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March 05 , 2009

Manoj and Babli

A Hate Story


‘Highly recommended . . . this book exposes glimpses of the Dark Ages behind the window dressing of societies that often pose modernism as a policy for all else—except for the dignity of women’ Asma Jahangir, ex-chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan This is the true story of the honour killing of Manoj and Babli and its aftermath. In this painstakingly researched book, Chander Suta Dogra recreates how the couple eloped, breaking the taboo of same-caste marriage, and were seized and brutalized by the girl’s people, with their bodies being eventually dumped into a canal. Tacitly approving the deed, the village people did not attend the funeral; the tardiness of the local police and other agencies bordered on acquiescence. It was left to Manoj’s mother, Chandrapati, and sister Seema to fight for justice. The book powerfully describes how, with the support of the media and women activists, they stood up to intimidation, social ostracism and the fury of the khaps or Jat councils across North India, not just Haryana, when the five accused were sentenced to death in a landmark judgement. The family still has police protection. Chilling and unputdownable, Manoj and Babli is a brilliant exposé of the face-off between those who abide by the law and the upholders of archaic traditions that clash with it.
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