Friday, 15 June 2012

Finding lasting solutions for Khaap issues- An intellectual draught in Haryana

Finding lasting solutions for Khaap issues-
An intellectual draught in Haryana or a social tragedy ?
विकृतियों भरी खाप अथवा बौद्धिक संवाद के अभाव से उपजी जड़ता ?

Revelation of truth becomes painful, particularly when it comes as an expose from the third party sources. I firmly stand by my comment, though classified 'uncharitable', that acceptance of hospitality and donation in the form of money/cash is unethical because it cannot only harm the cause of the 'crusaders' in Haryana but also influence opinion that otherwise would have been expressed with full freedom. I also stand by my comment about strong indicators that pointed towards the possibility that the organizers could have willfully edited the program for transforming the material into final telecast shape so that the entire Jat community and the Khaaps could be placed in a bad shape, irrespective of the cases or incidents turning into despicable solutions such as murder by impulse perpetrated by certain red-heads in the community. Historically considering, the Khaap Headmen have been simple but aged people full of traditional wisdom in the past but of late they have not demonstrated higher capabilities in handling issues as complex as reviewing matrimonial alliances in the backdrop of caste affiliations, social status or the parity. However, intellectual and scientific inputs were invariably available to them from time to time to solve problems case by case depending upon the Khaap Headmen who could not have the mindset to utilize it. There might have been instances of critical consequences in which the entire mechanism collapsed in search of finding on the spot, acceptable and viable solutions. The reasons that might be attributable to this kind of failure could be lack of skill to elaborate ancient knowledge, lack of scientifically validated information, lack of access to authenticated version of the Hindu Indian treatises and linking them with existing conventions in addition to loss of confidence. However, an attempt having severe ramifications, as in this case, in the media mode (Ref.: Aamir’s episode of 3rd June 2012 on Star TV) for carrying forward an ‘incomplete message’ in portraying Khaaps as well as the Jat race was undignified and, therefore, unacceptable.  

The likelihood that the telecast-ready copy of the program was purposefully fashioned in a particular manner, cannot be denied: a version that could only have maligned, though inadvertently, the image of Khaaps and the Jat Race. Rather than retaining the clip in which the representatives of Khaaps might have defended their stance with convincible arguments, the anchor seemed to have put his words in their mouth. Only a scrutiny of the full length of footage of the recording done for the above noted episode could clear the confusion in this regard otherwise no argument, based on assumptions or contrived situations can resolve the disputable views being expressed in the media ever since the program was telecast. It appeared as if a chance to explain things in proper perspective was lost due to slippage of tongue. The telecast version only selectively retained those sections of the entire footage of the long conversations that could have fashioned the opinions in a fragmented story only targeting Haryana. The unassuming Headmen, which were present and were carefully shortlisted to appear in Mumbai and later on the dais through the program could not have wholly represented the views of the Jats w.r.t gruesome incidents relating to ‘honor killing’ or actually ‘represent’ the Khaap system. The revelation of role of a key or link person and his identification is also critical for clearing this vital aspect as to how only a selected few were called to Mumbai because Mr. Khan or his associates could not have discovered the names of people or agencies that were invited from Haryana however good their research was. 
The Meham Chaubisi was neither ever a Khaap nor viewed as Khaap in the strict and true sense of the status of traditional Khaap(s) but came to be known only as a sturdy confederation of 24 villages settled in the vicinity of Meham (including this town), which nowadays is comprised of six ‘Tapas’ (nuclear/parent villages) inhabited by not only one but several Gotras (sub-castes or clans) in the Jat community. The purpose of establishing the Meham Chaubisi Confederation was unique but of late one of its mandates came to be its concern i.e. the social issues that have the potential to create ripples manifesting into chaos or anarchy in the well-nit fabric of society. It had a history of creating severe problem for the agencies responsible for maintaining law and order in the otherwise peace loving village communities. I do not see any compelling points in the opinions held by the new-radicals and reformists in Haryana having only a narrow following regarding their fully fledged support of socially unviable matrimonial alliances i.e. through elopement, by breaking caste barriers and disregarding the healthy norms set by our sages after much contemplation. The time-tested conventions have proved the worth and relevance time and again in moments of crises -though exceptions were allowable to certain extent and in emergent situations as per the provisions enumerated in certain well-known treatises such as the ‘Manu Smriti’ and history of the ‘Dharmshastras’. In the name of liberty for licentiousness or for strengthening the macho image or for somebody else in our society assuming a role like Casanova, the peculiarities have not yet appeared necessitating sacrifice. Unless these two lighthouses of knowledge considered essential for running Hindu society are first condemned and discarded, we cannot overrule traditions but only to follow them.  
