I recently read an article in the New York Times entitled “In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine”. Over the six years or so since I made my first journey to India, I have recounted to friends and acquaintances at home some of the anecdotes (I wince to use this word – as if abuse of women should ever be relegated to a mere anecdote) I have encountered in first, second, or third person regarding the ways in which women are abused, maimed, or sometimes killed, as in the case of the young girl in the aforementioned article. I always want to defend or make excuses for the country that I love. It’s true, there hasn’t been a case of sati [immolation of widows on their husband’s funeral pyre] in years (though I hasten to point out, there has been in my lifetime), but I recall reading of daily “kitchen fires” in the police blotter in the Bangalore newspaper years ago; and discovering that this was a twisted and polite allusion to an intentional act of violence often resulting in homicide, not an indication that the country needed to examine safety standards of stovetop ranges.
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