February 04, 2006

Love expressed, expired

Well, you know, I suppose I should be exercised about the controversy over cartoons in a Danish newspaper. Or about the concerns of striking airport workers, and of passengers put to serious trouble. Or about the demolition of a Delhi mall, and the vanishing dreams of various designers who had set up shop there.

Yeah, I should be exercised, and I suppose I am, to some extent or the other.

But I'm much more exercised by the not-infrequent reports like this one: Lovers get death for pre-marital sex. Or this one: Couple lynched for marrying.

In both cases, these couples were murdered by their own families. (!)

In the first, the family seems to have decided that Indian traditions "prohibit love-making and pre-marital sex of any kind". (Really? I'd like to know which tradition this is). Determining via a confession extracted by whipping that they had indeed done such untraditional love-making, a "court" headed by the girl's father (!) "sentenced" the couple to be hanged. Which they were.

And it's our tradition to whip people and hang them for expressing their love.

In the second case, a couple belonging to the same "gothra" got married after a long relationship. The woman's family, led by her own father (!), assaulted them with "bricks, stones and iron rods". Both were killed. You see, it's not permitted to marry within a "gothra".

And yes, it's permitted (within a gothra or otherwise) to assault people with bricks and stones and rods for -- again -- expressing their love for each other.

On another blog I'm part of, we've been asked such questions as what the "real" India is. To me, it's a meaningless question. Yet I wonder still: is the Delhi Metro, or the outsourcing phenomenon, any less or any more a part of "real" India than families lynching their own for breaking foolish and mythical taboos? If we are proud of one, how should we feel about the other?

12 comments:

Rahul said...

What to do, these things ruin the family izzat. Murder (even of your own children) doesn't.

About the cartoons thing, what do you think of this article? IMO the guy has a point, even if his view is historically, um, debatable (the Brit presence in India led to famine relief?) But the real question is how do we deal with reactionary attitudes that have been sculpted over hundreds of years, whether it's Islamists in another country or (especially) when it's the roots in our own society?

Helmi said...

rahul,

thanks for pointing me at the Spiegel article. I do not often read the German magazine, and when I do I rarely agree with their opinions BUT this time I Entirely agree with the writer on every point.

Having lived for the last two years in Pakistan and for 11 eleven years in India, I think I am entitled to support his arguments.

Dissent said...

Dilip, I can see that incidents like these reinforce your cartoonish perspective of Hindu society. But hindus are perfectly capable of dealing with the problem themselves, and dont need to hear your sermon on such incidents. Your comments add no new perspective, really.

Charu said...

dissent, you say 'hindus are perfectly capable of dealing with the problem themselves' - it would be very interesting to know what exactly you think the 'problem' is...

Dissent said...

Charu, the problem is the punishment for incest. Should it be death? The answer is NO. But this answer is too obvious. The Indian laws are also clear on that.

What DSouza is really doing here is promoting incest, and pre-marital sex.

Interestingly, there is a parallel in the European caricatures of Mohammed with DSouza's caricature of hindu society. In fact both reflect the same (religious) mindset. It is laughable that DSouza thinks he can be a critic of hindu society by calling himself an agnostic. Hindus dont care whether he is a Catholic or an agnostic. Unless he calls himself a hindu, DSouza is still an OUTSIDER.

Purushottam said...

the problem is the punishment for incest. Should it be death? The answer is NO. But this answer is too obvious. The Indian laws are also clear on that.
sorry for my ignorance, but am curious to know what that obvious answer and the Indian law would be?

What DSouza is really doing here is promoting incest, and pre-marital sex.
... did you mean by pointing out two instances where people were killed in the name of tradition. Wouldn't it be prudent to question the tradition and not D's intention?

Dilip D'Souza said...

What DSouza is really doing here is promoting incest, and pre-marital sex ... critic of hindu society... (etc).

You want to think I'm promoting anything, including the sale of the Thane Creek bridge, or that I'm a critic of anything, you will do that. That characterization doesn't concern me particularly.

What concerns me is that these couples were killed. What concerns me is that these couples were killed by their own families. What concerns me is that those who believe their traditions are being offended think it's permissible to whip, beat, assault, hang and lynch people as a result.

I don't care which religion this is: it was sick when the Spanish did it during the Inquisition, it is sick when a Saudi princess is stoned to death, it is sick when it happens in India.

And whether I'm an outsider or not is hardly material either. These things make me sick anyway.

Rahul said...

So marrying someone from the same gothra (last known common ancestor 4000 years ago, if you call that "known") is incest. Marrying your "mama" (mother's brother) as happens traditionally in many places, or marrying your cousin, as happens all over the country, is not incest. I don't care what you call such a mindset, I call it sick (as well as biological nonsense).

And I don't know why you call Dilip an outsider but I'm from a pretty darned traditional Hindu community and I think it's fundamentally diseased.

charu said...

dissent, I think the problem is not about punishment for incest - or anything that a family or village or religious community decides as deserving punishment - the problem is of intolerance. I dont think Dilip is promoting anything here, nor is this about hindus or any other community - he is distressed about the fact that these young people had to die.

Rahul, completely agree with what you say...

Quizman said...

I read the Der Spiegel article. The author's claim that the British brought all those things to India is laughable. Sadly, this belief is not only prevalent in the west, but also among our brown sahibs. Macaulay's illegitimate children are alive and thriving. :-(

We had discussed this topic in Ravikiran's blog [Brit contribution to India] many months back.

Anonymous said...

>>What concerns me is that these couples were killed. What concerns me is that these couples were killed by their own families. What concerns me is that those who believe their traditions are being offended think it's permissible to whip, beat, assault, hang and lynch people as a result.

I don't care which religion this is: it was sick when the Spanish did it during the Inquisition, it is sick when a Saudi princess is stoned to death, it is sick when it happens in India.





Concerns are well justified. Only query is how come your concerns swell up only when the preptrators of the crime are hindus.
Heard of the term 'honor killing'
Sure you have.
Have you ever written about it?
I think not. Not a secular thing to do right? Pappi pet ka sawal hai, kyon Dilip bhai?

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