This is with reference to Ammu Joseph's article “No honour in murder” (May 23). The rulings of the extra-judicial forums, khaps or caste panchayats, have no force of law behind them and hence should be scrapped. All the High Courts in the country should come down heavily on those so-called village heads resolving (or attempting to resolve) caste disputes arising out of inter-caste marriages. No conciliatory efforts are taken while dealing with issues in ‘khaps'. They only promote rancour among the disputants and do not alleviate their problems. Those who are knocking or made to knock at the doors of ‘khaps' will never get peace, much less justice. It is high time that a Central legislation is brought out to do away with ‘khaps' in the interest of litigant public.
Ammu Joseph's condemnation of the ‘honour killings' of Haryana, Rajasthan and other states is indeed praiseworthy. Much has been said about the caste tenets and religious (Gothra) ideologies that form the basis for the diktats of the Khap Panchayats. This may have been true decades ago, but such an attitude in today's civilised society seems to emerge out of a burning desire for power, position and naturally the wealth that comes as a collateral benefit. It would be interesting to go into the financial positions of Khap Panchayat board members, and my guess is that almost all would be powerful landlords. They probably belong to families whose ancestors have enjoyed the loyalty of slavery by rural folk, and such murderous judgments serve as the last foot-holds to a dying privilege. Nothing short of a law against such bodies can get these regions out of the medieval rut they have placed themselves in.
While killings in the name of honour deserve to be emphatically condemned, it also needs to be recognised that a sense of ‘honour' is deeply ingrained in the moral values and collective psyche of all civilised societies. While murder for any reason must be treated as a brutal crime and dealt with according to law, the broader concept of ‘honour' needs to be reviewed in the historical and sociological context. After all, the honour of the ordinary family man who wants to live peacefully in his own social community is equally important as the honour of the country and the constitution.
Alone in old age
Harsh Mander in his article “The loneliness of hunger” (May 24) has painted heart breaking images of the destitutes who need society's attention. Freedom and democracy have no meaning if we cannot do any thing for those hungry souls. Let us think collectively to find solutions to such human suffering.
In the name of nation
Mike Marqusee presents the correct analysis of “national interest”. In every country the vested interests of a self-serving elite is dubbed as ‘national'. The governments and a prominent section of the media serve the interest of this self-serving elite: the unabated greed. This greed of the few creates every crisis, whether it be economic recession or climate change. And the dire consequences of these crises befall on the poor! When there comes a crisis due to the short-sighted decisions of these people who are accountable only to themselves, they are shielded and they loose nothing. But there is nobody to shield the vast majority of the poor and they become poorer, they loose everything. This story has been going on ever since the time of the Roman Empire. It seems that the story is not going to have an end. But the future of Life itself in the planet depends upon the ending of this centuries-old bad story.
Sukumaran C V
In response to Indu Balachandar's “All packed up” (May 23), I would like to suggest a tension-free and time-saving method of packing that will make one's journey that much more comfortable. First and foremost, one must abide by the principle “Less luggage is more comfortable”. Then one has to spend 30 minutes preparing a checklist which should also include toiletries. Make sure all the items listed in the checklist find their way into the box. If you have done this perfectly, you will be as free as mountain winds!