In 2016, in a horrific case of honor killing and caste violence, Shankar, a Dalit man, and his wife Kausalya, who belong to the Thevar community, were attacked in broad daylight in Udumalpet village in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district. .
While Shankar died instantly, Kausalya survived with severe injuries. The CCTV footage of the gruesome incident, which was later released, will bring to light the shocking story of the murders committed by Kausalya’s family and hired killers.
Shankar and Kausalya had met in college, fell in love, and married against her family’s wishes.
And, despite a landmark case in 2017 that convicted his father, along with five others, justice continued to be denied him when the Madras High Court, in 2020 overturned the Sessions court’s verdict and acquitted his father and two others.
Kausalya’s fight is not over. He is an activist, raising his voice against racial violence and honor killings. She also started a foundation in her husband’s name that works to uplift children from these troubled communities.
Now a student of BR Ambedkar and Periyar, he also learned to play music parai, and married Sakthi, a parai an artist in celebration of self-respect.
Sakthi is also an activist and speaks out against the atrocities of the people. “At one point, he was fired, but later the decision was reversed. I resigned from my job because I realized that my job is for the society,” said Kausalya.
The best business
Kausalya recently quit government service and became an entrepreneur. She opened a beauty salon, Zha, in Vellalur, Coimbatore, which was opened by actress Parvathy Thiruvothu a month ago.
“My government job does not allow me to be a full-time worker or engage in any kind of public service. My main fight is against honor killings, and I have to take permission whenever I talk to the media. He was getting stronger. “Some of my friends suggested that I go into the beauty industry because I have always been interested in cosmetology,” she says. His story.
After Kausalya’s “jewelry course”, Kausalya takes a bank loan, approves her jewelry, and lends money to a friend to start Zha.
The hotel, he says, will be “a family-friendly facility with separate services for women, men and children”.
“We offer all beauty services, going beyond hair and styling. We also offer high-quality beauty products,” he said.
Apart from donating some of the proceeds of the business to social welfare, Kausalya wants to encourage other survivors to start their own businesses.
He said, “We are ready to provide franchisees of our salons, the necessary training, and all the necessary assistance for them to stand on their feet and start a new life.”
Kausalya’s fight against honor killings is an ongoing one. He says it’s encouraging that there is more awareness and discussion happening, but there’s still a way to go.
“Everything depends on the equality of men and women. Parents should treat boys and girls equally from the time they are children. For this, parents should first understand how equality leads to progress in society,” he says.
Kausalya uses every forum and platform available to talk about honor killings, and believes that such cases require understanding at all levels, even among the police.
He also wants a law against murder in Tamil Nadu. He says, “Though there is an attitude in Rajasthan against heinous crimes, I hope the DMK government will enforce one in the state.”
Despite the many challenges in his way, his fight is unrelenting. Shankar Social Justice Trust helps victims of violence, and has saved many women from facing similar situations. He has given them a safe place to stay when they are opposed to getting married.
“My friends – followers of Periyar, Ambedkar, and Marx – are my family. They always support me. We are not related by blood – but by reason – to do good to people,” says Kausalya.