Political or apolitical: Haryana khaps are divided

In recent years, khaps - community courts - in Haryana have made news mostly for the wrong reasons including diktats on weddings and opposing jeans for girls. In election time, the same khaps are being wooed by political parties as they command wide influence.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Oct 18, 2014 01:21 PM IST
Copy Link
None | ByIANS, Chandigarh

In recent years, khaps - community courts - in Haryana have made news mostly for the wrong reasons including diktats on weddings and opposing jeans for girls. In election time, the same khaps are being wooed by political parties as they command wide influence.

For the khaps themselves, it is a difficult proposition: should they align with political parties or leaders or remain apolitical.

At a recent meeting of khaps in Kaithal town, 130 km from here, the issue of extending support to political parties and candidates was discussed. Finally, the khaps decided not to interfere with the political process and remain apolitical.

"The khaps decided they should remain apolitical. The role of khaps is more on social issues and they do not want to get involved in active politics," khap leader Dharampal Dhariwal said.

The importance of the khaps, especially in the politically dominant Jat community, is such that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a rally in Jind Saturday, had to seek their blessings for the BJP for the Oct 15 assembly elections.

"The khaps are an important part of Haryana's social structure. Even though they do not enjoy any legal sanctity, they have considerable influence over their respective communities," Rajpal Dahiya, a khap member and history teacher, told IANS.

"In recent years, Khaps have drawn flak for wrong reasons. But the khaps, which have been around for hundreds of years, do a lot of good social work also," Dahiya added.

In the run up to the elections, khaps and their leaders have been wooed by almost all political parties. The parties want the khaps to support them.

A handful of khap leaders are also in the fray in the elections.

They include Shamsher Singh Kharkara, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Meham. He heads the Aithgama khap. He had contested the Lok Sabha polls on the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ticket.

The INLD candidate in Beri, Santosh Ahlawat Dahiya, is the first president of the women wing of the Sarv khap Sarv mahapanchayat.

Baljit Singh, head of the Gathwala khap (near Gohana-Sonipat), is the BJP candidate from Baroda.

To remain socially relevant in modern times, khap leaders now acknowledge that they also have to change, especially to keep the youth associated with them.

"The khaps have to inspire youth and stay connected with the latest developments. Youth will lose interest if the khaps become too dictatorial," khap leader Mange Ram said.

However, in certain areas, the khaps have shown their inclination towards parties like the Congress and the INLD.

"It is not wrong for the khaps to become part of the democratic process," argued khap leader Raghuveer Singh. "If khaps can play a role behind the scenes to help partiers or candidates, they should also come out openly to make their political affiliations known.

"In the long run, this could be beneficial for the community instead of just a few leaders," he said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A cash van that was stuck in a waterlogged stretch in Bathinda after the first monsoon rain on Friday morning. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

    Monsoon covers Punjab’s Malwa belt, brings relief for farmers

    The first monsoon showers that hit the semi-arid region of south Malwa on Thursday night brought respite for cotton farmers from the deadly whitefly but exposed the ill-preparedness of the civic authorities in the urban areas as several areas in Bathinda town were in knee-deep in water. Also read: Monsoon arrives in Chandigarh tricity, so does misery Low-lying areas, such as Power House Road and Sikri Bazaar, were waterlogged.

  • Representational

    Mild earthquake in Karnataka's Kodagu, 3rd in a week in state: Report

    A mild earthquake was felt in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district early Friday morning - the third in the past seven days. News agency PTI said locals were woken up at around 1.15 am by a loud noise and tremors that were felt in Sampaje, Guttigaru, Ubaradka, Goonaka, Elimale, Sullia and nearby areas. Officials told PTI a report from the natural disaster monitoring centre is awaited. On Saturday (June 25), a 2.3 quake was recorded.

  • Bengaluru: Civic workers begin indefinite strike, demand permanent jobs

    Bengaluru: Civic workers begin indefinite strike, demand permanent jobs

    Over 15000 Porakarmikas (civic workers) on Friday began an indefinite strike in Bengaluru, demanding that their jobs be made permanent from the existing contract system and better salary to take care of their families. These civic workers are the backbone of every city corporation in Karnataka and especially Bengaluru which houses over 12million of the total 70million people in the state.

  • Sanjay Raut addressing media on Friday. (ANI)

    ‘We won’t disturb this govt': Sanjay Raut's ‘assurance’ to Shinde, Fadnavis

    A day after Maharashtra got a new government, with Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as CM and deputy CM respectively, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday assured that the opposition will not 'disturb' the new government. “I don't think our own organisation is weakened, nobody is upset,” the Rajya Sabha MP further said. Read Devendra Fadnavis 5th former Maharashtra CM to accept junior position.

  • The applications moved in May seek the appointment of an advocate commissioner for survey, photography and videography within the Shahi Eidgah mosque, the sealing of the mosque premises, enhancement of security, and “purification” of the mosque premises (claimed as the original birth place of Lord Krishna). (HT FILE PHOTO)

    Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi: Petition to seal Shahi Idgah Masjid to be heard today

    At least eight cases related to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi dispute will be heard in a civil court in Mathura today, when courts reopen after the summer vacation. Sensitive applications, including one seeking a survey and videography at Shahi Eidgah Masjid, next to the temple, are among those listed. The legal battle is similar to the one going on regarding the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022