Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Islamic, or Hindu remains as one of the biggest threats facing modern civilization. It is the root of some of the most brutal conflicts in our history, and is often used to justify genocide. While Islamic Fundamentalism gets most of the press attention due to terrorist atrocities committed under it’s tutelage – Hindu and Christian fundamentalists aren’t far behind.
In India, Village Councils enforce local religious laws. Not surprisingly, the councils are almost always made up of men, and the most severe punishments are almost always meted out to women. Honor killings are also a feature of Islamic fundamentalism.
Historically, whether a man murders his wife by dousing her in gasoline and setting her afire, or the Village Council murdered teenage girls refusing arraigned marriages by burying them alive hasn’t met with criminal punishment from the courts…
But the marriage was short-lived. Village elders declared the relationship incestuous, a violation of ancient Hindu rules of marriage because the two were descendants of a common ancestor who lived thousands of years ago. As the couple tried to flee town, the young woman’s family chased them down and dragged them out of a bus on a busy highway. The groom, Manoj, was strangled, and his bride, Babli, was forced to drink pesticide. Their bodies were dumped in a canal.
“My son did the honorable thing by marrying the girl he loved. But the village council said the boy and girl belong to the same clan and are siblings. They said the couple had brought dishonor,” said Banwala, sitting on her porch kneading dough. “It has been three years, nobody invites us to marriages or funerals, and no shop sells us groceries.” Continue reading