by her parents and relatives. She was trying to escape from them and she was assuring the boy that everything would be alright, soon.

Now as she is dead and her mother is accused of ‘honor killing’, my artist friend, who has become a bit aggressive in blogging these days, is an agitated woman. She says that ‘we should change our attitude towards the women’ to facilitate social changes and avoid these ‘honor killings’.

I agree completely with my friend, when she says the society in general should change the attitude towards women. But this demand has been there for long. If we are not too cynical about things, our society has considerably changed its attitude and approach towards women.

But my friend and the people, who think like her, perhaps do not perceive these changes. The moment they see something reported in the newspapers, they become morally agitated. They would cite any odd incident and say the society as a whole shows the same deranged tendency.

There is something so fundamentalist about such arguments. Why?

Let us see the circumstances under which the girl was ‘killed’.

The autopsy report says that she was twelve weeks pregnant. No parents want their daughters to conceive out of socially accepted wedlock.

Now, what happens when they come to know that their daughter is pregnant? Either they would marry her off with the person, if they are convinced of his abilities to give her a decent life, who caused the pregnancy or they would insist that she should terminate the pregnancy at any cost.

Here, in our case, the parents might have insisted that the girl should yield to their demand for the medical termination of pregnancy as they found the boy who is just 22 years old and a struggling journalist therefore incapable of giving their daughter a decent life.

The caste angle is added to the case later.

Let us take the case differently. The girl was pregnant and the boy was a bit senior and holding a high position in the corporate or bureaucracy. The scenario would have been different.

Don’t try to fool ourselves saying that all the families are caste oriented and prone to the feeling of honor killing. There are so many marriages these days, which are not only inter-caste but also inter-state. In all these cases, you don’t find any aspect of honor killing.

Reason is simple: the boy and girl involved in such marriages are economically independent and are sexually careful.

Coming back to the death of a young journalist: The parents might have tried to terminate the pregnancy by administrating some crude medicines on her as they don’t want the world to know about the ‘shame’ the girl has brought to their family.

Result is this: the girl died. The parents are accused of ‘honor killing’.

But let me say it again, the parents were trying to save their family’s honor, of course. But not because their daughter brought a boy of lower caste into their family but because she had become pregnant.

If you collapse the boundary between ‘honor’ killing a girl for marrying a lower caste man and accidently causing death of a girl while trying to terminate her illegitimate pregnancy for keeping the ‘honor’ of the family intact, things will go wrong and one would see that this honor killing is a rampant disease of Indian society, which is not true at all.

It is not the first time a girl gets pregnant from her boy friend. In such cases, the girls take medical help most often with the support of their boy friends and their friends.

Our society, which is prone to honor killing according to my friend, actually needs to change the attitude towards our young generation.

Let the parents advice their daughters to be careful while having sexual intercourse. Use preventive tablets like I-Pills etc.

Let the parents advice their sons to be careful and always use condoms, even if some of them have alternative sexual preferences.

How can it be possible? Indian shop keepers still pack sanitary napkins in black polythene.

If a girl goes to ask for I-pill or similar tablets, she will be looked as if she has done a heinous crime.

Even boys, who would like to buy condoms, find it extremely difficult (again malls are a safe deal).

While discussing related issues, my wife was telling me that we had a curious scenario in India. She says, “The government advertisements tell the men to use condoms. And ask the girls to abstain from sex. How is it possible? Either you are sending the boys to brothels or making the girls to have unprotected sex and become victims of a biased society.”

It is true that we need to change our attitude towards women in many areas. But at the same time we cannot be hypocrites.

We should tell our kids to be prepared for it. Let us learn it from Khushbu.

When preparedness meets opportunity, there happens success.

Sex is not different.


layered said...

absolutely agree to your arguments:)my own marriage being an inter-caste arranged marriage.

JohnyML said...


Arvind Singh said...

I agree that honor killings are a very serious problem of violence against women. We should take some strong step to stop this kind of crime.