From our IFLS visitor, Preet Virdi, a piece recommended (particularly in light of the funding focus in Canada on “honour killings” as highlighted by Deepa Mattoo and Farrah Khan during their visit; and because of the constitutional focus of this piece).
Chakravarti, Uma. 2005. “From fathers to husbands: of love, death and marriage in North India”, in Lynn Welchman and Sara Hossain, eds. Honour: Crimes, Paradigms and Violence Against Women (London, New York: Zed Books), pp. 308-331. See a review here and a (possibly illicit) copy here. A bit more about Dr. Chakravarti, here.
The term ‘honour killing’ should be discarded by feminists in favour of a term that more aptly acknowledges feminist understandings of violence and does not accept the ideology under which the kind of violence is masked. Chakravarti’s article addresses cases of ‘denial of choice marriages’ where single majority-aged women’s choice of marriage partners, especially in cases of inter-caste or inter-community marriages, are severely curtailed by notion of adult consent as including the consent of her parents and other relatives. She clearly shows, through her involvement with a number of legal and women’s organizations, that women’s right to choose their marriage partner is subject to the complex dynamics of family, kinship, caste, class, panchayat, police and local magistrates, as well as state law, where the conflict emanates from the contradiction between constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and certain penal clauses routinely utilized by families in order to regain control of their ‘errant’ daughters.