Keeping up with the times, the Kajla khap panchayat has launched its website to spread its ideology, specifically targeting youngsters.
The website (www.kajlakhap.in) is probably the maiden digital initiative where a khap panchayat, criticised for its controversial stand against love marriages in the recent years, has set its agenda in the public domain.
On its website, the Kajla khap lists its promise to fight against social evils such as female foeticide, lavish marriages, post-funerary rituals and alcohol abuse while it vows to promote progressive farming and inter-caste marriages.
But like several other khap panchayats of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, representatives of the Kajla khap also condemn intra-gotra or sub-caste marriages and demand a Central legislation to ban such marriages.
The brain behind the initiative is 74-year-old Rajmal Kajal from Hisar, who is a former secretary of khadi and village industries board. He said khap panchayats should adopt modern tools of communication to apprise the younger generation about social norms.
"As people from all age groups are hooked to internet through their mobile phones and computers, we also decided to launch a website to inculcate social norms of brotherhood. We will also use the website for social auditing of the Kajal khap and invite suggestions on all important issues raised by us," said Rajmal, who is also the website editor.
AMEND HINDU MARRIAGE ACT
National president of the Kajla khap Suraj Bhan Kajal told Hindustan Times that they would write to the President and parliamentarians to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in accordance to cultural traditions.
"Age-old social norms do not allow marriages within a gotra or the families living in the adjoining villages and we demand these provisions to be included in the Hindu Marriage Act. However, we strongly disapprove of cases where a married couple, who violated matrimonial social norms, were punished by the community and label them as brothers and sisters," said Suraj Bhan, a former Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator from Jullana in Jind. He said the Kajla khap supports inter-caste marriages.
A former chairman of the Haryana finance commission, Suraj Bhan said the khap panchayats could play an important role in sensitising the community of its traditions and customs without forcing anyone to accept it.
"The existing law does not bar anyone of marrying within a gotra or the same village and no one has the right to take any harsh action against persons who do so. But we have an objection to such relations and the khaps should come forward to apprise the younger generation of their traditions," he said.
Suraj Bhan said the modern corporate world was using women as a product to promote its brands and they would lodge complaints against such "malpractices" to the authorities.
ABOUT KAJLA GOTRA
The Kajla gotra website says the Kajla sub-caste has its roots in Bikaner in Rajasthan. They got their name from Kajal Singh, who belonged to a royal lineage from the Saharan gotra.
The website also claims that members of the Kajla khap are also present in a large number in Central Asia. In India, their presence is noticed in the 75 villages of 14 districts in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
Besides imposing a penalty of Rs 11,000 on the Kajal families for using disco jockeys (DJs) at wedding or other functions, the khap at its meeting here on Sunday has also announced to boycott those convicted of sexual harassment or female foeticide.