Haryana Khaps seek ban on marriages within same villages and live-in relationships. In the upcoming Maha Khap Panchayat will decide parents’ consent being made mandatory for live-in relationships and marriages, besides other issues.
Khap is a colloquial term for caste groups in Haryana, western UP and eastern Rajasthan.
What is this Khap Panchayat?
The term khap is derived from the Saka language word khatrap, which denotes a clan-specific region. A khap political unit is described as a collection of 84 villages.
- In India, the Khap panchayat mostly exists in the western Uttar Pradesh, and Eastern Rajasthan, but it is most widespread in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Bhiwani, Karnal, Jind, Kaithal, and Hisar districts of Haryana.
- Dahiya is considered to be the biggest khap till now. The clan of Dahiya in the Jat community is the largest, comprising 50+ villages.
- It is a concept of the patriarchal society and is based on principles of Bhaichara (brotherhood) and HukkaPaani (community living and eating together).
- Each individual carries the name of his/her village and gotra. Two people belonging to the same gotra or two people belonging to a different gotra but falling under the jurisdiction of the same Khap panchayat cannot get married. Such a marriage is considered incestuous.
- This is because members of the clan share the same patrilineal descent.
The existence and role of the Khap panchayats was first recognised during the Mughal period in clearer terms. Emperor Akbar even granted freedom to the Khaps in matters of religion and internal administration.
- They were exempted from taxes and the Khaps were allowed to perform their internal functions with full freedom.
- They were formed because the sufferers of armed conflicts and wars settled together and organised themselves into clans. It provided them a sense of belongingness and identity.
Categories of Khap Panchayats
A Khap Panchayat can be broadly classified into: Sarv Khap Panchayat, Khap Panchayat, Tappa Panchayat.
- Tappa Panchayat is mainly found in parts of Tamil Nadu and the omnipresent village panchayat which is most commonly found. The Sarv Khap is the largest panchayat which solves disputes of Khaps within its jurisdiction.
- It is an amalgamation of many Khaps within neighboring areas in a district which have been living collectively since ages. One major criticism of the Sarv Khap Panchayat is that the participation of women at the administrative level is negligible. Women are not allowed to be representatives even when crimes are committed against women.