Lately there have been many murders or honor killings especially in the state of Haryana ordered by the Khap panchayats and since I did not know much about the concept of Khap I set upon a little research about the same and here is the simplistic definition that I found –
Khap is a cluster of villages united by caste and geography.It is as old as 14th century started by upper caste jats to consolidate their power and position.The main rule is that all boys and girls within a khap are considered siblings.[ http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/khap-panchayat-in-india.html]
I do not know about the accuracy of this statement but it definitely creates a image that quite closely defines the urban image of current khap panchayats. When I hear about a pre-historic order passed by such organizations I visualize a set of 5 really old, obstinate and have never been out of their ‘khap’ guys, who have always believed in the ‘my way or death highway’ principle. I suspect most of these men would be ‘wife beaters’, not educated beyond whatever the educational institutions of their Khaps have to offer – Matriculation??? and never have done anything productive in their lives, just have been meddling in other people’s lives like demi-gods??!! Hirlaious isn’t it – demi-gods who can’t walk without their latthhs(strong- tall wooden sticks), who smoke hukkahs for time pass, whose own life is probably a pile of crap. What role models!!! I understand the general fabric of the public that they rule(yes, rule!!) is like or even worse than them but I still feel that those people can do better. They deserve better representatives and role models, if nothing else then atleast younger and a more educated lot.
What about the governments? Why have they been so supportive of such antique institutes which end up challenging what the constitution of this country says? Vote banks!? Maybe.
What’s wrong with the same gotra marriage? And what’s wrong with inter-caste marriages? I think this Khap dudes are pretty against both such kinds and in addition they are not suckers for love marriages either. So heaven forbid but if one happens to be part of a khap and that person’s family believes in the khap’s diktat then he/she can’t really fall for a person in his/her village or the 83 villages close to it(ha! Ha! Ha! It is really amusing!). One can’t really fall in love with someone from another caste which means any liaison in the gotra neutral world is not going to end up in a marriage unless you are selective enough to prune out the same caste people who are not same gotra and then design to fall for them. And even if you are lucky enough for that to happen you’re still doomed since the khap guys mantra is ‘there aint gonna be no love marriage’.
Since this is about love and marriages such cases get picked by media and hence reach people like you and me. I am sure these guys come up with equally or maybe even more ridiculous rulings for the rest of the mundane things and are able to make hell out of people’s lives in various dimensions and not just once. Such multi-tasking dudes aren’t they
I don’t see use of force as a way of getting rid of such institutions coz then it would not be different from what we’d be trying to get rid of. Also I see lot of protests and the government losing a lot of votes or maybe losing power altogether. But a slow and steady way of educating the young ones, helping them in being more open minded and helping them understand that what might have made sense in 14th century might have just made sense in 14th century only.
Till that happens, my sympathies are with all the people who are part of such khaps if they are against the Khap’s ideologies and even if they are for it. I think the latter category needs to know about what all a human being can do and achieve instead of worrying about trivialities of who marries whom or whether a woman is wearing 2 feet long veil or not.
And by the way Khapp means noise in Punjabi :)