West indian culture

In the culture of castes and criminals – The New Indian Express

Express news service

CHENNAI: Earlier this week in Maharashtra, a 19-year-old woman and her husband visited her mother and brother. They had been separated since the woman of her choice had married in June. She was also pregnant. While she was in their kitchen, her 17-year-old brother beheaded her with a sickle, at the insistence of their mother. The deceased’s husband was able to escape. The murderers began taking selfies with his head cut off and paraded him in front of their neighbors, before being forced to surrender to the police.

Sometimes an event like this erupts under the veneer of public cuteness and horrifies anyone who hears about it. The tendency is to understand the event as abnormal, to express the horror and disbelief that a brother would kill his sister, that a mother would encourage her son to kill her daughter, that family members would be so intoxicated. by thirst for blood that they would commemorate a murder by displaying the evidence.

But this perception of the unusual only feeds the factors that allow such crimes to occur. By claiming that violence does not occur on a continuum and must be dealt with much earlier on that continuum in order to prevent its most horrific manifestations, society tolerates all of this on one level. The act itself can be extreme, and its horror is shocking. But the impulse for her is so banal that it can rightly be called “culture”. In this case and in all the others, it was the cultural norms that gave the criminals the belief that their actions were right.

Cultural norms which treat parental authority as inalienable, women as property, love as taboo, marriage to take place only within certain clear parameters, etc., create in individuals the belief that they are doing what they want. ‘even when they are in fact acting in accordance with a sanctioned reality in which individuals behave as systemic agents and perpetuate grave injustices – and justify them.

On the subject of reality, there is also this: the conscience of a person within a household, a family or an abusive relationship is often greatly distorted from what it would be under the circumstances. healthy. The person who died in the terrible case described above managed to physically flee their family, but the smallest path they had to her was used against her, in the most vicious way imaginable.

After she left, her mother and brother remained firmly anchored, if not equally trapped, in the poisoned reality of the beliefs that had prompted her to run away in the first place. These beliefs are not just about grander ideas, like a belief in the importance of caste perhaps, but take place in the very intimate – the belief that their victim was worthless. The woman and boy who killed and triumphed over a family member acted out of hatred that societal analysis alone cannot explain. This hatred belongs to a more obscure realm, the exploration of which begins with the acceptance of these facts: the institution of the family is not sacred, and the idea that the home is a safe place is more a privilege than we don’t readily admit it.

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