Friday, 28 February 2020

Uncovering the truth

Updated: July 14, 2016 12:18 pm

‘Girls being raped? Child-marriage is the solution to save them from this atrocity,’ – Khap Panchayat, Haryana.

‘Khap Panchayat of Yadav community imposes lifetime ban on a couple’s entry to the village and also boycotted their repective families.’

‘Uttar Pradesh Khap Panchayat bans women (below the age of 40) from stepping out and ordered to cover their faces and heads whenever venturing out of their houses, and should not use mobile phones.’

Such reports may shock us, especially for a country like India, which claims to be modern and is the largest democracy in the world. But the fact remains that behind the shining cover of a glorious, forward moving nation, we have an archaic and bizarre system of Khap Panchayat, where law and order takes backseat and absolute ‘goondaraj’ prevails over the community. The beginning of the menace called Khap Panchayat dates back to the 14th century, where it was started by upper caste ‘Jats’ to consolidate their power and position in the community. With passing years, their dominance increased, until they started controlling entire villages, sometimes as many as 25 to 30. The Khap refers to a system of social administration and organisation in the North-western Indian states such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and nowadays have expanded to other states like West Bengal, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu. The Khap and the villages under it, are governed by an elected council, mainly consisting of 10-15 men, who are united by caste and geography. The main rule that govern a Khap is that all boys and girls within a Khap are considered siblings and hence cannot marry. And if they marry, they are socially boycotted or killed for the sake of ‘honour’. In States where the various brutal murders in the name of honour are seen, there has been no doubt a rapid capitalist transformation, but here is a catch, that this has been coming up with the regressive feudal perception. Though there is a rapidly spreading awareness amongst the dalits, women and backward sections, regarding education and politics, but side by side there is a huge consolidation and strengthening of the khap panchayats in protecting the status quo. It has been observed that these totally unconstitutional khap panchayats have many a times declared verdicts which publically defy the law of land. The issuing of illegal diktas, attacks on young couples in the name of honour, molestation of the Dalits and people with progressive minds have been increasing manifold.

khap panchayat women and honour killing

Deepa Awasthi

Kalpaz

Price : `990

Pages : 296

In the backdrop of these conditions, the book Khap Panchayat: Women and Honour Killing by Deepa Awasthi is a timely intervention. This knowledge based edited book is collection of 20 chapters categorised in to four sections viz. a) understanding the Khap Panchayat, b) Khap Panchayat and discrimination of women, c) Khap Panchayats, Honour Crime and Laws, and d) Khap and other non state agencies. All these chapters are written by eminent scholars with extensive research. These chapters provide an insight into the origin of the Khaps, their constitution, legality of it and challenges created by them for the people and the government. In a nutshell, this book is a timely effort and will uncover the truth behind the hollow ideology of these khaps and will be an interesting read for the readers.

By Nilabh Krishna

17-07-2016

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