Honor Killings in India

There is an interesting article in today’s NY Times, sent to me by Bill Gillis, Eckles Librarian and friend to researching freshmen everywhere.

In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine tells the story Nirupama Pathak, a 22-year-old Hindu woman.

Her family was Brahmin, the highest Hindu caste, and when Ms. Pathak, 22, announced she was secretly engaged to a young man from a caste lower than hers, her family began pressing her to change her mind. They warned of social ostracism and accused her of defiling their religion.

Days after Ms. Pathak returned home in late April, she was found dead in her bedroom. The police have arrested her mother, Sudha Pathak, on suspicion of murder, while the family contends that the death was a suicide.

The postmortem report revealed another unexpected element to the case: Ms. Pathak was pregnant.

The article goes on to say that intercaste marriages are protected by Indian law, but that new honor killings appear in the Indian media weekly and many people believe they are justifiable.  You have to ask yourself: How do you change the mind of an entire culture?  Can the practice of honor killings be stopped?  How do you go about making such a big change?

And also, Why are women always the ones killed for honor?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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3 Responses to Honor Killings in India

  1. Brad McRoberts says:

    I think one has to turn back time to the very beginning of the tradition in the country to understand why. After than it becomes a tradition, an institution (if you will), deeply engrained in a culture’s code of laws and rules.
    At the beginning of its practice (and still today) it was a way to demonstrate the male authority in the society – an application of sexual chauvinism.

  2. Brad McRoberts says:

    … which explains why honor killings are of women only. It is a tradition for the family to “eliminate” what caused dishonor, thereby making them honorable again.
    As far as how to stop them from happening in the future, empowerment and education are the solution as I believe “Half the Sky” so clearly displayed.

  3. Amanda Campen says:

    While, I totally agree with the authors of the book in the promotion of education as the solution worldwide female oppression, I also beleive in a revaluation of a culture’s priorities are in order. A country cannot raise their young in such a way that half of them think that they are simply superior because they have an extra apppendage without the consideration of ambition or accomplishment. My favorite quote in this book had to be “One cannot call make children Pasha…tell them that they have a golden penis, without reducing their need to learn and do” With this thinking in hand, it’s an absolute breeding ground for uncivilized acts such as honor killings.

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