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Grief-stricken Amrutha Varshini to fight casteism

A 23-year-old young girl and boy, childhood friends and gradually lovebirds, married each other without the consent of their parents. This young woman from Telangana had to see her husband getting murdered in front of her. Amrutha’s family had neither approved of the marriage nor the fact that she was pregnant. Her father had advised her to abort the baby. The girl refused to do so, then what, Pranay Kumar got murdered in the premises of a hospital, where the couple had come for a check-up. In the CCTV footage from the hospital, the 23-year-old was seen walking out with his wife, when a man with a machete attacked him in the broad daylight. He was hit on the head and as he collapsed on the roadside, the man vanished. My heart bleeds whenever I see that girl in the news and the dead body of Pranay hitting headlines. It was just like that Hindi Movie Dhadak, the remake of the Marathi-language film Sairat. A young college student hailing from a middle-class family and a strong, rich, independent girl from a political family, who studies in the same college, begin to have feelings for each other; against family wish, they both get married and get blessed with a son. In the end, the girl left in shock, as both her husband and son bleed profusely to death.

Somewhat similar, Pranay Kumar belonged to a so-called lower caste. The couple, which knew each other since school, decided to get married even though their families were vehemently against it. They were always apprehensive that there is a threat to them from the girl’s family and even went into hiding for some time, but did not anticipate the cold-blooded murder. Amrutha Varshini’s father Maruthi Rao and uncle Shravan have been taken into custody, as they hired the contract killer. Pranay Kumar’s murder is similar to a case from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur, where a man was killed in front of his wife two years ago. The woman’s father and few relatives were convicted but nothing changed even today. Honour killing is not new to our society, we still believe in the caste system. We talk about being a developed, cultured society but even now, we see a brutal murder in the name of caste. What have they achieved except for cruelly separating the couple?

As long as we, the common people, don’t come out of the cage of the caste system, we will remain divided along the caste lines. The government can’t help us much. We will have to change our mindset. If a politician tries to speak against the caste system and talk in terms of economic condition-based system, we, the common people, don’t encourage him and vote against him. This is what happens in the contemporary Indian society. Victims are like Amrutha, who dare to get out of the caste system. Freedom and choices are twisted up in India. Responsibilities, sacrifices, and indeed social maturity are essential requirements to uphold the personal freedom and choices. India grossly lacks those constituents allowing dooming the fundamental rights. The life partners have to decide their future and if they feel happy living with each other – caste, religion, money, social status should not matter to the parents and relatives. This incidence is unpardonable. The girl’s father or any of her relatives involved in this crime should be punished. But what will change even if they get punished? Are we changing our mindset or are we going to forget this incidence like any other tragedy happened in India? What is the future and solution to it? Where are we heading? How will it stop? Honour killings in India have grown by more than 796 per cent from 2014 to 2015, according to the crime data. While 28 murders were reported under this category in 2014, this number jumped to 251 in 2015, as per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) statistics. The highest such crimes were reported in Uttar Pradesh, where 131 honour killings were reported in 2015. In contrast, there was only one such case of honour killing in UP in 2014. In Gujarat, 21 such cases were reported in 2015, while the number was 14 in Madhya Pradesh and some in South India.  A Supreme Court judgement on such killings has called it “barbaric”. There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact, they are nothing but ferocious and disgraceful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. The irony is that, in India even today, there is no separate law to punish those found guilty of such murders, and prosecutions are usually among various sections of the Indian Penal Code for homicide and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Several efforts have been made to create a separate law dealing with honour killings but they have been unsuccessful so far, and general public say that abolish reservations for SC/ST. No one understands the humiliation they suffer every day because they are born in this community.

We, the society, have reached a stage of total madness because of this religion, caste, and community system. It’s time we ban all three and make all people equal and same. There can be only rich and economically challenged. All caste-based, community-based and religion-based outfits, political parties need to be abolished or derecognised. This will be the only solution for a better, matured society in the future. The caste system has its roots developed deep into our social structure. The system, which was set “allegedly” centuries ago for a different purpose, has found its way to a different path that is very gory. Reservation, which was set to bring representation of the oppressed people, has been misunderstood since the day of its incorporation. The demand for reservation refreshes the battle between different castes. I’m not against reservation but its role is often taken in a negative manner. The rise of some and the fall of many is the main reason behind the gap. The Prejudiced mindset – one’s behaviour, attitude, thoughts are often judged because of their caste, also their region and religion. People’s identity is not always linked to their struggles and achievements in academics and life. In India, if someone wants to do love marriage, even before thinking about marriage, she/he has to keep in mind that her/his lover should be of the same caste, religion, and region. We are more interested in a person’s surname than the credentials. I don’t see anything changing hereafter too, in some time there would be another breaking news and we will forget Amrutha and Pranay.


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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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