In my previous post, I mentioned that watching the last few episodes of a talk show had an impact on me. This episode of Neeya Nanna was aired three weeks ago. The debate was on accepting ‘Love’ marriages. There was a father who said that, instead of allowing the marriage, he would behead his daughter and throw her in the river if she ever fell in love with a guy (Read: with a guy from another caste).

One could make out by the look on his face that he meant it.  Also, he was 100% sure that his daughter would never fall in love and bring his family shame. If what he told was true, there could be only two possibilities: either he is very ignorant or his daughter is a saint.

What would he do if his son did the same thing? He would probably disown him from the family; no one would ever attend their family functions, not even if it’s his funeral. He is a guy and so, you cannot kill him or killing him does not do any good. A daughter, however, should be beheaded and thrown in the river or else it is a shame on the family.

I was livid watching all this!

To justify his argument, this is what he had to say – One of his relative’s daughters fell in love with a guy from some other community. They got married after facing too many hurdles from both sides of the family. However, it was not a happy married life thereafter. Both sought divorce and the life of the child of the couple was at stake.

Now, this is a serious problem. Even very close family members severe relations after an inter-caste marriage. After taking all the trouble for the marriage, imagine the plight of the parents when it ends in a divorce and with a kid, too. The society in which we live is a cruel one. People can talk negatively about your family. This could hurt to the point of the death being preferred over shame. The end result could be suicide of the entire family.

It was understandable that the man had been through a lot. Probably, this is yet another reason why parents are so against love marriages. Having said all that, I still find it hard to justify honor killing. Not all love marriages end in a divorce and not all arranged marriages guarantee you a happy married life. If only parents could understand that. Just because she is his daughter, it doesn’t give him the license to behead her. As any other normal person, she has the right to choose her life partner; she has the right to live with him.

If your community, your culture, your practices are more important than that your daughter’s life, then do not accept them. Do not accept their marriage but let them at least live their life somewhere far away from you and your family. Ignore your daughter the way you would ignore your son. What purpose does killing your own daughter or your sister in the name of honor serve?

The problem is not that the parents do not love their daughters. As a matter of fact most families in Tamil Nadu pamper their daughters with more love and affection than what they bestow on their sons. They encourage them to study well, choose a career they are passionate about and to be independent. However, when it comes to choosing a life partner they are so stubborn. For the sake of ‘Honor’ they kill their daughter and also get themselves killed. People do all this just because they were born and raised up in their so called community?

I fail to comprehend.

The host of the talk show, Gopinath also condemned him. He was asked to apologize to his daughter and he did that. He is not the only such father. There are million more fathers like him who are blinded by the so-called honor that they kill their own blood.

Will they ever transform?



  1. Rachna says:

    Yes Subh! It’s very difficult to comprehend honor killings……from psychological and cultural point of view you will find answer….Here is a link I recommend to read

    It’s a big question whether they ever transform…..may be or may be not….if we optimistically think……even thn it will take ages……to transform this kind of mind sets or mentality.

    • Yes, we live in a patriarchal society where ill treatment of women is rooted in social mindset and it would take ages to transform this mindset. But, don’t lose hope. We have the youth of the nation. My faith is in them. They’ll bring about a change.

      Thanks for sharing the article Rachna. Looking at Honor Killing from a psychological and cultural perspective. It surely was an enlightening read.

  2. gita4elamats says:

    All things change, so don’t despair, Allwin.
    Let’s just hope that it is sooner than later.
    Shining a light, like you are doing will help dispel the darkness of their ignorance and eventually lead to change.

  3. Rachna says:

    I am sorry I thought its Subh who write this post…apologies. Anyways I answered in reference to this post to you Allwin Bright….

  4. Thank you Rachna.

    I am glad that you found my blog interesting. 🙂

  5. @gita4elamats

    Translation of each line in English:

    Lead, me from LIE to TRUTH
    Lead, me from DARKNESS to LIGHT
    Lead, me from DEATH to IMMORTALITY

    Source: http://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/143844-Meaning-behind-prayer-Asato-ma-sadgamaya.aspx

  6. Reblogged this on ALLWIN BRIGHT WRITES and commented:


  7. Beechmount says:

    Being born and raised in the west, I cannot possibly condone honor killing. The notion that killing one’s own child for the sake of family honor defies all reason. What honor? I have not yet read Rachna’s link to “psychology today” but will do so shortly. I hope to get a bit enlightened as to the why’s of this ill-conceived barbaric custom.

    I know honor killing occurs commonly in Islamic cultures-Pakistan comes to mind, but other Islamic countries also. Is this also common in Hindu culture? I guess intermarriage amongst different casts has always been uncommon. It is a highly stratified society.

    Why would a well educated girl want to marry some piece of uneducated trash from her own cast, just because her parents think it’s the right thing for her? Give me break–jeepers– We only have one life to live and the freedom to pursue happiness in it should be a fundamental human right in all countries. Sadly, it is not so.

