Uttar Pradesh Top Cop Advice!

Article first published as India: The Honor Syndrome! on Technorati.

It had to be Uttar Pradesh again. The largest state of India—in northern India, politically strategic and notorious for a continuing feudal mindset. The ruler or the political party in power or the existing state machinery or the society at large hardly matter. In the last Assembly Elections a young and educated politician ousted Mayawati from power and great expectations were perceived across the country. But the feudal values persist, as always.

Most Indian families consider their female members as liabilities, because in a male-dominated repressive society women are always vulnerable and easy targets. The male members are licensed to do any acrobatics ranging from extramarital relationships to kidnappings and even murders. But within their families they strive to ‘protect’ their women from all such possible vagaries as they know that their counterparts in other families are out in the same atrocity mission. This is ‘honor’ for a family. If a female within a family suffers from such ignominies or tries to liberate herself from exploitation and assert her choice for her life she gets condemned for violating the ‘honor’ and the ‘lords’ of the family restores ‘honor’ by eliminating her and possibly her associates. ‘Honor Killings’ has been the most horrendous fact of the Indian society over the decades or even centuries.

One top cop from Uttar Pradesh vouched for this in the strongest manner possible. Cops are supposed to be ‘protectors’ in any state—feudal or liberal. Therefore, one family asked this top cop for investigation and help in the case of a teenage daughter of the family allegedly kidnapped by a local goon over two months back. A missing report was lodged much earlier in the local police station, but no action had been taken. The ‘honorable’ top police officer, instead of giving assurance for speeding up the investigation, advised the family to shoot her as he would have done the same if it happened to his own family. The new young Chief Minister decided only to transfer the officer as a means of ‘punishment’, but that was an extremely routine procedure like feudal way of life in the state. A reciprocity between ‘lords’?

Baby Falaks and Baby Afreens had only been the cruel manifestations of a basic feudal malady. At a deeper level lies the problem of female foeticide where concerned families, doctors and the socio-political system are all partners in crime. In the first episode of Satyameva Jayate Aamir Khan took up this huge societal problem and instantly struck an emotional chord all across India.

But coming from a superstar loved by the masses the situation was more of euphoria rather than a movement. While one ought not to deny an impact of Aamir Khan’s reality show that made some politicians agree to take action in some particular cases a lasting long-term impact was what one must look for.  Celebrities could only ignite a movement with their adorable presence and the movement had to be carried on by the people ultimately.

As long as the feudalistic mindset remains a force no solutions can ever emerge. 


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