Friday, July 09, 2010

Khap the crap

Most Indians believe that their civilization is the greatest on the planet.  They think it is the greatest civilization because of their unmatched and unsurpassed supreme moral values.  They believe they derive these values from their religion which is not just any religion but a way of life - that gives answers to all the questions and problems you pose, and to even those which you have not posed. 

These Indians also believe that it is extremely important for them protect this greatest civilization and their supreme morals against onslaught of impure alien civilizations that are hell bent on polluting its great culture.  

Hinduism has at its roots the dreadful casteism; and casteism cannot thrive without terming certain things and people as pure or impure.  It has whole set of rules on what is right and what is wrong.  If you keep doing things that are right you keep getting purer and if you do things that are wrong you keep getting impure. When you do things that are impure you are born as low caste; you have to do a whole lot of pure things to improve your caste in the next incarnation. 

For nearly two thousand years, instead of exploring and discovering the workings of the nature around them, Indians spent their whole time trying to identify which actions make them purer; while avoiding or relegating things that are impure to less fortunate people.   If you go to an Indian village of 19th century, you would be more overwhelmed by the caste rituals of dos and don’ts much more than the diktats of the local raja or the British Viceroy.  

Indians, instead of inventing new chemicals or mathematical formulae, instead of discovering new lands and physical laws, were more obsessed with trying to find the exact methods of ablutions, cleansing one of impurities, enacting rules on how each caste should behave, act and eat.  

While they continue to be obsessed with removing impurities that come through touching someone of another caste, they continued to have the shittiest of the toilets on the planet.   For far too long, Indians were more obsessed with keeping their caste pure making sure nobody marries out of caste, than creating an environment where creativity thrives.  

Fast forward to 21st Century, not much has changed for villages in India.

Caste is still the most dominant force that affects majority of Indians, more so than religion, region, language, sex or any other identity.   It tells you whom you can marry and whom you cannot.  Out of this casteist philosophies comes another idiosyncratic tradition – that of gotras.

Same-Gotra Marriages

In North India, it is forbidden to marry someone from your own gotra.  Now, the gotra is so ill-defined that sometimes the whole village is considered same gotra which means that all the girls in your village are your sisters and therefore marrying someone from your village is considered incest.  When someone dares to marry a girl from the same village, the whole village including the parents hounds the couple and kills them to save the honor of society.   And you have to understand that they are all doing this to defend their greatest culture on the planet.  

When I heard about this North Indian tradition the first time from a friend, where an entire village stood up to oppose a wedding just because the guy is marrying a girl from the same village, it sounded so ridiculous that I thought my friend was just making it up.   As a South Indian, growing up in a society where marrying a cousin is quite common, a ban on marrying anyone from the entire village looked like removing a chapter right out of a sixteenth century episode where people lynched women on charges of alleged witchcraft.

Unfortunately for this friend of mine, he fell in love with a girl from his high school in his village.  They soon became the target of hatred and violence from entire village including his parents and the girl’s parents.   The couple ran away from the village to New Delhi to get married at a registrar office.  Eventually the couple moved to USA to escape the wrath of his panchayat and their parents.  He told me that he may never be able to go back to his village and that their parents may abandon them forever.  

As a young boy, I have taken the national pledge at school that ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters…’ but none of us took it literally.  As boys we never thought that all Indians girls are our sisters. We didn’t go to other countries to woo girls.  Such a notion would have been absurd.  But looks like here in these villages of North India, they do believe in such absurd notions and resort to violence, mayhem and murder to enforce those fanciful and bizarre traditions in the name of greatest culture on the planet. 

Lynching witches

Back in 16th Century Europe, most people actually believed that some women practiced witchcraft.  Based on some flimsy evidence these witches were impaled and burnt at stake in a public ritual celebrated and cheered by the audience.  An overwhelming majority of those generations thought they were doing the right thing when they killed these innocent women.  Now we know better.  Just because a majority supports something does not make it right.  

…a survey carried out by Hindustan Times in Haryana shows most people are against same gotra (sub-caste) marriages.  The survey shows as many as 77 per cent of the respondents do not support same gotra marriages…even in Chandigarh, 65 per cent of the respondents have opposed same gotra marriages.

34 per cent of the respondents have said that khap panchayats have the right to order the social boycott of a couple if it violates same gotra marriage rules.

An overwhelming majority in Haryana is against same gotra marriages and nearly 1/3 of them are ready to ostracize the couples.  We may be living in world's largest democracy, but the majority is still not right.  Indian Constitution protects people’s rights even if they are in minority, against the onslaught of majority.   Two consenting adults may choose to marry out of love, and that is a choice that Indian Constitution protects.

Love Marriages

‘Sorry, but I want to marry the person of my choice, who the hell are you to stop me?’ seems to be the recurring theme in all Indian movies.  The heroes and heroines of these hundreds and thousands of Indian movies marry out of love against all odds, sometimes going against the wishes of parents, fighting off the villains, the societal prejudices, and the cultural ethos.  Love must be the dominant theme of almost every famous novel or story ever written in the history of mankind. 

Most of us fall in love with people who are near and around us, the girl in the school, the girl in the college, the girl from your neighborhood.  Romance is indeed about falling in love with the girl that you are familiar with.  If you are living in a village, that girl of your dreams could be from the same village.  It must be really tough to fall in love with the girl from another village or town.  It’s like saying all the boys living in San Francisco are now visiting Sacramento to woo the girls there because all the girls of San Francisco are now their sisters.  Sounds quite ridiculous, right?

