V Gangadhar investigates and discovers how the number of honour killings in UP jumped from 28 in 2014 to the present 192.
Certain records when set up amazed people. We think they stand for ever and would never be broken. Take the case of US long jumper, Bob Beamon who leapt an incredible 26 feet something and the athletic world agreed this was one record which would stand for all time. Well, it stood for a long time and was broken only recently.
We often claim that records are made only to be broken, this is only partially true. Certain figures remain unattainable, but there comes a time when these are beaten and new ones created. I remember the fervour in the world of athletics in the early 1950’s when three champion runners, Roger Bannister and Chris Chataway Oxford University were in a frenzied competition to set up a new record under for mile (then 1500 metres) in less than four minutes. Both placed at Oxford they competed fiercely and frequently and came tantalizingly to the target.
That was one part of the story. Across the Atlantic, a lean Australian John Landy reminded the world his potentialities as an athlete threatening the British pair anytime. They were all strictly amateurs who could not be paid for their brilliance. But they ran race after race for the sheer pleasure and prestige of the ‘Four Minute Mile’.
Finally, he even enrolled as a fulltime medical student, Bannister crashed the Four Minute barrier and the world was thrilled. He was a regular, fulltime medical student yet practiced regularly. Almost once a week he participated in races while the media followed him with their stopwatches. As was to be expected, Chataway won a race improving Roger’s timings and it came as no surprise when news came from Australia that Landy set up a new record for the mile. The trio continued to compete one another, setting up new records all the time. Athletics remained an amateur sport without big money and international publicity. The pride of achievement and ultimately the mile gave way to 1500 metres. As the world of athletics changed, yards became metres, timings and distances had to be converted to the metric.
But talent, competitive spirit, the Olympics, clashes of star athletes continued to stun the world. Some of these are due to economic and environment changes or the changing economy of the region. Thus when a leading newspaper front paged a story ‘Honour killings in UP jump from 28 in 2014 to 192 to last year I was startled. Wow! This could not be believed despite all that was happening in UP, India’s premier state in size, population and crime rate though I could not say the same about its Honours Killings in crime rate Political analysts tried to link the two unsuccessfully but today their efforts are more successful. The Ram Mandir issue heated up the issue. The communal riots had a role and so did the intrusion of the BJP and the RSS in the state.
The picture was grim and made grimmer with ever increasing numbers of Honour killings among the two communities who had obviously forgotten the famous lyrics, ‘pyar kiya tho darna kya’ and the theme of ‘Mugul-e-Azam’, ‘Kuch kuch hota hain’ where students were more inclined to go for one another with knives and both Hindu and Muslims grumbling that the very presence of director Karan Johar killed whatever romantic spirit in the movie. The sprit in the movie was a mixture of juvenile delinquency which only led all sorts of amateurish theatricality.