The dearth of marriageable girls is finally forcing Haryana's khap panchayats to move with the times.
With one of the worst sex ratios in the country in Jhajjar, the Rathi Naugavan khap panchayat is relaxing the age-old ironclad rules about marriages within 'bhaichara' villages.
Bhaichara villages are clusters of villages that fall within a radius of 15-20 km, and are considered one family. Marriage within these villages is strictly prohibited. And couples have been persecuted for going against this rule.
But the Rathi Naugavan khap, comprising nine villages, has now decided to allow such marriages, provided the bride and groom do not share the same gotra and reside in adjoining villages.
Haryana villages have long been suffering from dearth of girls and young men of marriageable age are often forced to remain single. Two villages, Behrana, part of Rathi Naugavan khap panchayat, and Dhimana, have a shockingly low sex ratio — 378 and 444.
On Monday, at a meeting in Baproda village, panches of nine villages took the decision. Naugavan panchayat chief Tasveer Singh Rathi said, “I hope others follow suit.”
While president of Meham Chobbisi khap panchayat of Rohtak district Chowdhary Randheer Singh welcomed the decision, others were not so lenient.