Caste-Based Honor Killings in Rural India June 15, 2010

Caste-Based Honor Killings in Rural India

You’ve heard of “honor killings” where a victim of rape is killed because she has “dishonored” her family…?

This is a different version of the same horrid practice:

In India, clan councils want the government to ban marriages within the same sub-caste. But some couples who choose love over tradition pay the ultimate price: death at the hands of their own family.

The caste system is no different from racial discrimination, where some people truly believe that something you can’t control (your parents, your skin color, etc) should dictate how you ought to be treated the rest of your life.

It’s sickening.

(via Atheist Media Blog)

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  • Orson–father-and-son-plead-guilty-to-murdering-aqsa-parvez?bn=1

    There has recently been a lot of media coverage on honor killings and wearing the burqa during trial in Toronto, British Columbia and Quebec.

    In the article above what sickens me most is that the mother actually blames the daughter, implying she brought it on herself.

  • L.Long

    This is what happens in a religious culture rules a country with no real leaders and no good secular laws. A 2nd outcome is the total indoctrination does not allow any other reactions except to go along with the BS.
    For example…my family doesn’t like my choice in marriage…I’m not brainwashed into the culture/religion….guess how many will be in hell before I get there?? Right! lots!
    The religidiots have no fear of self defense because of the intense brainwashing, but for me anyone trying to kill me is NOT family and they would pay. I’m going to die anyway so what is there to loose??
    Luckily I live in the USA so we have laws and for the most part secular law (for now anyway) so THEY are prevented from any overt large scale BS behavior.
    I admit that a lot of the BS is cultural and supported by the religion and gov’mint and so many are brainwashed into this that it will continue until many of them fight back.

  • Jagyr

    Next week: Son bludgeoned to death by parents over his decision to marry girl who has the same middle name.

  • TruFru

    I guess most western people are familiar with the term caste. The term sub-caste is used to refer to different things by different people in India. Here’s my attempt to provide some background info based on my knowledge (I was Indian born in a “traditional” Hindu family and raised in a big Indian city.)

    What they refer to in this particular incident is something called Gotra which can be thought of like an ancestral lineage. Each Hindu guy is assigned a gotra which he inherits from his father. A Hindu girl is assigned her father’s gotra till she gets married. After marriage she is assigned her husband’s gotra. Two people of the same gotra are considered to be siblings. In the traditional Hindu culture, a guy is expected to marry a girl in the same caste but a different gotra (i.e. pre-marriage gotra).

    There are two things at play here. One is the social perception about marrying in the same gotra. The second is the unquestioned authority of the self-appointed de-facto elder council in the villages. These councils are mostly constituted by men (not women) of some “high caste”. They impose their “judgment” based on their own crooked perception of what is right and wrong. They are also ignorant of the Indian law and the concept of rule of law. In this case, they passed a decree saying the couple should be murdered for what they consider to be a “sin”.

    Marrying a person of a different caste/religion/gotra is perfectly legal in India (as most of you might have guessed). I don’t think the Indian Central Govt. will even think of changing the act (as the nut in the video wants).

    Here’s my perception of the situation in Indian cities. Things like caste and gotra are not a big deal except when it comes to marriage. Caste is not like race (which is somewhat apparant) and it is considered completely inappropriate to inquire about a person’s caste. When it comes to marriage, most parents would make a big fuss about it. If their son/daughter marries out of caste the most that happens is they get excommunicated by their parents/relatives. There is rarely any physical threat/violence. In most of the cases I have heard about, the excommunication hasn’t lasted for more than a couple of years. Compared to caste, gotra is not that much of a big deal.

    The video mentions the Hindu Marriage Act. I want to mention here that the laws for things like marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, etc. are different for Hindus, Muslims and Christians in India. The enactment of a Uniform Civil Code is the talking point of… guess which political party… the Hindu nationalistic party BJP. The so-called secular parties (like the current majority party) give the appearance that they want the status-quo to continue. I find it funny that India can call itself a secular country given the current civil code.

  • trixr4kids

    TruFru, thanks for that background.

  • Rajesh Kher

    Reading the discussion it is clear that despite TruFru excellent summary it is still incorrect. First TruFru is wrong. Honor killing is a term used when two people marry outside the caste. Don’t kid yourself people are killed specially when a Girl marries to a lower caste boy. Happened only couple of days back.

    In case of same Gotra Marriage the underlying assumption is that since they are of same lineage of belonging to Same “ADAM and EVE” this is like incest and hence a sin. Clearly an incorrect and stupid judgment.
    So how to we counter it? Obviously by showing that it is not Incest. Remember it is assumed (again incorrectly) that same lineage implies same Blood (group etc). Secondly to show that no incest is involved even if the same Gotra had a common Parents. The original parents have been there at least 100 Generations earlier.

    I have been asking some Genticist ( I am not one) to show that in terms of Gene Pool there is no difference between same Gotra marriage and between an Indian and an Australian aborigine. Also it can easily be shown that any two ancestors belonging to same gotra have blood characteristics that are different in Group, RH Factor and other characteristics. You can actually share the same characteristics with persons of different Gotras.

    Remember that Caste is Varna and despite whatever the religious apologetic may say is basically a racial system based on color White for invading Aryans and Black for existing native Dravidian Population. Gotra is lineage from a so called Rishis/Kings/ celebrity after the Aryan settled down and started co-existing with Dravidians.

    The same Gotra issue has emerged only recently. Most Indians follow the Caste restrictions so also tend to follow the Gotra restrictions. TruFru is right that Varna and Gotra comes prominently into picture only at Birth, Thread ceremony, marriage and death. Rest of the time we Chug along quite oblivious of our lineages

    I hope that we start ignoring it completely.

  • Canadiannalberta

    TruFru, thank you for explaining.

  • muggle

    Defnitely thanks for the background, TruFru.

    This is the harm religion does. These honor killings leave me at a loss for words beyond that. That they’re despicable goes without saying and I feel redundant just saying so.

  • Orson
  • Deepak Shetty

    I remember my youth when I truly believed that all this caste nonsense would end with my generation.

  • Hello, I did a writeup about honor killings on Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

  • It is absolute madness that each person in a community is judged by a different set rule which is based on belief.

    Imagine tomorrow that the followers of say a prominent saint or a fakir decides to start a religious system/ practice with its own separate belief. Then does it mean that the constitution of a country has to amend itself to accept this since the flower of this saint or a fakir are noticeable in number and are a part of a vote bank that cannot be offended.

    This is what is happing in our country and this is absolutely ridiculous. A patriotic Indian should not accept any thing less than unit for all.

  • Half-Caste

    I guess I’m a generation younger than most here… still hoping that it ends with my generation. Doubtful though.

    There’s no shortage of blind stupidity in the world.

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