Honour Killing in India: An Assessment

26 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2014

See all articles by Vipin Singhal

Vipin Singhal

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR)

Date Written: March 7, 2014

Abstract

‘Honour Killing’ is a cultural crime or a cultural tradition prevalent amongst non-Caucasian Societies which perceive women as bearers of family honour. Indian cultures are very deep rooted. Many young people in India have been done to death every year owing to ‘Honour Killings.’ It is because so called honour killings are based on the belief, deeply rooted in Indian cultures, which consider the women as objects and commodities, and not as human beings endowed with dignity and rights. Most honour killings occur in countries like India where the concept of women is considered as a vessel of the family reputation.

This paper is an attempt to tackle the very important issue of a cultural crime that is magnifying day by day like a monster untamed. It is hard to believe that in the 21st century that too in the largest democracy of the world, families murder their kith and kin for allegedly saving their honour. But the question to be asked is this, is there any honour is killing? The concept of law that each man may do what he likes, provided he does not injure the equal freedom of others has been central to legal theory. As conditions of existence vary among different peoples and times, so do the principles of ethics and law. In any society there is a close connection between social morality and the legal order. There cannot be and there never has been a complete separation of law and morality. Historically ad ideological orders are observed into the legal order. And while in the traditional more or less custom bound society the flow was essentially in one direction the gradual transformation of social behaviour into legal custom and from custom into legislative prescription in the contemporary highly articulate and organized society, the law becomes in turn increasingly a major factor in the formation of social morality. However, there are times where the rule of law has been over ridden to give way to arbitrary and often violent actions by the society in order to preserve morality or honour of the clan.

Every year around the world an increasing number of women are killed in the name of honour. Relatives, usually male, commit acts of violence against wives, sisters, daughters and mothers to reclaim their family honour from real or suspected actions that are perceived to have compromised it. Due to discriminator social beliefs and extremist views of gender, officials often condone or ignore the use of torture and brutality against women. As a result, the majority of so called honour killings so unreported and perpetrators face little, if any, consequence.

Keywords: Honour Killing, Cultural Violence

Suggested Citation

Singhal, Vipin, Honour Killing in India: An Assessment (March 7, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2406031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2406031

Vipin Singhal (Contact Author)

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) ( email )

New Delhi
India

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