City Life – Honour Killings in Delhi
Love birds under threat.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is no longer happening elsewhere — in Pakistan, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The killings of runaway couples belonging to the same gotra (sub-caste) or different caste are now taking place in Delhi. In June 2010, a father allegedly killed his daughter in Swaroop Nagar and a brother killed his sister, her husband and also a cousin in Ashok Vihar. The other day The Delhi Walla was at Select Citywalk mall in Saket and saw a couple holding hands. I wondered about their gotra. The same night in my dream I found myself reading a newspaper’s classified section where youngsters look for love in the city.
Cute Pretty Girl,
We met in Dilli Haat on 20th June. You were with friends. Hope u remember me. If you read this message, tell me, what is your gotra?
By secretly meeting Vivek, you are ruining our izzat. What face will we show to the biradari? No one in our khandaan will visit us. No one will give his girl to marry me. Mummy is crying nonstop. I’m giving you three days. On the fourth day, if I still see you with Vivek, it will be the last day of your life.
— Your brother Mukesh
If I give you my Tee
Will you wear it?
If I give you my hand
Will you hold it?
If I give you my heart,
Will you take it?
If I tell you my faith is not same as yours,
Will you leave me?
— Kabir Pagla
My Shona Saajan,
Last night Mummy Papa called Chachaji and they planned to kill us if we meet again. 🙁 Shona, I cannot live without you. But jaan, I love my life more. Hope we don’t get born in the same gotra in our next birth.
— Your sad 4ever Rachna
Last Tuesday my sis Swaroopa ran away from our MIG flat in Janak Puri with a boy from a different caste. The honour can only be regained by taking her life. My mom says that she will not eat anything till she sees her daughter dead. If any reader spots her, please contact me through this column. When Swaroopa left home, she had a brown leather bag and Orhan Pamuk’s novel Snow. She was wearing blue jeans and blue top.
— Manvendra Kushwaha
O Raj Bhardwaj,
Wherefore art thou Bhardwaj? Deny thy gotra; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love. And I’ll no longer be a Bhardwaj.
— Jyoti Bhardwaj
I’m a secular liberal. My daughter is lesbian and I accepted her orientation. But she is now having an affair with a girl who belongs to our gotra. They are logically sisters! Tonight I will kill both.
— SJ Saini