    The fact that some 50 per cent of India’s population is under the age of 25 and better educated than all previous generations may perhaps be a cause for optimism, but one needs to bear in mind that customs rooted in century-old cultures do not change overnight nor completely in a single generation. There will always be uneducated, ignorant people who will resist change, often because of religious dictates.

    It seems that honor killing traditions follows Islamic immigrants here to Canada. A couple of years ago, an Islamic immigrant family from Pakistan killed their daughters by driving the car they were in into the Rideau Canal, where they both drowned. They had “dishonoured their family by dressing in western style and going out with boys. The parents both received life imprisonment sentences (minimum 25 years without any chance of parole) There have been other cases too.

    One would think that someone coming to a country where freedom to choose is taken for granted, would adapt to this quickly and adjust to a new way of life, but no–they often bring their (incomprehensible to us) bad cultural habits with them.
    This was a bit long winded-sorry–


  8. Beechmount says:

    I just read the excert from Back To-Sanity-Healing-Madness. Steve gives a good picture of the “why’s”, but what is needed is a cure for this insane custom. I don’t even think that implimentation of laws will make a difference. Perhaps education and time will render a solution.

    • More than 1,000 young people in India are done to death every year owing to ‘Honor Killings’ sometimes for marrying outside their caste and sometimes religion. According to Wikipedia honor killings are rare to non-existent in South India. But, I doubt that. The numbers are definitely wrong. Its likely that most honor killings in south India aren’t reported.


      Let me tell you a real life incident that had happened in Tamil Nadu:
      There was a girl who fell in love with a boy from some other community. The girl’s side, they pretend accepting their love. On the pretext of celebrating this happiness they prepare fish curry and gravy which the girl is very much fond of. They lace the girl’s food with poison and she is killed.

      Do you think such cases will be ever reported.

      You are absolutely right Grandpa. Implementing laws wouldn’t make much of a difference. Education and time is only solution.


      • Beechmount says:

        In 2007, a famous Norwegian Supreme Court advocate stated that he wanted the punishment for the killing from 17 years in prison to 15 years in the case of honor killings practiced in Norway. He stated that the Norwegian public did not understand other cultures who practiced honor killings, or understand their thinking, and that Norwegian culture “is self-righteous”.

        I took a look at the link you gave us — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing#India
        and found many parts of the article informative, but very disturbing. The part I copied and inserted above kind of brings a point into light. We in the west do not understand honor killings–we are self -righteous. I think there are some truth to that, but then our cultures are vastly different and we adhere to social customs with the same degree of deference as do people from other culture’s elsewhere in the world. I was surprised by the number of countries that have laws negating the horror of honor killing, AND THAT BRINGS OUT ANOTHER POINT. Very few takes the time to read about the subject, therefore they have no knowledge or perception of the cultural background of the people who commit it. We are relatively ignorant. That aids in the perpetuation of this horrible custom.
        How disastrous it would be, if this custom was perpetrated in the west . I think most of the females would be killed.
        Thanks for providing the link.

  9. Killing in the name of honor, custom or religion has passed on from one generation to another. The despicable mindset of seeing women as property or as symbols (of honor) is deeply rooted in character. It may take generations to see a transformation.

    However the good thing is that with the advent of media and social networks such incidents are getting enough attention and are no longer being swept under the carpet. People have started asking questions.

    I hope in time a change will come…

  10. There are many such cruel practices still going on in India and I recently had a close encounter with one of them. We were shown the autopsy of a two day old girl. Her parents had left her covered in just a blanket on the side of the road. Nobody payed attention to that little girl and she died from cold and hunger and was even attacked by a dog. I couldn’t sleep for two days straight. Reading about these things you can’t believe it can be so heinous. What was the fault of that baby except for the fact that she was a girl? Can parents really be that cruel…

    • This is so depressing. How could the parents let this happen to a two year old? I find it hard to digest that not a single passerby cared to save her.

      I am lost for words. I can only shed a tear for that little girl. 😦

      May God be with her.

  11. soumyav says:

    this face of our nation ashames me for than anything else and enrages such fury that we are helpless over such issues and still such ignorance is pervading in our society.
    even after claiming that we are a part of a modern society ,we tend to kill the young ones in name of honour.what honour do they get by killing?doesn’t that bring shame and sin on them? our religions,scriptures everything has always been bent and served according to the selfish motives of of people who have been in power ,on top,had remained center of attraction and as such they have mislead the whole generations likewise.
    Many weeks ago I had written a poem on this honour killing,though I didnt use more verbal cruelty in it.it reflected the urge to stop this horrific practice.
    Thanks Allwin for sharing this I would like to share here that.verse…http://wp.me/s1Zs7k-avian

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