Click here to read in Gujarati
Every year, 8th March is celebrated as the International Women’s Day throughout the world. Many multi-national companies, Governments, NGOs and both Print and Electronic media play a very important role to highlight the achievements of women in every field of life and give honor to them. Women are the half population in the world. An old Native American proverb narrates, “A nation is not lost as long as the women’s hearts are still high. Only when the women’s hearts are on the ground then all is finished, and the nation dies”.
But, what is in naming a Day? Celebrations of various Days have remained, now a day, formalities and shows. Any concrete work only can become meaningful; otherwise it is like a farce. My today’s Article is an attempt of disclosing the naked truth of the titled words. In most of the countries of the world, ‘Honor killing’ is the burning issue. It is true that we may not be able to stop honor killings overnight, but it must be tried at all levels and we are sure to have the results to reduce them at least. People who are sincere, religious minded and believing in humanity may be good for them, but it is not enough. They should also think for others and not to turn blind eyes to such cruel practices in the society. People should recognize such domestic violence as crime. The educational institutions should add the topic of ‘Human Rights’ into their textbooks. Greater awareness in public can minimize such crimes in the society rather than merely laws and judiciary system.
Now, let us study and go deep to understand this social evil spread over throughout the world and also in the most of the communities like a viral disease. No exact numbers of honor killings worldwide are traceable, but they are considered to be very high. These honor killings are covered up as private family matters and attributed as the natural deaths. Honor killing is the cold murder of a female committed by the close relative of the victim in her own household. It is generally observed that such killing is most probably a pre-planned sin as it is being handled through a minor male in order to have minimum punishment by law. Sometimes where murder is not carried out, some other types of oppressions such as beating, torture, forced marriage, imprisonment in home etc. can be seen.
Honor killing is such where a woman is murdered for the shame that she is supposed to have brought on her family. Some acts either they may be beyond her control or not, but are deemed to be stain on family’s reputation in the community and she is cruelly murdered. Such hateful and mean thinking of so-called damage to the prestige of the family initiates the elder members of the family such as father, brother and some times mother, elder sister or brother’s wife to commit the crime. How sad it is when the women themselves participate in conspiracy against a woman! How we can blame only the men! They people leave behind the cultural and religious obligations and also feelings of blood relation to perpetrate such a sinful act. It is unanimously established that murder is a non-forgivable sin.
The Holy Qur’an says, “Killing one person is the same as killing all humanity and saving one person is the same as saving all humanity.” Not only Honor-killing, but any type of human-killing without any justification, is forbidden in all religions of the world. Some oriental religions do not recognize the killing of even a very small insect as a good deed and consider it to be the violence which is the grave sin beyond any forgiveness from the God. But, here, here it is the violence towards a human, a female! How tragic such act of female murder is! Isn’t it a climax of brutality?
Many scholars of sociology have found out some roots of such rude behavior towards the female. According to them, a certain class of people of every community, race or religion considers the woman as the commodity and property of the male and they only have the right to decide the fate of the female. Even they can exchange, buy or sell the women. In some communities marriages of daughters are arranged by the elder male persons, where money is also exchanged ignoring liking or disliking of the female; and if it is opposed, it is considered to be the shame to the honor of the men who might have negotiated the marriage. Thousands of brides are burnt having brought a very little dowries to their expectations also. Any married woman seeking a divorce from her violent husband is also considered to be the prestige issue and is killed to save the honor of the family. Some women are also heavily pressured to commit suicide for various reasons of honor.
Some common reasons for performance of an honor killing include the illegal relationships, marrying or expressing a desire to marry a man of her own choice but male members disapprove, divorcing an abusive spouse or being a rape victim. For the misfortune of being raped, the girl or woman is murdered by her family in spite of her innocence. Moreover, many other reasons for honor murders are there such as bringing food late, answering back or undertaking forbidden family visits.
It is the general opinion of the people that the courts should sentence not only to the actual murderer but also the rest members of the family who might have co-operated in punishing the woman and the head of the family also who might have passed the order for the killing with heavier sentence. Honor killing is a murder and must be punished accordingly. Some time ago Indian Supreme Court, while referring a case of inter-cast love-marriage, had passed a comment that the honor killing or any harassment to either any one or both is illegal. Even though, if the parents think that their feelings are hurt with such love marriages due to one or another reason, they cannot take the law in their hands to punish the couple in a way of murder or torture; but instead of that they may cut the social relations with the couple if they think fit. Honor killing cannot be justified as true by the law. My Readers also will agree with the fact that there is no honor in honor killing and it is the disgrace to humanity and mankind.
Further, one more tragedy in the society is that the responsibility of keeping the honor of the family intact is over the head of the female only and the male is given special privilege. The women are compelled to be obedient and passive. Criminal codes of discrimination against women should be reviewed. In some countries, the murder of a wife is treated more leniently than murder of a husband.
Before I conclude my Article, I’ll put before you one more kind of honor-killing and that is the abortion of an illegal child developing in the womb of an unmarried woman. Has anybody the right to pass a death sentence on totally a defenseless and innocent child? Murder of innocent and unborn child is the worst of all satanic works. It is the natural justice that every creature has the right to life. Life is the gift of God and nobody has any right to reject it in any circumstances. Anti-abortion fundamentalists cry out against abortion and say that all abortions are murders. Sometimes many such unmarried women give birth to the child in secrecy and afterwards they either give it up or kill it for the family honor.
Lastly to say, we should never get disappointed for the solution of the above issue as still there is the thread of hope that the collective measures and attacks from all directions to conquer this social evil will surely bring good results of saving the lives of millions of unborn infants as well as numerous miserable women in the world.
Let us be the part of the mission of saving the sacred human blood being spilled unnecessarily in the name of family honor.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: 5th December, 2007