Monday, January 07, 2008
The Other Honor Killings
They died from carbon monoxide poisoning, soot and smoke inhalation Dec. 29, 2007. Rajesh Kumar Arora, his wife, Rani, who was five months pregnant, and their three year old son, Vansh, perished in the apartment blaze set by Subhash Chander, 57, Rani's father. Chander has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, intentional homicide of an unborn child, and aggravated arson.
The India born Chander told police he set the deadly fire because of a cultural slight. His son-in-law was of a lower caste and this became intolerable to the father-in-law who lived across the street from the couple for several years since their marriage. Castes have been outlawed in India for 60 years, but the practice persists in many parts of India and is exported wherever emigrants settle. The caste system has been used for hundreds of years to justify hereditary entitlements and privileges, as well as prejudices and discrimination. It also has justified murders called honor killings. Practitioners believe they have been ordained by the various Hindu gods to be of one caste or another, the higher the caste, the better. Intercaste marriage is strongly discouraged.
In the past several months, Chicago has experienced a spat of suspicious honor type killings. The Chander killing incident was the third case in five months. A father set himself and his two sons on fire in November. The three survived, but the boys remain in critical condition. A 32 year old mother set her house on fire killing her two children and herself last August.
In Chicago, all of the perpetrators were Hindu, all of the victims were Hindu. Islam was nowhere involved. Honor killing pre-dates Islam and maybe even Hinduism. It is very old and still appeals to the primitive mind of people who have little else beyond archaic codes of honor. Still, nothing can adequately explain the horrific murder of one's own children simply to make oneself feel better.
The Chicago Tribune
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.