Haryana has to carry out social reforms. Elders must open up their mind and accept that love between the two consenting adults is a healthy thing, irrespective of their caste

Yesterday it was Manoj and Babli. Today, it is Dharmender and Nidhi. Tomorrow, it can be another couple in love. Here is a dichotomy of Haryana — modernity in the midst of medievalism.

On the one hand, we boast of Haryana being the leading State in progress and per capita income and, on the other, we find the chilling honour killing of two young people in love at Gharnavati village of Rohtak on September 18. Such barbaric killings of innocent youth, by their own parents, still take place because society remains a mute spectator, and politicians play it down for votes.

Why couldn’t the villagers hold back the hands of Narender Badak and his relatives, who chopped off the head of the boy, and killed the girl and put her on fire? It shows that the killing did not stir the conscience of the people present. That is the level of casteism rooted in the minds of people, particularly in that part of the State. That is why there are no protests against the killings in Haryana.

The Khap panchayats are sitting quiet. And worse, the politicians, even the young foreign educated MPs of the State, are keeping mum. It is very sad. They must realise that in this case silence is not golden. It is fatal.

I am a Jat from Haryana and have seen it all on the ground. The community dislikes the idea of love. No girl or boy dares talk of being in love. It will immediately invite the wrath of the elders. The people are extremely rigid when it comes to marriage. The girl has very little choice. She has to marry the man her parents choose, whether she likes him or not. Often, the groom is illiterate and idle, and the girl may be educated, but she has to suffer her parents’ choice.

Parents look more at the boy’s family roots than his education and employment. That is why, with the changing times, some young men and girls gather courage and decide to make their mutual liking known to their parents. But most of them meet the fate of the slain couples, if they happen to be of the same caste or gotra.

The Khap panchayats add fuel to the fire. It is evident that lack of social reforms in Haryana stares back at this otherwise progressive State.

Haryana has to carry out social reforms and prevent such honour killings, or similar unilateral diktats by the Khap panchayts. People must realise that education and social awakening go hand in hand. The community, particularly the elders, must open up and accept love between the two consenting adults as a healthy thing, irrespective of their caste.

It is not a crime or sharam ki baat to fall in love. Why can’t two hearts meet in the same village? Love is above all boundaries. Politicians and the State government should speak out strongly against these medieval practices and outdated customs and traditions. Such incidents are a blot on the good name of Haryana and will take it a step back.

People laugh at us because of our crudity and rigid ideas. We have got to change. Let’s progress on all fronts including freedom of the young to choose their partners, irrespective of caste and religion. Let’s not kill love, please.

(The writer’s email: ripu_d2003@yahoo.co.in)

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