In 2004, Sushma Tiwari married a man named Prabhu Nochil. Seven months later, her brother Dilip Tiwari and a few colleagues murdered Prabhu, Prabhu's father and two children of Prabhu's family. Sushma, pregnant at the time, escaped the massacre only because she was out visiting somebody.
Why did Dilip Tiwari do this? Because the Tiwaris are a Brahmin family, and Prabhu is an Ezhava from Kerala, apparently a lower caste. (I say "apparently" because this is what I read in the news reports. One of the few things in my life I'm proud of is that I know nothing about what such caste names mean.)
The Bombay High Court awarded the death sentence to Dilip Tiwari and his colleagues. Last December, the Supreme Court of India -- the highest court in the land -- reduced this sentence to 25 years in jail. This was the reasoning of the honourable judges who reduced the sentence:
"It is a common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual, and in this case it was an intercaste, intercommunity marriage out of a secret love affair, then in society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such an affair. ... If he became the victim of his wrong but genuine caste consideration, it would not justify the death sentence."
Sushma has challenged this, saying among much else that "Mass killings based on the concept of 'honour' must be viewed by this Honourable Court as murders which must be given the highest deterrent sentence."
(A good overview here.)
And some of our neighbours in Pakistan also appear to find honour in murder.
What I want to know is, when will we stop referring to this kind of murder as "honour killing"? There is no honour attached to it and that's it.