Monday, 21 October 2013

Jats reiterate their stand on old conventions at Khap meeting (Chahal and Nandal Khaps)


I had prior information and formal invitations for attending on 20.10.2013 conventions of the two Khap Panchayats -a body comprising of Headmen of villages from the same Gotra or clan. One was from the Chahal and the other one from the Nandal -both Jats. The first one is represented by 185 villages and later, 52. These villages are not necessarily inhabited only by the Chahal and the Nadal Jats but may have hetero-communal composition of several communities. However, these two clans have dominance or principal share in the village estates. The Chahal Jats had their convention organized first time at village Nimri, 34 kilometers away from Rohtak (I live here), which is said to be the nuclear village of all Chahals and the second clan held the convention at newly erected magnificent mansion called 'Nandal Bhawan', which is situated only half a kilometer away from my residence across the twin canals -Bhalot sub-branch and Jawahar Lal Nehru Canal.

I opted to attend the convention of the Chahals at Nimri because it was the first ever occasion they organized it at the parent village. This village is said to have been settled by one Neema (नीमा) sometime in the early fifteenth century or 30 generations ago from now. But some elderly persons maintain that it was settled in the 1210 AD. However, this small village is located towards the south of Kharak Kalan village, 30 kilometers from Rohtak on the Rohtak-Bhiwani state highway. Its other major neighboring village is Baund. Kharak Kalan and Baund both have roots in antiquity and are Panwar Rajpoot estates, which have several heritage value properties such as havelis, masonry tanks and temples, quite attractive from architectural and tourist’s point of view. Regrettably, most of these properties face neglect by owners or are in ruins that need immediate protection and conservation.

The Headmen of the Chahal Khap had several items for the day on the agenda such as honoring the men and women of the Khap villages that have shown excellence in their pursuits or public service and, secondly, framing opinions and announcing decisions on certain socially sizzling issues such as 'honour killing', female foeticide, ways and means of empowering the youth, naming of the institutions etc. Kavita Chahal, the young and powerful women in boxing who was honored with Arjuna Award by Govt. of India was felicitated by the Khap Headmen with a memorabilia made of pure silver and cash awards provided. Dr. Harswaroop Singh Chahal, son of Shri Harnand Rai ji, a renowned educationist and teacher, was present in the convention to grace the proceedings. Nowadays, he is the Vice-chancellor Maharishi Dayanand University.

The Headmen of Chahal Khap were unanimous in making following announcements:

(i) Condemning the honor killing
(ii) No support to dowry and Kaaj or feast in memory of the deceased
(iii) Proper dress code for women
(iv) No support to foeticide
(v) Support to youngsters who excel in studies and sports etc.

One noticeable feature at the convention of the Chahal Khap held at Nimri was attendance of at least 150 women. About the convention held at Nandal Bhawan I have no information about participation of women as I did not attend but as the newspaper reports suggest it were similar as above.

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