Recently in news we have seen a lot about honour killings in the parts of haryana and Punjab and a lot has been written against it too. This phenomenon according to media is generally associated with martial races or “martial natured religions” in particular which includes jats, gujjars, rajputs, bhumiars, sikhs, Muslims, Christians, jews etc. Though characterizing it just in certain identifiable regions to religions to communities to countries would be gross understudy. This pattern has been prevalent in human society may it be “progressive” or “regressive” for time immemorial. It needs to be seen more in the lines of sociology and psychology.
Some excerpt from news:
Virtually taking law into its own hands, a Khap mahapanchayat (caste-based council) in Haryana’s Jat heartland “rejected” the Hindu Marriage Act and asked politicians to promise a new law as per its diktat if they wanted votes in the coming parliamentary elections.
The decision to reject the act came following a meeting of 46 khaps at Narwana town of Jind district, 180 km from Chandigarh, attended by 250 representatives of various khaps.
“The Hindu Marriage Act does not address intra-village or intra-gotra (sub-community) marriages. We want the politicians, who seek our Jat votes, to promise that a new law would be passed in Parliament to address our community issues,” Pawanjit Banwala, president of the Akhil Bhartiya Adarsh Jat Mahasabha, said.
“We will not spare anyone who defies our stand. Law is made for society, society is not made for law,” Banwala said.
Though recently it is been focuss on jats, it is has been prevalent in many communities in northern India. Let us understand why the whole community is against “one form of love “. Apparently a female and a male cannot marry into her/his father’s, mother’s and paternal grand mother’s gotra ie Clan.
A clan is something of lineage line that come through father’s side , it is identified by their surnames.
Boy: Kabir Grewal (Grewal his clan)
Father: Rajbir Grewal (Grewal his clan)
Mother: Sujata Ahlawat Grewal
(In this case mother’s clan before marriage was Ahlawat and after marriage became Grewal)
Paternal Grandmother: Kalavati Hooda Grewal
(In this case paternal grandmothers` clan was Hooda but once she married to grandfather it became Grewal)
Now the lad cannot marry any girl from Ahlawat clan or from Hooda clan cause it will be termed as Incest since it matches his mother’s clan and that of grandmother’s clan and certainly not into his own Grewal clan, this goes same for the girl too irrespective of the regions and countries. Though it is a complex patrilineal system but has been in existence since Hundreds of years.
In earlier times in jats even maternal grandmother’s gotras ie her surname was also considered for marriage
Maternal Grandmother: Satyawati Gehlot Ahlawat
(Then the boy cannot marry any girl from Gehlot clan too)
Those who have married within their gotras it is said that their immune system plays a havoc ie is to say the child born out of such a union will not last long and might not be in good health and this seems to backed by the theory of Indian gotra traditions to which spur across various communities in India.
Then there was another case where villages which are governed by same “khap” consider each other brothers and sisters and are forbidden from marrying each other, This seems to be heated debate topic since those regions which have urbanized no youngster wishes to follow age old traditions and “khap” which was formed to fight of Invasions on northern Indian land now are eroding, but they are trying to keep their authority intact and thereby leading to clash among “modern” and “ancient” or “young” and “old”.
Though the traditions are old and ancient it seems to hold a lot of value still in remotes parts of northern India. In cases of educated or “modern” jats they believe traditions should change with society, that is certain marrying traditions should be let go, one such was leaving maternal grandmothers` gotra or surname which seemed to be a norm about 30 years back and some have even started to leave their paternal grandmother’s gotra or surname since finding suitable matches became a difficulty.
In no way is honour killing justified and is abhorical but those not from community their voicing it and targeting the community will not solve any purpose. The change needs to come from within the community especially those who can make difference since they would be suitable and sensitive to their cause and their community rather than someone who is not from their community because a sense of alienation remains and those from outside are considered “outsiders”.
If those within community don’t take up this cause it would reflect badly on them and notoriety of honour killing will always be associated with the community, but the youth it seems in recent times is more than willing to take up the cause and it is on them now that the onus of the community lies.