I have blogged quite a bit about honor killings in the past, but mostly, I have pointed out the gender aspect of it as part of maintaining a patriarchal structure. In the case below, there is an additional aspect to honor killings:
In this story, the killings are used as a means of enforcing caste-based boundaries and as social sanctions, inflicted by the dominant group, against those who dare to trespass from below on the social ladder. In this case, the gender dimension is eclipsed by the social necessity to retaliate against, and sanction, the entire group rather than just the individuals directly involved.
In previous stories, the girl is usually the one who’s murdered by a male relative. Here, it is the family of the boy who is killed for caste boundaries crossing. Mass violence is then exercised as a planned form of social control. The deviant behavior that is sanctioned is that of the boy’s family. In this sense, the sanctioning of deviance serves the social purpose of reminding everyone in the community that caste boundaries are not to be crossed.
It is still a case of patriarchal system if by that we use the meaning of patriarchy as outlined by Goran Therborn, as NOT male power but as the rule of the father. This case also underlines the persistence of of the idea of individual relationships as collective and community matters where privacy has no meaning. IT is a Western idea to treat such relationships as private and dyad-based… except when it comes to commercializing and commodifying them… then it’s a social matter as well.
In this sense, community-based life also constitutes a transparent / surveillance society without the high-tech gizmos, but through the reliance of traditional networks of information circulation and where interactions are strictly monitored for their conformity to the norms, especially caste-based norms that underpin the social structure.