Sunday, 15 July 2012

Mahapanchayat of Khap resolves to fight foeticide in Haryana




बीबीपुर में १४ जुलाई को संपन्न हुई महापंचायत की कार्रवाई और वहां सर्वसम्मति से घोषित की गई दो सिफारिशों -कन्या भ्रूण हत्या पर रोक और कन्या भ्रूण हत्या के लिये दोषी पाये जाने पर मृत्यु दंड, के बारे में दिनांक १५ तारीख के समाचारपत्रों में व्यापक समाचार प्रकाशित हुये हैं. १०० से अधिक खापों के मुखियाओं की उपस्थिति में संपन्न हुये इस ऐतिहासिक सम्मेलन से कन्या भ्रूण हत्या से हरियाणा प्रदेश की जनसँख्या में स्त्री और पुरुष के अनुपात में गंभीर अंतर आने से राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर बदनामी की जो लहर पिछले कई वर्षों से चल रही थी उस पर चर्चा थम कर अब एक न्याय मोड़ पर आकर थमी है. इससे आगे खाप मुखियाओं को सोचना होगा की यहाँ लिये गये निर्णयों को लागू करने के लिये वे अपनी अथवा सरकारी व्यवस्था पर निर्भर होंगे. हालाँकि ऐसे संकेत दिये गये की खाप मुखिया ही इस बारे सचेत रहकर कुछ कार्रवाई करेंगे लेकिन समस्या को निपटाने से पहले तो उन्हें बहुत से तकनीकी और जैव वैज्ञानिक पहलुओं के बारे में विस्तार से न केवल स्वयं जानना होगा अपितु इस बारे में जागरूकता भी फैलानी होगी. दूसरा, कानूनी तौर पर यह देखना होगा कि कन्या भ्रूण हत्या की प्राथमिक सूचना कौन व्यक्ति, किस जरिये से, कहाँ और किसके पास दर्ज करवायेगा ? फिर, इसकी जांच कैसे होगी और कौन करेगा ? कन्या भ्रूण हत्या के केसों कि मॉनिटरिंग और उचित कार्रवाई कैसे होगी ? इसके लिये दोषी पाये गये व्यक्ति/व्यक्तिओं को, जिनमें महिलायें भी हो सकती हैं, किस प्रकार कि सजा का प्रावधान करना उचित होगा. दोष और अपराध कि गंभीरता और इसके नतीजतन समाज पर पडने वाले प्रभावों के बारे में सही आकलन कौन और किस आधार पर करेगा, आदि-आदि ? खैर एक अच्छी शुरुआत के लिये बीबीपुर नौ-गामा कि पंचायत और जाट-बैल्ट के खाप मुखिया स्वयं को बढ़ायी तो दे ही सकते हैं की उन्होंने पहली बार किसी देश और विदेश के मीडिया के जरिये उन लोगों का ध्यान खींचने में सफलता हासिल कि है जो खापों और उनके मुखियाओं पर आरोप लगते नहीं थक रहे थे कि वे अपनी मर्जी से विवाह करने वाले प्रेमी जोड़ों को मरने का फरमान जारी करते हैं. अब देखना यह है कि खाप मुखिया अपने संकल्प को आगे कैसे बढ़ते हैं. निस्ससंदेह इस महती कार्य में उन्हें महिलाओं का सहयोग बडे स्तर पर चाहिये. महिलाओं कि भागीदारी का इससे अच्छा अवसर पहले कभी नहीं आया था ! इस अवसर पर शोधार्थियों और वरिष्ठ सामाजिक चिंतकों और लेखकों की उपस्थिति भी प्रशंनीय थी.

I think we are making the issue more complex. The purpose of holding the conclave was to put across a message that female foeticide will be intolerable henceforth and that the Headmen of various Khaaps approve of it. They provided sort of social sanction to it. This type of sanction is necessary to move the spirit forward. It is for the social scientists, medical doctors, bio-scientists, geneticists, administrators, educationalist, publishers, authors and, of course, politicians to see how to push this agenda for the future so that a social evil prevalent for long in Haryana and that changed the demographic character can be controlled and people begin to take the birth of a girl child in healthy spirit. Society can only move forward with the presence of women in adequate numbers. They are the key to survival of human race. Everyone understands this. But when it became technologically possible to determine the sex of foetus, the un- or undereducated, illiterate folks started taken advantage for illegally removing the female foeticide. Its bad impact was soon felt and it were they village communities now that understood the disadvantage and moved in a direction to take them to secure a better future's by holding the Mahapanchayat. The Khaap Headmen -without detailed discussion and scholarly comments, understand what course of action is needed henceforth. The social, technological and medical issues can be taken up for discussion by other agencies by involving Khaaps. Two great things happened on the 14th of July : Moving in a positive direction and registering the event at the level of the State Administration at the highest-ranking level that was quick to announce a hefty reward of Rs. 1 crore to the Bibipur Panchayat. The rewarding of Panchayat will haven great impact on this movement to save the girl Child. Our countrymen must take notice of the benevolence of the CM of Haryana who saw an opportunity on this occasion to make good contribution. We appreciate his motive.



