He found death through his love



 Let me narrate a real life incident that happened few days ago at a place in India, few miles from my town.

A 22 year old student, Shankar, studying in final year for an Engineering course fell in love with Kausalya, a junior girl student of the same college. They got themselves married about 8 months ago. She took some time off from studies to take a job so that she can support her husband in his last year.

One day they went out shopping and were attacked by a group of unknown assailants with lethal weapons.  He was brutally murdered in broad day light while she escaped with serious injuries.

Why were they attacked and why was he killed?

In India it was a rare, almost blasphemous marriage. He was a Dalit, formerly called untouchable, from a family in the lowermost rung of caste or social hierarchy. She came from a family much above in the caste ladder. As per the custom in Indian society from time immemorial, a person should marry from his or her own caste. Dalits are considered as “sinned” souls and a marital relationship with such a family is unimaginable.

Her family vociferously opposed the marriage. They went to get legal help, but as she was above 18 years, a major as per Indian law,  she was allowed to do as per her wishes.

Though the legal system, under the 65 year old liberal modern looking Indian constitution allowed love to rule, the society, still ruled by thousands of years of Hindu traditions, refused to accept it.

Her father it seems has asked some of his friends to kill his son in law and daughter, so that he can escape the ignominy of having a Dalit son in law and a grandchild with Dalit blood.   The legal system may punish the culprits, but the sad fact is that the casteist Indian society at large will condone their crime.

India might be the most populous democracy in the world , but it still deny basic human rights , not by law but by custom, to large sections of its own population.

Picture courtesy The Indian Express




  1. says

    That’s appalling. It’s inexpressible, how utterly inhumane we can be to one another. It’s hard to find words for those who decide “oh those people, ick, bad”, then justify murder on that basis.

  2. nahuati says

    This is a very, very tragic story. What are people doing to solve this type of problem? Is there anything we can do?

  3. says

    This is horrific. Horrific.

    I’m interested in nahauti’s question as I wonder about this, too. The law may lead, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the people will follow. “Her father it seems has asked some of his friends to kill his son in law and daughter, so that he can escape the ignominy of having a Dalit son in law and a grandchild with Dalit blood,” in other words, an “honour” killing. Sub-Saharan Africa wastes no time on such fluffy terms. No one has to beg murder favours from anyone. Point at someone and shout “Gay!” and the rest takes care of itself. This brings me back to Arun’s point about progressive law in the context of tenacious cultural backwardness. Marriage equality has been the law of the land in South Africa since 2006, but the murder of lesbians (specifically singled out) continues. If they’re lucky, they might get away with a week or two of beating and “corrective rape”. The father in Arun’s story could be so many Muslim fathers in so many countries instructing their sons to murder their own sisters to save the family “honour.” I’d be interested to know how many Muslim men leave Islam because they were expected to kill their own sister.

    But for now, my heart is with Shankar and Kausalya.

  4. Arun says

    Nahuatl , Anjuli ,
    National media did highlight this “honour” killing and most people were horrified like you. But many may be asking questions like “why the girl had to break the heart of her parents”. Dalit parents will be cautioning their kids not to get romantically involved with non Dalits.
    The Government has come to the help of the family of Shankar with some cash compensation. Killers have been arrested and a speedy trial may take place. Most politicians has come out strongly against the casteism in public, but at the same time they try to strengthen caste based organisations because they consider them as a vote bank.
    It’s a fact that marriages do take place between Dalits and non Dalits with support of families , but they are few and far between. In. India even in 21st century, marriages arranged by families with in their caste is the rule. The concept of autonomy of the individual above family honor and values is only slowly trickling in.

  5. StevoR says

    Horrendous. Just sickening news and awful reality.

    I vaguely recall reading (years ago) that Mahatma Gandhi tried breaking the whole idea of the “untouchables” caste and even renamed them (“Harijans” or something like that?) to end the stigma. Seems that hasn’t taken hold or caught on. But did his efforts make much impact and are his thoughts on this issue still considered at all?


  1. […] My first post on this blog was about a horrific murder which exposed the casteist underbelly of India. It happened exactly a year ago near my town. Sanker, a Dalit youth was hacked to death in broad daylight for daring to love and marry a girl who was born to a higher caste. The girl had severe injuries too but survived. The attack was ordered by members of the girl’s family. Severely traumatized, the girl tried to kill herself by consuming poison but was saved. […]

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