And yet, these khap panchayats are restricting people from marrying out of their choice and applying the pressure on government to amend laws to legitimize extremely stupid and arcane laws akin to making lynching witches a legitimate right, and unfortunately our leaders are buckling under that pressure.  Sadly, unfortunately, and lamentably, some Indian leaders are saying ‘Yes’ to this stupidity. 

Navin Jindal

On 11 May 2010, Times of India published an interview with Navin Jindal, the guy who fought for allowing every common Indian to unfurl the Indian flag.  [emphasis mine]

Q: Do you support khap demand of ban on same gotra/village marriages?

A: …So far as their demands of banning same gotra/village marriages is concerned, we should respect their custom and emotions.  The culture of village is opposite of what we see in cities; hence, there should not be any comparison between the two.  Prohibiting such marriages is part of our culture and customs; how can such marriages be allowed against the sentiments of villages, especially those in villages?

Navin Jindal doesn’t seem to understand his Constitution well enough, though he fought for de-sanctifying the Indian flag.  Marriage is a choice of two adults and Indian Constitution  protects the right of two consenting adults to get married, whether they belong to different castes, religions, languages or regions.  So, as a responsible leader he should have said that such marriages between consenting adults will be allowed even against the opposition of culture and customs, of khaps and panchayats, instead of succumbing to their pressure.  It’s sad and unfortunate that leaders like him behave so capriciously on such serious issues.

Changing Hindu Marriage Act?

These khap panchayats are now demanding a change to Hindu Marriage Act to disallow people from getting married if they live in the same village.   This has serious repercussion, and yet, some of the Congress leaders are succumbing to these pressures.

The khap panchayats are demanding a change in Section 5 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to disallow marriage between couples from the same gotra and living in the same village. 

Jindal bowed his head before the elders and said that their orders were acceptable to him.   He assured them that on behalf of the Congress Party their justified demands would be raised at a suitable forum as and when required.


Khap panchayats should have no jurisdiction over who an individual can marry, what an individual wants to do with his/her life.  No amount of greatest culture and tradition can be used as a justification to deprive an individual of his fundamental rights.  And the modern India has a responsibility to emancipate these common Indian men and women from the oppression of the majority carried out in the name of tradition and culture.    

Related News Items:
Targeting [1], Jindal [1] [2] [3], Amendment [1] [2], Support [1] [2] [3], Opinion [1]


  1. The northern Indian societies are undergoing a phase of turmoil. The so called khaps are hell bent upon to spoil the lives of young concenting couples who chose their mate on their own will. Most of the cases these marriages are inter-caste and not intra gotra. Political class of these states are stoutly behind them. What may be the reason of supporting them by people like Batra and Naveen Jindal otherwise when their own communities are liberal and permissive of such marriages. This is only the political oppurtunism when one one hand approach supereme court for individual's right to unfurl national flag on private buildings but on the other hand curbing indual's choice in mate selection.Brazen hippocrisy . In half of the districts, within village marriages are a century old practice without any hiccups.This hypocritic attitude must be down with.

  2. Once again using his profound analytical intellect, Sujai has concluded that the root of khap diktat lies in -where else- but in evil Hinduism. In the same breath he says that no such thing is found in South India. So? South India does not follow Hinduism anymore? Did entire South India convert to Islam? Silly me. I must have missed this important news somehow.

    But, wait. Even North India does not follow Hinduism. It comes out that only one state viz. Haryana follows Hinduism and hence is afflicted by that inevitable consequence of Hinduism - khap crap.


  3. Khaps are hell bent upon to destroy the social fabric by denying the people to avail their individual freedom enshrined in constitution. These extra constitutional bodies are proving havoc for a just society. However, these are not even socially sanctioned but political class of today's is so timid that it has fallen in the line of these khaps for the fear of loosing their vote bank and this is totally untrue that they have any capacity to influence the voters' behaviour. Actually minds of politicians peep through these conglomeration of hood looms.Every other day a couple in Haryana is butchered and nothing is done against the tormentors. Some times it is felt that we are living in a "murda logon ki basti" (habitation of dead people). Social vibration is missing but only vibration of a mobile phone is known to people. In coming few days we will hear the roar on TV screen and in columns of newspaper on release of census data that will show the huge gap in female population. But girls have lost in the diktats of khaps. Either they are not permitted to take birth and if any how succeeded to see the universe then their journey to youth hood is made miserable. Proper education, nutrition, health facilities remain at bay for her. She is cursed to be treated as an obnoxious weed. It is expected from her that she should be soul less crab and barred to show any emotion. If she dares to see a companion or boy of her age eye to eye , she is branded as lecherous and condemned to torture and in extreme done to death. Every day newly wed couples out of their caste or class are compelled to seek protection for their lives. Strangely enough hyper active media make a news out of them for few days. and when this news item turns old it is thrown in dustbin. No serious efforts are made to have a discussion in the society through any public fora. This chain of attrocities, intolerance and brutility is extending unabatedly. These unconstitutional bodies should be dealt strongly not on the political front but also isolate such element on social level so thatevery one could live in accordance with ones will.

  4. @Sujai
    what is your take on marriage between brother and sister who have the same mother??
    i am just inquisitive
    watch this video

  5. Sujai, the self illusioned, commentor, have you ever been at this side of civilization?

    Do you understand the family system?

    Do you understand the genetics?

    Do you favour marriage between a brother and sister?

    Do you understanding somewhere in your analytical brain about positive decisions of Khaps?

    Kindly Visit Haryana on my invitation and have a good n unbiased understanding of Khap.

    A Jat.

    Email - rising_kaddy98 at the rate

  6. A Jat:

    Do you favour marriage between a brother and sister?

    What is your definition of a brother and sister? Do you believe that people belong to entire village are brothers and sisters? Do you believe that all cousins are also brothers and sisters?


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