The Khap panchayats, which have hogged the limelight in the recent times for all the wrong reasons — be it honour killings, issuing bizarre dictates post the infamous murder case of runway couple-Manoj-Babli in 2007, — a former Delhi University professor has authored a book on the infamous Khaps, their history and related issues.
Notably, the launch of the book-Khap Panchayato Ki Prasangikta, was done at Myna tourist complex by the author DR Chaudhry (79), who hails from Chautala village in Sirsa district.
Chaudhary who has also been the chairman of Haryana Public Service Commission decided to pen down the book in the beginning of 2011.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Chaudhry said, “Being from Haryana, I have attended several Khap panchayat meetings held inside and outside the state concerning various social issues in the last 40 years.”
On the reason of choosing to write a book on this topic, Chaudhary says, “The fact that lots of students from Delhi University, JNU and Punjab University, who were pursuing their Phd's on this topic used to contact me to know their history and talk about infamous honour killings.”
He adds that in reality there was no material available on this subject not only in Haryana but across the country, despite Khap having a strong presence in Haryana, Delhi, UP and some districts of Rajasthan since the 6th century.
Chaudhary adds, “When I started collecting material to trace the history of Khaps, their origin, presence, verdict proceedings and transformation in 21st century, I found MC Pardhan’s book – Political System of Jats, published in 1965, as his Phd thesis for Cambridge University.”
He said that the rest of the material was found at a village in Muzaffarnagar, a western district of UP, which was the headquarters of sarv Khap panchayat for more than 40 years.
Chaudhary adds, “To my surprise, Khaps in medieval age were more liberal and forward looking as compared to the present day Khaps.”
Citing an example, he says, “Earlier, reform and settlement of harmony in society used to be the core issue of Khaps, but the last few incidents in Haryana, individuals were targeted to settle scores or due to political rivalry.”
On the future of Khap panchayats, Chaudhary said, “With the changing time, Khap needs to be relevant with modern age and strike the right cord with the society, instead of exerting undue force.”