The survivors of horrific caste killings, Gowsalya and Amrutha met in a show of solidarity against caste, on Friday.

I promise to stand with you Read Gowsalyas words of steel to Amrutha
news Caste Friday, September 21, 2018 - 16:09

Two years, six months and a day apart, two newly married young women from different parts of the country were dealt the same, horrific hand of caste when their Dalit partners were murdered in broad daylight by their caste Hindu families. In a bittersweet show of solidarity, the two came together on Friday, when Gowsalya Shankar met a mourning Amrutha Pranay at Pranay’s family’s residence in Nalgonda district, Telangana.

During the visit, Gowsalya, who has become an anti-caste activist over the years following the murder of her husband executed by her own father, encouraged Amrutha to bravely face the legal battle ahead and tell the court all that happened.

Read the full text of the letter Gowsalya wrote to Amrutha:

If all you ever wanted was to be true and devoted to the love that you felt in your heart, our society still ruthlessly stands in your way. This is for one reason: the hatred created by the caste system. Our deepest instincts may be ones of warmth and tenderness, for a life lived with the person we love. It’s an instinct that our parents can never understand, Amrita. As deeply as they may love us, the feelings of caste honour that they hold in their hearts is deeper. Pranay was possibly a fount of maternal love that life brought your way, and I can understand that. The resolve that we see in you today proves it as nothing else can. Maybe you often pondered on why your family could never understand Pranay the way you could. Their feelings of caste supremacism, however, meant that they didn’t even understand you; is it any surprise they couldn’t understand him? You probably never thought it possible that your own loving parents could do something like this. Love, however, is no match for the obsessive hatred that caste supremacism brings.

Pranay’s love for you, his protective nurturing, could have come from a mother, and I know it is that love now that inspires you to stand up and march forward with the strength of a warrior. You are standing against people to whom the very thought of Pranay’s child in your womb is unacceptable. Your determination in making sure that the child enters this world is the whip that you use to lash at their casteist hatred. It is this struggle of righteousness, also, that will now connect you to so many like-minded people, people of social compassion and resoluteness, and bring more meaningful relationships your way than you ever imagined. Today, you’re surrounded by people who accept your pain as their own. You will never again need to feel alone. You can see it this way -- Pranay did more than to leave you with this child; this whole new world of social compassion was his gift to you, as well.

You’re standing here today, bereaved from Pranay. Not long ago, I stood in the same place myself. I remember that it felt as if my whole life had gone dark. When I think back, I used to be so timid, I couldn’t be without my husband a single day. Now, however, I’ve been without him for 2 ½ years, all by myself. Certainly, making sure that the killers are punished is an important part of the justice for Pranay that you seek. It’s important to remember that the fight goes far beyond, though. We need to work towards the creation of a law that specifically addresses honour killings. We need to dedicate ourselves, for as long we live, to turn ourselves into warriors of social justice, fighting a war whose aim is nothing less than to completely dismantle the caste system. This, and this alone can be the justice that you deliver to Pranay.

There are so many of us in Tamilnadu engaged in work towards ending the caste system, and each one of us sees you as nothing less than our own child. I bring a message to you today -- every breath of the power organized against the caste system stands arm in arm with you, with camaraderie, love and friendship. In parting, let me share with you the thought that in this fight for the creation of laws specific to honour killings, my promise is that I will personally stand hand-in-hand with you, to work endlessly, tirelessly and forever.

Comrade Gowsalya


Sankar Justice Trust

Read: Gowsalya meets Amrutha: Survivors of Shankar, Pranay caste murders stand together