15 May, 2021

Never A More Hateful Word Than Love

A lucid retelling of casteist vigilante justice throws light on this shameful canker

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Never A More Hateful Word Than Love

Both the author of the book and Penguin, her publisher, deserve to be complimented for bringing out a timely, well-researched book, imaginatively reconstructed from facts. It recounts a chilling saga of brutal torture and murder of Manoj and Babli of village Karoran in Haryana in 2007. The couple had violated the caste norms of gotra (patrilineal clan) and village exogamy by eloping and getting married. For this they were brutally tortured and murdered by affluent and influential family members-cum-‘well-wishers’ of the girl, instructed, gui­ded and fully supported by khap panchayats and politicians. Although a chilling account, it is also, curiously, a heartening one. It underlines the triumph of human rights and human spirit over customs that decree violence and death. Written by a journalist who was involved in inv­estigating this murder—declared an ‘hon­our crime’—it shook up India’s conscience as never before, leading to the mooting of several changes in law. The media played an important role, carrying out a relentless...

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