The terror of Khap panchayats

Apropos of L.H. Naqvi’s article “The terror of Khaps: Leadership cowers before kangaroo courts” (Perspective, Oct 17), who has authorised the Khaps to interfere in the personal lives of citizens? The Khaps active in Haryana, Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are stuck with a feudal mindset. They erroneously believe that they possess some extra-judicial powers to regulate people’s conduct. The Khaps have played havoc with the lives of many young couples all in the name of Khap and family honour.

These gotra based Khaps can play an important role for the uplift of the rural masses provided, of course, they come out of their old mindset. They should concentrate on social problems such as the declining sex ratio, alcohol and drug addiction and in promoting harmony between the upper and marginalised castes. Laws alone cannot outwit the greed and century-old prejudices unless there is an attitudinal change in the public. Here Khaps and organisations like Arya Samaj can lend their help.

Dr K.S. BALAIN, Sonepat


It is a shame that in this age of globalisation and information revolution, Khap panchayats persist in country. They are self-proclaimed custodians of public morality and an outdated caste system. Those who believed that with rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, casteism will go have been proved wrong. Our political damagogues are squarely to blame for this.

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Expecting them to clear the stables, as Mr Naqvi has done, is wishful thinking. After Independence, political masters, instead of rooting out casteism, used it as an instrument of political mobilisation. With the passage of time, this dependence has increased so much that all political strategies are chalked out with an eye on the caste factor and it is treated as a well-articulated basis of organisation. Prof. W.H. Morris Jones has rightly remarked that “politics is more important to castes, and castes are more important to politics than ever before”.



Khaps can’t be the builders of a democratic and civilised India. Rather they endanger the unity, peace, harmony and progress of our country by openly promoting casteism, communalism and fissiparous tendencies. To check these anti-social activities, they ought to be rooted out because they have become the very epitome of barbarism denying justice, equality and liberty to law-abiding citizens.


Title role

Apropos of Surendra Miglani’s “Title tattle” (Spectrum, Oct 17), Sohrab Modi produced two movies with the title Jailor. Miglani has missed mentioning the names of Do Bigha Zameen, Bandhni, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Do Aankhen Baarah Haath, Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne, Awara, Shri 420 and other successful Hindi films whose titles were not only catchy but also very apt for the stories of those films.

C.R. Jindal, Chandigarh

Peripheral acts

This refers to “Chandigarh losing its edge” by Aditi Tandon and Chitleen K. Sethi (Spectrum, Sept 26). The Periphery Act seems to have lost its relevance in view of the ballooning population of the city on the one hand and the non-availability of land for housing on the other. The UT Administration should extend the Lal Dora so as to provide the much-needed land for housing its increasing population. The administration’s refusal to allow vertical growth adds to the pressure for horizontal expansion. The government should legalise private colonies and multi-storey buildings in and around the city. However, these colonisers should be made to plant enough trees and provide green belts for the city to breathe.

Sushil Kaushal, Ludhiana

Trapped in white

This refers to Evelyn Thornton’s “Woes of a white woman”, (Spectrum, Oct 3). During her two years of living in India, she faced incessant verbal, visual and physical sexual harassment from men on the streets.

Before this, a British woman author who fell in love with an Indian taxi driver wrote about her bitter experience in her novel Yadav — a Roadside Love Story that Asians lost no opportunity to pounce upon a white woman. The review of the book was published in The Tribune.

Such attempts at molesting foreign women by men in India are indeed very shameful. Those indulging in such acts should be dealt with sternly.

R.C. SHARMA, Kurukshetra

Green guard

The poem “Trees” by Parul Singla (Saturday Extra, Oct 2) underscores the debt we owe to nature. It has been estimated that a single tree living for 50 years generates oxygen worth Rs 5.3 lakh, recycles soil at Rs 5.4 lakh, controls Rs 10.5 lakh of polluted air and provides shelter to birds and animals estimated at Rs 5.3 lakh.

Besides, it provides flowers, fruit and lumber. So when one tree is felled, the area loses nearly Rs 32 lakh. Parodying Wordsworth, I must say:

Have I not reason to lament

cutting a tree, what harm

incurred by man.

Vijay Sheel Jain, Ludhiana

Colours of contradiction

In his “Classics in Colour”, (Spectrum, Oct 3), V. Gangadhar incorrectly mentions that K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam was released in 1959. This semi-historical film was released on August 5, 1960, at Maratha Mandir theatre in Bombay. Most of the present generation of cinegoers have little knowledge of Urdu and may not be able to understand the dialogues in that language.

In 1951,the Censor Board cleared the black and white print of Aan for exhibition. However, Aan was released in colour in 1952. Its popular numbers i.e. Mohabbat chume jin ke haath and Takkra gaya tum se dil hi to hai were sung by Hemant Kumar and Dil mein chhupa ke pyar ka toofan ley chaley was sung by Habib Wali Mohammed. These three songs were later re-recorded in the voice of Mohammed Rafi.

M. L. Dhawan, Chandigarh


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