Unwarranted condemnation of the Khaps
-a dangerous trend
Mr. Ajay Kumar in his ‘Khap Panchayats: A Socio-Historical Overview’ (Economic & Political Weekly, 26 Jan. 2012) could not fully capture the perspective of the subject in regard to the obscure factors that were responsible for the evolution of a Khap, particularly its functioning. Whether it was the Sultanate or Mughal era or the brutal rule of the British East India Company, the issue of threat to security of life and property was paramount to the village communities. Obviously, as per the traditional social structuring that we inherited, it was always the majority community that dominated other minor communities and assumed the responsibility of securing the right to life and guarding property –mainly land and cattle. In post-independence era when the threat to life and property subsided, this responsibility on Khaps got involuntarily shed and there was no reason that it needed to be invoked. However, Mr. Ajay Kumar did not take notice of the socio-economic dynamics and the influence of caste politics that significantly influenced the Jats. The influence was subtle and the Jats did not kindly take the rise of the lower caste leaders that challenged their ‘authority’ or shared the power for controlling the public resources. No Jat would ever willingly give his consent that his daughter marries a boy of the lower or other castes. The notion is so deeply rooted in the psyche, that pliability to this age old social norm would endanger his life, respectful existence of his family in the community and the right to landed property. It is easier to think of re-distribution of land but impossible as it would disturb the whole socio-economic fabric and create way for perpetual chaos. The solutions lie not in inter-caste marriages and re-distribution of land, a line of action which seems so dear to socialists or Indian leftists, but tolerance, co-existence and economic support to the poor in making them capable irrespective of caste and creed. It sounds prejudiced to always condemn Khaps which is a surrealist notion rather than a concrete object. The media’s trend of unwarranted condemnation of the Khap is dangerous as it has critically annoyed the Jats in which a lethal attitude towards the media is fast developing. Instead of nurturing this trend, the Jats should be inspired to think about solutions rather than invoking them for confrontation on this issue. It will only aggravate situation. Moreover, the translation from Hindi to English seems somewhat flawed. Moreover, in the name of history one should not present selectively but rather objectively. Regrettably, the Jats have suffered due an absence of an authentic history of the Race. It is not a caste but a race, which fact should be clearly understood by novices in history.