‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives’ – excerpt from William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy ‘Romeo-Juliet’
William Shakespeare was the first author to highlight the issue of honor killings in his romantic tragedy – Romeo & Juliet. Despite aware of their warring families, their children fall in love only to die horrifying death. The circumstances force the lovers to end their lives on a tragic note. Even today, love marriages are not acceptable, especially in India. Though Romeo-Juliet’s story ended with suicide of lovers, but today’s young lovers are killed miserably by their parents. This heinous action is termed as ‘Honour killings’.
The recent 2016 Marathi motion picture – Sairat highlighted inter-caste marriage and honour killings. The movie was applauded by both critics as well as audiences. A fisherman’s son Parshya falls for Archi, a politician’s daughter. Obviously, this relationship is not accepted by the politician. The lovers elope, rebel and get married secretly. The climax ends on a disturbing note when the girl’s family kills both Parshya and Archi. Movie – Sairat is inspired by several honour killings case. Even today inter-caste love is a taboo in India. Every year several lovers are brutally murdered somewhere in the name of honor killings. According to statistics, 1000 honour killing cases are reported every year in India. Though love starts on a happy note, it definitely ends on a violent note in India. Even after several years of independence, our people are still stuck to false honors, customs, religion and traditions.
In countries like U.S, children are left free at age of 16 by their parents. They are free to choose their partner. Once the son completes his graduation in U.S, he is gifted a car by his father. There is open-mindedness among parents and children in foreign nations. Even a girl is given freedom to choose her partner. She can learn, travel and party freely with her friends. But in a conservative family of India, a girl has to reach home by 7 pm. Even if she unmistakably decides to marry a boy of a different caste, either the girl is severely thrashed or the boy is kidnapped and beaten to death. For a family in India, their honour is greater than their child’s happiness. They would prefer to kill their daughter, but never sacrifice their emotions for their child. This is grim fact that honor is greater than emotions in rural and urban areas of India.
The most shocking case of honour killings occurred in India in 2007. A newly wed lovers – Manoj and Babli were kidnapped and brutally murdered by the girl’s family. Manoj and Babli had rebelled against their families and got married. Even the boy’s family was against this relationship. The killing of this couple was ordered by a khap Panchayat, a religious based council in rural villages of Haryana. Though the accused were arrested, but the lovers paid a high price at the cost of their lives. Especially in rural areas of India, such heinous judgments are passed by the Panchayat. I strongly feel that law system should take severe actions against honour killings and put a stop to these violent brutalities.
The 2015 movie – NH10 was loosely inspired by Manoj and Babli honour killing case in which couple witness an honour killing. Though the couple tries to protest against the incident, the killers become hell bent to kill their witnesses. The 2012 Yashraj movie – Ishaqzaade was based on inter-caste love conflict where the couple shoot each other to avoid falling in hands of their blood thirsty families. Even the 2010 movie – Aakrosh focused on topic of honour killings. The most recent movie on honour killings was the Marathi movie – Sairat.
Strict laws on such actions like honour killings will take time to implement in our country. Even if the laws are passed against such crimes, every year somewhere innocent lovers will be killed. My article is just a reminder of the horror crimes happening in our society. It won’t change the system.
The real courage lies in letting your children choose their soul mate. It takes guts for a kind hearted father like amrish puri to let his daughter simran run away with her raj.
‘Jaa beti, jee le apni zindagi’ – lines from movie ‘ddlj’