The Tribune report published on 17 July 2012 -'Foeticide goes unrecorded in Haryana' is an eye opener for both policy planners as well as demographers and also significant for social activists, critiques and the Khaap Headmen to take note of. The incidents like female foeticide goes unreported/unrecorded is because it is kept as a highly guarded secret in the community with the connivance of the ladies of the household as well as neighborhood. Nobody comes forward to report the pre-term disappearance of pregnancy even after the fact comes to the notice of many. How the Sarpanch of the villagers and whistle blowers, the activists and the medical service providers will do it is yet to be seen. The blowing of lid will require great courage and the whistle blowers face immense risk to their own life. Social repercussions for the whistle blowers will be harder to face. There is no legal relief to those blow the lid is blown. The whole social fabric is so thickly woven that any sort of transparency is impossible to attain. Unless the women of the household areas properly educated and empowered by the menfolk nothing concrete is expected to come out. Until then, the condition of the women in rural Haryana will continue to be down.

Three recent news reports (uploaded as images here) are worth taking notice:entitled as -'Here's the proof: Women more intelligent than men', 'Village vows to let girls live' & 'Child marriages: India acts mature' all appeared in The Times of India on 17 July 2012 and that too in the National Edition published from Delhi. Looking at these news items and carefully going through the content may be interpreted in a positive way by right thinking people, particularly those that are associated with women and child issues. They are also of great use to researchers that do research on various Khaap activities termed nefarious and anti-women. Marrying a girl before she comes of age and becomes capable in rearing children is a sure sign of backwardness. In Haryana people have long ago realized that the betrothal should not be done unless the married child (even if at an immature age) should not be done unless she attains the age of 18 yrs. Secondly, if the women have proven to be more intelligent than men we have been committing a great crime by aborting the female foetuses because by adopting this attitude we have been eliminating the number of intelligent human being from our society and thereby hurting the progress of society. Thirdly, Anahita Mukherji has done a commendable job in visiting Bibipur and talking to cross section of people -mostly women and Mr. Sunil Jaglan, the active Sarpanch of the village. Her report is worth appreciating that reflects a change of attitude of the media persons that operate on national level.
 

Following update is added

My article “Simmering Identity Crisis at Khaps” published in the Tribune dated July 27, 2012 has eminently served its purpose. It has aroused a lot of interest and controversy among the thinking beings. It has invited comments from many friends on Face Book. One July 27, my telephone constantly remained busy from early in the morning till late at night.The next morning also I received a number of calls. Almost all the callers were appreciative and largely agreed with my analysis.

On 27th I received a call at about 11 AM from some Yes Pal Malik. First of all, I could not place him properly. Then suddenly it dawned on me that the caller was from western U.P. and President of All India Jat Aarashan Samiti. I never had the chance of meeting the gentleman face to face.

My article dealt with the Bibipur khap panchayat conclave held in Haryana and another panchayat meeting near Baghpat in western U.P. which had put several restrictions on women below 40 years of age- not going to the market alone, ban on use of mobile etc. to save them from eve teasing. Mr. Malik complained that I, being a Jat, had maligned the Jat community in my article. He elaborated that there was no fatwa or firman, but only a suggestion to save women from eve teasers. I argued that whatever be the nomenclature, it was a decision to penalize the victims and letting the wrong doers go scott free. A panchayat worth its name should haul up the anti social elements, hand them over to the police or approach their families to apply a check on them, failing which such families should be socially boycotted- hukka pani bandh- an age old tradition in the khap panchayat. There was no justification for confining women to the household to save them from eve teasers. Then he harangued on paramparas- traditions , conventions and all that. I stuck to my guns.This continued for more than half an hour.

At this point Mr. Malik got exasperated and blurted out that there was a conspiracy by the media and some politicians to defame the Jats and their leaders. He insinuated that Hooda(CM, Haryana) must have given me ten -twenty thousand rupees to write this article.

At this juncture, I lost my temper and got infuriated. I always avoid getting angry. Anger is a destructive emotion which harms you more than the target of your anger. However, I could not restrain myself. I asked him not to utter this kind of non sense without knowing the background of the man in question. I retorted that every body was not a saleable commodity in society. As a Member and Chairman, Haryana Public Service Commission, I made recruitment for a number of years and many officers were recruited during my tenure. I challenged Mr. Malik to produce a single individual who could state that he/she had paid me even a single paisa for my help. Then I further retorted that while analyzing a situation I did not spare anybody. Even in my article in question I have referred to official correspondence which put Hooda govt. in poor light. I am always guided by Socrates’ concept of an intellectual as a gad fly who shakes the people out of complacence without caring for the consequences. I told Mr. Malik that I never thought that he was a man of such low level, it was beneath my dignity to talk to such a man, and I switched off my mobile.

I know that people like Mr. Malik come down to character assassination when they have no logical argument to support their contention. Some friends have advised me that I should avoid getting into arguments with such people by using the alibi of being busy in a meeting or some such thing. I find two difficulties in following this advice. First, reluctance to talk on my part would smack of arrogance. Secondly, the supporters of traditional panchayat system and their critics seem to be in two enemy camps arrayed against each other and there is no communication between the two. My feeling is that there are some well-meaning people in both the camps, though their world views might differ. Door must be kept open for dialogue and at some stage some common ground on some issues might be found.
Bravo! Sir. You aptly educated Mr. Malik -self-styled leader of the Jats, having gained no ground anywhere in village communities of Haryana. He is said to have huge stocks of ill-gotten money and have been brain washing the innocents in the... name of securing reservations for the Jats of Haryana. He was also charged with instigating the mobs at Mayyar village to take to arson and violence in which both private and public properties were damaged. Your reply needed the kind of firmness you depicted while speaking to him, which is viewed as a conduct above board. We have always recognized you as an upright person and a superb intellectual. Thanks for sharing the contents of the conversation with friends.

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