As licentiousness or incest is the worst form of having sexual liaison in a civilized society so is killing of human beings a despicable act. The views of an established radical social thinker and author from Haryana on this particular issue of Khaaps, pertaining to honor killings, have been already known through the media reports. Whereas a particular set of intellectuals in Haryana sown seeds of confusion and regularly published analytical and acceptable material in certain reputed publications it committed something else as its mandate while people watched their eloquence in a different mode. Also, scientific knowledge produced so far in the field of genetics supported by sound mathematical modeling since early 20th century, which has been so vital to public health, had not been widely and purposefully defined or explained so far to the people of Haryana –not even through the Vigyan Jathas of 1986 and 1991: least to talk about it in the normal continuing course. A worthy attempt for measuring public understanding of science in the village communities of Haryana with regard to issues concerning public health (read ‘genetics’ and anthropology here) would be welcome in this direction if taken up by these radicals/reformists/crusaders. This gap is worrisome despite the fact that heaps of monetary resources in this direction, as expenditure from public exchequer on various agencies such as National Council for Science & Technology Communication and Vigyan Prasar, including various State’s Councils for Science & Technology, has consistently flown for creating dubious ‘work’ for enhancing public understanding of science in our country. Huge sums of money had been regularly and zealously poured on awareness programs and on literacy mission in the past several decades but it were of no use as farming and other communities remain as ignorant and backward as if they were living in Stone Age. It may be of interest to the public to know that these groups and agencies utilized most of these financial resources for pursuing their own secret agenda in Haryana that openly rejected the traditional set of values and propagated liberalism of the most shameful type with unknown consequences only in the name of scientific awareness and making the resources as literate. The agenda used to run so subtly along with certain populist programs that nobody could smack their real designs. 
Due to reservations, deftly preserved and perpetuated by over 100 MPs, has caused to become a reason for social and inter-caste rivalry. The economic status of the dalits in Haryana has upwardly progressed whereas for the Jats, gone downward. The white collared dalits lead far better life than the poor or pauperized (Daridra) Jat do in a village. A majority of them nowadays lives on amount less than the subsistence allowance and may not even be able to achieve the minimum dietary standards as fixed for Indians in 2010 by the National Institution of Nutrition, Hyderabad. And in this scenario, why a Jat girl should not find it a superior proposition to set her destiny by own design for entering into a matrimonial alliance with a dalit boy having improved prospects of living comfortably. But who made the Jats a pauper and a seamless trap for allurement of young and beautiful Jat girls towards dalits was subtly laid? These uncomfortable queries that go beyond caste parity, need to be answered if we are aiming at reducing social strife. And why the Jat youth nowadays are finding it difficult to get a respectable job? Have we considered these points before discussing the issues of matrimony or approving of agitation by Jats for seeking reservation in matters of employment in organizations set up and run by Federal as well State Governments? What happened to numerous research papers that reflected poorly on our socio-economic, scientific and even diplomatic status? Do we wish a transformation into a cattle class society or becoming a progressive and scientific one? Certainly, a progressive one. But should it be at the cost of our social mores that served us good, as far as we could see? The valorous and democratic Jats (they never had a feudal mindset) cannot become a sacrificial goat but they will resort to repulsion of undesirable pressures on their social set up. We do not need more research for looking into the area of anthropological genetics for keeping a watch on the health of our population nor spending more time in finding out the veracity of the conventions and traditions or the judgments delivered by Khaaps but certainly need to put in place good guidelines for the community to prevent untoward incidents or solving contentious issues. Of late, the two streams of intellectuals have been susceptible to confrontation, for the first debating the need for upholding the age-old norms and reiterating the principles held in our treatises and the other going for unqualified/unbridled liberty to the individual in setting up matrimonial alliances by self. One should understand that there is a limit –in physical world as well as social, beyond which one cannot go. A healthy outcome of this debate is yet to appear in spite of scores of seminars and symposiums conducted by various organizations and groups in Haryana, so far. Until confrontation remains the consciously pursued way for debating the issues pertaining to ‘love theory’ between the young by overthrowing the established norms so essential to maintaining the social order, nothing concrete and acceptable is expected to come out. The protection provided by the police will soon become economically, administratively and socially unaffordable and may itself wither away because the machinery of the society may not be naturally attuned to sustain the arrangement for long. The focal question is that of the survival of ‘the couple’ that has entered into a kind of unapproved matrimony –better known as Gandharwa Vivah, by creating the worst scenario assuming that the alliance is inter-caste, the girl married to a lower caste boy, are unemployed, from different castes and religions and from the same or bhaichara gotra. Bringing change in the temperament of the Indian society is a big question despite Constitutional guarantees for safety, honor and a few liberties for the individuals. What this radical group in Haryana has been talking about for over two decades relates to personal law rather than the social law. The need of the hour is to shed personal views in the larger interest of the community and start working on developing guidelines for the Jats not only for matrimonial alliances but also for regulating (if it were possible) other social issues such as livelihood, rising consumption of alcohol, unemployment, eroding traditional food base, reforms in agricultural sector, effective and healthy working of the Gram Sabhas (not to be confused with elected Panchayats), management of traditional system of water engineering and techniques, documentation and conservation of heritage value properties, healthy cinema, reforms in education including re-designing the syllabus up to 12th standard, dressing codes as per the cultural ethos and the seasonal requirements, academic evaluation of all cultural activities that have fouled the social, economic as well as political milieu etc and moving people towards more progressive ideas and innovations rather than expending energy in pursuing most hackneyed, degenerative and stale ideas laden with outmoded communist ideology. Firing salvos of allegations and smartly pointing out shortcoming in other’s views cannot solve the numerous problems faced by the Jats. The behavior of a large number of highly educated persons in Haryana w.r.t issues concerning the Khaaps as well as village communities has been like a Sphinx, which also seems to suffer from a kind of paranoia and intellectual atrophy. In view of this more time will be needed before the society come out with a collective wisdom to solve these issues of life and death otherwise there will hardly be a difference between a stray dogs and a bitch than the human individuals belonging to a civilized society.  
One appreciable aspect that has emerged nowadays is sharing of these opinions through the internet on various forums such as the Face Book or Twitter. This is, perhaps, a rightful mode of sharing diverse opinions so that burning issues open up for public scrutiny and comment. I welcome this debate being renewed with vigour and taking shape of a public debate. It may gain momentum as the debate gets powerful inputs and wisely forwarded arguments. We must bring this out from private discussions to public domain as desired by well-informed and concerned instigators.
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In fact there should only be Rule of Law and if the Khaaps have earned a bad name it is because of two factors: dirty politics and dubious followers of political parties and decline in the quality of people’s behavior and quantum of their efforts in understanding the dynamics of the caste ridden social system.  Less than expected stature may often be seen of the persons as demonstrated by a aware, law-abiding citizen of India. By the way let it be reiterated that Khaaps have never endorsed killing of young persons, which have entered into matrimonial alliances on their own volition or 'illicitly' so done following the elopement or through other unapproved means.  Regrettably, our scholars have not done worthwhile research of an excellent quality on these issues, earlier and for reference we have been dependent on obsolete treatises and foreign social scientists’ theories that are not applicable to Indian societal set up.
Panches/Headmen in a meeting of the Khaap were never 'elected' but nominated on site by general sanction of the gathering of the people keeping in view the reputation and age of the persons, their background and also if it pertained to an issue from a village to which they belonged. If the issue belonged to the village habitants from which they hailed, their nomination could not get approval for becoming one of the five Headmen. Following a verdict, the temporarily raised body of Headmen dissolved.  The only contention was that the Khaaps should have been neither condemned nor their image tarnished for the crime (s) perpetrated by on their own by agitated or hurt individuals or members of a particular family that ganged up against each other. No Headmen of a Khaap, even subtly, ever support a criminal.
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Daulat Ram Chaudhry wrote 
on Face Book (18.6.2012): 
Omar Khayyam to muezzin, a person who leads the call to prayer in a mosque:
"You say rivers of wine flow in heaven, is heaven a tavern for you?/ You say two houris (fairies) await each believer there, is heaven a brothel for you?"
The mullahs, pujaris, priests, rabis and the ilk make this life dull and drab with a promise of gay and colourful life in the next birth. The next birth, if any, is in the womb of time ad as such unknown and uncertain. So why to think about it? Similarly, past is gone and cannot be retrieved. Hence, it is futile to brood over it. So, live in the present and make the best out of it. Drink the present life to its dregs. 
Any belief system becomes narrow, sectarian and obscurantist once it assumes the form of organized religion. So what we need is not religion but religiosity-compassion, loving kindness and mindful caring for all living beings around us. dharm nahin, dharmmikta chahie manvata ko. So, down with all mullahs, pujaris, priests, rabis -the useless tribe which has done immense harm to mankind.
Friends, for the next some days I am going to disappear into deep hills.Hope to be in your company after I am back


Replied: 
Your views are true Sir, but Jats are rustic and backward that is why they are asking for a 'backward' status and reservation. This is Earth is also not heaven. You have to deal here with duffers and ignorant people. We make a mistake when we wish to bring them up to 'our' level. Then, a confrontation starts and they accuse us of vested interested and, we blame them for being illiterate and duffer. No amount of awareness other then fear and pressurized education has worked with Jats. There is a saying too: जाट ना मान्ने फ़र्ज़ नथोड़ा मान्ने मर्ज़ न; ना मान्ने क़र्ज़ ना, अर मान्ने सिर्फ गरज़ न. Why aren't NGOs and other interested individuals run a campaign in Haryana for total elimination of the concept of Khaap or even tracing its vestige and completely wiping it out of the public (Jats) memories? Why can't we re-design our text books and fill them also will local history telling them about the topography, physiography, water systems, fauna and flora, about good human endeavors rather than taking up hackneyed issues like honor killings etc.? Why should we continue to show allegiance to a rotten system of administration of the tribes and see them functioning life cruel feudal Lords? Why we think that we lose votes if we suggest harsh steps for cleansing of social evils like Khaaps and so many others. But why should we provide subtle support to elopement and bring a psychological and social chaos to ourselves? Love doesn’t mean elopement and doesn’t also mean that it always has to see violent response from society. I know there were parents that agreed to marry their children because they liked each other and wanted to become life partners. Then why the teachers and students of the departments our educational Institutions of higher learning such as the MDU, GJU, CDLU, KU etc. have never officially debated these vital issues that had severe repercussions on all of us? Why they shun these topics to bring to the fore the reality and suggest ways and means of their complete routing? I have known that in Haryana in the name of spreading social and scientific awareness how certain groups reared up in leftist ideology have been spreading its philosophy, very subtly, in Haryana and have cornered large sums of money, built palatial houses, owned cars, enticed girls into matrimony that worked with them and spread irrelevant and undesirable conceptions about old Indian values and ethos. Could you or anybody else control them? They took millions of rupees as grant (public money) from both the Central as well as State Govts and spent it to achieve their own agenda? It seems when these people failed to achieve the agenda and could penetrate much in the Jat hinterland, they resorted to criticizing Khaaps and not the crime. Khaap is an abstract entity and its history has been clean. Their actions have been misconceived by the so called leftists and the criticism of an abstract entity is wrong. Let they criticize the criminals and help in catching them but I do not agree to the method of elopement. It has serious implications and ramifications for our social system.

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