Khap panchayats an anathema to rule of law

The outrageous verdict of a khap panchayat in Haryana’s Asand village dissolving the marriage of Sonia and Rampal and directing them to live as brother and sister is a grim reminder of the feudalistic mindset among some communities today. Sadly, the district administration had failed to take steps to save the innocent mother and her yet-to-be-born child from the trauma being inflicted by some self-serving feudal lords.

Khap panchayats and caste associations with primordial loyalties are an anathema to the rule of law and democratic polity. Such groups are autocratic and arbitrary, governed by anti-people norms. They act as formidable impediments in the establishment of a truly democratic order. Ironically, they thrive on political patronage.

It is time the government enacted a legislation to check the growth of khap panchayats. They should engage themselves in social reform rather than sullying the fair name of a community known for its bravery and broadmindedness.

SUBHASH CHANDER SHARMA, Senior Lecturer in English,
MDU PG Regional Centre, Rewari




The circumstances under which the decree was passed by the khap panchayat raises many questions about the role of orthodox values in a state vetoing duly elected gram panchayats guaranteed under the Constitution, the citizens’ right to select their life partners and the very future of democracy.

Haryana is not the only exception. In Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh too, such de facto institutions representing dominant castes and undemocratic traditions have been emasculating the status, power and authority of the panchayats that are expected to work for communities’ interests. The 73rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1992, has given the much-awaited political space to the SCs/STs and women to articulate their concerns. However, these irresponsible bodies have become more aggressive to defend their right to strangulate free ideas.

It is a matter of serious concern that khap panchayats are least bothered about daunting challenges facing Haryana like the widening male-female ratio, falling standards in education, unemployment and shirking culture. Had they been active on these issues, Haryana could have overtaken Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kerala in the Human Development Index.

Dr RAJKUMAR SIWACH, Lecturer in Public Admn, Choudhary Devi Lal University, Sirsa


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rightly passed an order directing the khap panchayat not to interfere in Sonia and Rampal’s marriage. The Jats of Haryana need to learn from the Jats of Punjab, who have accepted marriages from the same gotras. There are several examples, but let me cite an important one.

Parkash Singh Badal and Surinder Singh Kairon, son of Partap Singh Kairon, are both Dhillon Jats. Both have married their children. There was no hue and cry. Muslim Jats have gone a step further. They even marry their first cousins. I am sorry to say that Punjabi Jats are progressive and broad-minded but Haryana Jats aren’t. There is need for urgent improvement.

DEEP BRAR, Faridkot

Cultural pollution in HP

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its rich cultural heritage and captivating natural beauty. The people are simple, innocent and sweet. The folk songs mirror the cultural profile of the state and its customs and traditions.

Earlier, folk songs were popularised through audio cassettes but now audio-video CD’s are in vogue. Of late, the market is flooded with video CD’s. The artists are coming out with a new album every other day. However, the albums are not free from the ill-effects of western culture. The state is well known for its pahari dress and traditional costumes. Ironically, the artists in the music albums are shown donning jeans, T-shirts and minis. Besides, while recording the music albums, the focus is more on the female body than on the bounties of nature — its snow-covered hills, pine groves and rivulets.

The producers of these albums must shun vulgarity and concentrate on the cultural facets of the state to present a better picture of Himachal abroad.

Dr VINOD K. CHOPRA, Hamirpur

Howard’s victory

John Howard’s victory in the federal elections very recently proves that the sensitive Australian voters have voted against international terrorism. The AGE (Melbourne) admitted editorially that Howard has managed the Australian economy well and he deserved to be the Prime Minister. Interest rates and inflation are well under control and the Australian economy is robust.

The Australian Labour Party (ALP) must learn a lesson from its defeat. The ALP and the left wrongly interpret the phenomena of international terrorism. The Marxists should understand that terrorism is not a class conflict but Fascism at its worst and should be dealt with as such.

The Australian elections will have repercussions on the coming American presidential elections. President Bush rightly says that America is safer with Saddam Hussein in jail. Like fellow Australians, Americans too will give their verdict against terrorism by electing President Bush for another term.

AMARJIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)

Keep politics at bay

We send our children to educational institutions to learn and acquire knowledge in various disciplines and not to take part in strikes, dharnas etc. Students, teachers and non-teaching staff can have their unions. However, elections to these bodies must remain peaceful, with a short campaigning period and canvassing to be allowed only by the word of mouth. Outsiders and politicians should not be allowed to interfere in these elections in any manner. What happened in the Panjab University elections recently is a matter of grave concern for the people, students and teachers.

I appeal to all concerned to allow teachers to teach and students to learn in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere. Do not turn these temples of learning into battlefields for petty personal and political interests.

Col. D.S. DHALIWAL (retd), Patiala

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |