View Poll Results: Do you think all the decision of the Khap Panchayat are justified?

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Thread: Role of Khap Panchayat

  1. #1
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    Role of Khap Panchayat

    While going through th net I came across this news published in FRONTLONE Volume 22 - Issue 09, Apr. 23 - May. 06, 2005.
    Caste panchayats throw several lives into turmoil in Haryana, often by declaring marriages invalid, and invariably their victims belong to the weakest sections of society.
    It was based on the contents from the seminar organised by Maharshi Dayanand University

    RENU and Sunil Malik are married with a child, but they do not live together any more. Community elders of Ahulana village in Haryana's Gohana district have pronounced their marriage of 2004 invalid. They were neighbours before marriage and belong to the same gotra, with the same surname `Malik'. Therefore, said the elders, they could only be brother and sister. .................................................. .......................... we all know about the incidents but lets have some intresting inputs from the "SEMINAR"

    The Sociology Department of the Maharshi Dayanand University recently got khap panchayat chiefs and the `victims' of their diktats together at a two-day seminar in Rohtak, along with academics and women activists, to discuss "Khap Panchayats: Challenges and Prospects".

    Should the khap panchayats be allowed to function in the way they do?

    Is there scope for reform in these social institutions?

    These were some of the questions debated at the seminar, the first of its kind organised by any university. The speakers were sharply polarised, with the panchayat chiefs reacting strongly to criticism.

    Khap panchayats are known to have existed from the medieval times, with `khap bhaichara' or solidarity around the khap and the gotra evolving gradually. There was little interference in their activities from the state before Independence. Khazan Singh Sangwan, Professor of Sociology and organising secretary of the seminar, said the situation was expected to change after the Constitution was framed and the Indian government became a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

    The historian Prem Chaudhary, who delivered the key-note address, was critical of the media for not highlighting the legal status of marriages within a gotra. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 recognises such marriages, as it does inter-caste unions. She explained how the introduction of adult franchise and statutory panchayats had pushed the traditional systems of authority into the background. It was this diminishing power that was being resurrected. The official panchayat and `khap' or `caste' panchayat of a village are often found to be supportive of each other. For instance, the elected sarpanch of Jaundhi village backed the decision to excommunicate Ashish and Darshana.

    Khap panchayats are so powerful because of their ability to mobilise a large number of people, Prem Chaudhary said. They appear to be democratic from outside, but they exclude women, the youth as well as the groups lower down in the caste hierarchy. Prem Chaudhary explained that the scope for collective action had increased because of the way fears of a Western cultural invasion were played upon. A frequent refrain was: Ladke haath se nikal gaye; ladke ka naash ho gaya; choriyan ne bacha lo. (The boys have slipped away; they have been ruined; let us at least save the girls.) "While the male gets away, the female almost never does," Prem Chaudhary said.
    The state rarely interferes, and its agents do not even always acknowledge that the problem exists. Surjit Singh Deshwal, former Inspector-General of Police, Rohtak range, who was recently transferred to Panipat, accused the media of blowing caste panchayat interventions out of proportion. There have been hardly eight or 10 incidents, he said, where khap panchayats had passed rulings, and these he dismissed as insignificant "aberrations". He stressed that caste played an important role in village life and criticised the caste panchayats for not doing enough to curb social evils. But he did not think the state had any business meddling in their activities, for democracy "essentially means minimal state intervention". He also spoke of the limitations of a "legal" approach to social issues and said that as an "agent of law" he would act in the social sphere only when it was absolutely necessary.

    Social activist D.R. Chaudhary disagreed with the officer, warning of the grave consequences of ignoring the implications of khap panchayat interventions. Dr. R.S. Dahiya of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, commented on how the problem of a lopsided sex ratio in the State never seemed to bother the khap panchayats which are so intent on breaking up marriages. The insistence on marrying outside the gotra was making it difficult for people to find partners, he said.

    Among the speakers who had been targeted by khap panchayats was Rohtash Kumar of Talao village in Jhajjar district, who was humiliated and fined because he objected to the harassment of the Dalit families in the village after one of their boys ran away with two Jat girls. "I knew the way to the Jhajjar police post. But I knew the police would not take any action," he said. The elected sarpanch of the village, himself a Dalit, was unable to help. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) drew the attention of the National Human Rights Commission to the matter and cases against the accused were registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. But Rohtash has not gone back to Talao, just as Rajo Devi has not returned to Sasrauli.

    Some of the academics who spoke at the seminar felt there was scope for reform in the khap organisations. Prof. Sangwan, for instance, felt it was important to have a dialogue with the khap pradhans, though he had no doubt that some of their recent decisions were controversial. "The idea is to create a constructive discourse between social scientists and the people at large," he said.
    However, activists of the literacy movement in the State and members of the AIDWA disagreed They said that because the values of equality and democracy were not built into the structure of the khap panchayats, reforms would necessarily be limited and self-defeating.

    Pramod Gouri, a member of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, said that the khap bodies did not address the issues of gender and caste inequality and differentiated between the poor and the rich. "When we have sophisticated institutional and constitutional bodies, what do we need khaps for?" Gouri asked. "They do not even look beyond caste. Where is the scope for reform?" He questioned the practice of declaring a married couple brother and sister. "Does this mean that the only relationship that a man and a woman can have is the sexual one? Are these relationships interchangeable?"

    The AIDWA has taken a leading role in challenging the khap diktats. Jagmati Sangwan, president of the AIDWA's State unit, said that these panchayats never consulted women while taking drastic decisions. She also wondered why they never did anything about the declining sex ratio in Haryana though brides had become scarce in the State. "Even if they are not concerned about the girl child, they should at least think how they will perpetuate the blood line if there are no girls to marry," she said.

    The khap pradhans present at the seminar reacted strongly to the criticism. Sooraj Singh, the pradhan of the Hooda khap, said that khaps were necessary to unite society. He said that khaps had played a historic role and "fought against the British and the Muslims".

    Sooraj Singh, Pradhan of the Meham Chaubisi khap (of 24 villages in Meham), thought the khap panchayats had a "divine right" and said that it was the "intellectuals and the Musims" who committed infanticide. "We cannot allow love marriages. Sarvakhaps do not recognise court marriages either," he said.

    Another Pradhan, Pritam Singh of Adhgama, representing eight villages in Rohtak, insisted that the khaps were democratic and that they elected their leaders. But D.R. Chaudhary dismissed the claim, saying that the chiefs of the caste panchayats always belonged to the Jat community. "There is not one example where, in a Jat-dominated panchayat, the pradhan belonged to any other caste. Khap identities have become reduced to one of Jat assertiveness and identity only," he said.

    Is it only a coincidence that it is always the poorest and the weakest sections of society who find themselves at the receiving end of khap panchayats' fiats?

    Suraj Bhan, historian of ancient India, said khap panchayats had become synonymous with the landed class, no matter what their caste. "Those sections who have no position in society do not have an entry point in the khap panchayat. It is by no means a divine organisation," he said.

    Those who have found their lives thrown into turmoil by khap decisions could not agree more - people such as Sonia, who overcame her initial diffidence at the seminar to assert that she would never give in. She could not understand why the Rathi khap chiefs tried to break up her marriage despite her refusal to sign on a paper annulling it. "Why are such people made pradhans?" she asked. She still does not feel safe, though she now has security cover provided by the government. "I feel that they still might do something, despite the court order. They pass sarcastic remarks at our family. But I am ready to fight it out. I will also support other women who face the kind of situation I was put through," she said.
    Last edited by rajeshrathee; January 24th, 2007 at 12:16 AM.

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    Though its an old subject but still worth discussion, I am anxious to know the the view of fellow Jatlanders

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    Absurd!

    Nice n Genuine topic to be discussed deeply.I guess declaring marriage invalid between two human beings MUSTnot be in their sphere of activity.They should bark against the taboos,customs(dowry) which are harmful to everyone.They shud stand against SEZ on fertile land.That would be some thing near to constructive for a better n socialised society.Had i been given choice, i would have reversed all their decision which they had given against marriages.Remember Society is made not to leave a human being alone, rather it is there so that a human being must not be alone in any way.So i discard Khap Panchayats as whole.Their existence, their actions.Amen!

  4. #4

    Totally Support the Panchayats & the Panchayati System

    I do thorougly support the Khap Panchayats ...... we should get involved in their activities rather than try to portray ourselves as intellectually superior just because we know better english then them ........

    speaking English, knowing how to operate a computer and living in a western country does not make anybody more intellegent or intellectually superior to country folks

    Khap Panchayats are the true representation of the Jat masses, their cultures & traditions .......... even if i do not agree with everything that goes on ........ I think it is because I did not make an effort for them to see my part of the argument ......

    In the end we live in a society and the view of the majority must be accepted and followed and the majority of the Jat masses do support them panchayats
    Foot Soldier - Azad Hind Fauj - becasue the struggle is not over yet

  5. #5
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    Dear Sir,
    Even speaking english fluently anywhere in the world doesnt prove someone with better intellect.I dnt agree with your idea of Khap Panchayats(Idea was well taken in Mediveal Era).Beacuse I believe truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion... while truth again reverts to a new minoriity.

    I'm happy to be a part of minority.


    Quote Originally Posted by kharub View Post
    I do thorougly support the Khap Panchayats ...... we should get involved in their activities rather than try to portray ourselves as intellectually superior just because we know better english then them ........

    speaking English, knowing how to operate a computer and living in a western country does not make anybody more intellegent or intellectually superior to country folks

    Khap Panchayats are the true representation of the Jat masses, their cultures & traditions .......... even if i do not agree with everything that goes on ........ I think it is because I did not make an effort for them to see my part of the argument ......

    In the end we live in a society and the view of the majority must be accepted and followed and the majority of the Jat masses do support them panchayats

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kharub View Post
    I do thorougly support the Khap Panchayats ...... we should get involved in their activities rather than try to portray ourselves as intellectually superior just because we know better english then them ........

    speaking English, knowing how to operate a computer and living in a western country does not make anybody more intellegent or intellectually superior to country folks

    Khap Panchayats are the true representation of the Jat masses, their cultures & traditions .......... even if i do not agree with everything that goes on ........ I think it is because I did not make an effort for them to see my part of the argument ......

    In the end we live in a society and the view of the majority must be accepted and followed and the majority of the Jat masses do support them panchayats

    I think that a healthy discussion should be based on intelligent facts and not on childish things like better english , computer knowledge etc. etc.

    A lot of intelligent and emminent people have taken part in the above seminar and my purpose of posting that here was to have a healthy discussion on facts.

    Just consider yourself as one of the victim and imagine what all they might have experianced and then comment, I think it would help to visualise the situation better.
    Kadian ji hats off to you for accepting the reality and having courage to speak that in open.

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    Khap panchayat system itself is very good

    In fact it is up to us, to utilize this system provided to us by our ancestor, in a effective way.

    A nice topic Rajesh Bhai
    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent..."

  8. #8
    Well said Dalal saheb

    It is a nice and relevant topic but could have been put in a better way by first giving something about the Sarv khap ,in stead giving only the view of those who went aginst it in courts.

    Again poll line is wrong

    Do you find all the decisons justified .One cann't even justify all the decision of God also, what to say of human beings .

    Again I wish one should know what are these khaps what had been there historic roles ,what they signify ?Young members can refer history section or other threads before posting on khaps which would be more meaningful.

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    Khap (खाप) and Sarv Khap (सर्व खाप) was a system of social administration and organization in the republics of Northwestern states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in India since ancient times. Khap is a term for a social - political grouping and used in a geographical sense. Other parallel terms are Pal, Ganasangha, Janapada or republic.

    For some reasons the political unit of Khap was defined as a group of 84 villages. This unit of measure is found as far back as the Saka migrations/invasions circa 500 BCE into the Indian subcontinent. The concept of Khap is quite ancient. Written references are found as far back as the Rig Vedic times circa 2500 BCE.

    Historical back ground

    The Indian social fabric was organized around the village unit, from time immemorial, as making shifted from nomadic to settled agricultural practices. Throughout the last few millennium the society of the Indian sub continent, was organized in various forms, tribal, village, monarchial or republican among the ancient Jats, as borne out by the ancient literature, Rig Veda etc, the mode of governing was that of a council of five, which in time was called a Panchayat. We find that the republican form of society existed from the most ancient times known to us. In various times the society coalesced around monarchial forms, but the republican societies did not die out, but maintained their existence with remarkable resilience. We find references to the republican sources in our ancient literature, some of the most ancient as being the Rig Veda. The dating of this work in now generally accepted to be in the circa 2500 BCE period. The forms of governing society are that of the `Sabha’(सभा) or `samiti’(समिति) i.e. gathering/assembly. The Sabhapati, the president of the Sabha was elected. [1] · [2]

    The term `Rajan, Rajanaya' has been taken to denote a monarchial system. A closer look shows the term was used at that time for the householder, the head of the household, and he would participate in the Sabha or assembly. In later times this took on a monarchial connotation, as Raja, Maharaja, a term familiar to most of us.

    In the texts of Panini and later Buddhist texts we find references to 16 republics or Great Republics Janapadas, or MahaJanpadas' and the reference are to the period circa 600 BCE (conventional dating). We find references to names of republics like Mall, Lichhavi, Sakya, Yaudheya, Agreya, and so on. We find Indian and Western sources referring to these republics e.g. in the invasion of Alexander (circa 325 BCE) where Alexander comes wars with the Mall (Malloi) Malli, Kshudrak, Paur, Puru, Kathi, republics. We continue to find the republics referred to as the Yaudheyas, Malls etc are found dominating the Northern Indian landscape in what is now Punjab, Sindh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

    The Sarv Khap (or all Khap) Panchayat (council) represented all the Khaps. The individual Khaps would elect leaders who would send delegates, who would represent the Khaps at the Sarv Khap level. It was a political organization, composed of all the clans, communities, and castes in the region. The republics of the Yaudheyas who dominated this region from 600BCE to 400 CE preceded it. Their had their a similar system of governance, and their coins and seals are found in this whole region, Rohtak Haryana was one of the capitals and a major coin mint. [3]

    After the fall of Kushan Empire northwest India was divided in to small republics. These small republics could not defend against invaders. So there were formed federations of republics knows as Gansanghas. One such Ganasangha was on the banks of Sutlej River. Another Gansangha of Arjunayana was in the region between Agra and Bharatpur. Dr Budh Prakash says that the Yaudheyas are related with present Dahiya clan and Arjunayana Ganasanghas were the present Joon clans. [4]

    Functioning of Khaps

    The ancient kshatriyas have always organized themselves into clans or under Panchayat system; both typically Aryan. A clan was based on one large gotra or a number of closely related gotras under one elected leader whose word was law. Mutual quarrels of any intensity could be settled under his orders. In time of danger, the whole clan rallied under the banner of the leader.

    The Panchayat system is territorial and highly democratic. Every village has its own Panchayat. Whenever there is a problem or dispute in the village, a gathering of the Panchayat is called for every member of the village has a right to attend, express his views and vote for or against a proposal. The maximum available people normally attend. There are no elected or nominated Panchayat officials. Nevertheless, some persons, by virtue of their wisdom and eloquence, are automatically accepted as Panches, (one of the five) and their views are heard and respected. While elders discuss a problem it is customary for younger people not to speak but sit and listen. All decisions are taken after open-hearing, full and voluntary expression of views and consensus vote. Even if one of the contending parties considers the Panchayat decision unfair it is accepted and complied with without question.

    A number of villages grouped themselves into a Gohand (corresponding to the present Thana area); a number of Gohands formed a ‘Khap’ (covering an area equal to from a Tehsil to a District and a number of Khaps formed a 'Sarva Khap' embracing a full province or state. For example, there was a “Sarva Khap” each for Haryana and Malwa. At what level a Panchayat should gather depended upon the magnitude of the problem and the territory it involved. [5]


    The right of attendance and expression was open to every one, whatever the level of the Panchayat. Generally, however, selected - representatives of the villages attended Panchayats of the 'Gohand' and higher level. Leaders were elected and appointed at 'Khap' and 'Sarva Khap' level that maintained records of decisions and had the authority to call an assembly.


    Negotiations with kings were done - at 'Sarva Khap' level. Chaudhry Kabul Singh of Village Shoram, District Muzaffarnagar, whose ancestors were leaders of the Sarva Khaap Panchayat, holds some copper plates and papers bearing records of important negotiations.

    The Khap and its divisions

    One of the terms used to denote the republic was the `Khap'. Others were Pal, Janpada, and Ganasangha etc. The Khap consisted a unit of 84 villages. The individual villages were governed by an elected Council, which was known as the Panchayat. A unit of seven villages was called a Thamba and 12 Thambas would form the unit of 84 Villages. We also find Khaps of 12 and 24 villages. Their elected leaders would determine which units would be represented at the Khap level. These Khaps are found to be spread all the way from Northwest India down to Madhya Pradesh, Malwa, Rajasthan, Sindh, Multan, Punjab, Haryana, and modern Uttar Pradesh. [6]

    Sarv Khap of Haryana

    This region from Western Uttar Pradesh through Agra, Mathura, to the Sutlej River in the Punjab was known as Haryana, dominated by Jats, and it is of this region that we speak, when refer to the Sarv Khap of Haryana. The influence of the Sarv Khap extended to the Malwa province in Central India, Rajasthan and Sindh. With the ebb and flow of history, the boundaries also expanded and receded.

    The role Sharv Khaps played in India

    Some well known occasions, when armies and funds were marshaled under the aegis of Sarva Khaps, are: [5]

    Battle of Multan against Huns in Vikram Samvat 564 (507 AD),
    Battle of Taraori against Muhammad Ghori in 12th Century AD
    The battle at the confluence of Hindan and Kali river against Ala ud din Khilji in the 13th Century AD in protest against imposition of heavy taxes and interference in private affairs.
    The Battle against attack of Timur in 1398 AD by the Haryana Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat and Saurabh (Muzaffarnagar) Sarv Khap Panchayat. [4]

    References

    1. J.P. Sharma, Republics in Ancient India, 1968, Leiden

    2. Steve Muhlberger, Democracy in Ancient India, Associate Professor of History, Nipissing University.

    3.Bibliography, Yuadheyoun ka Ithihasa

    4.a b Dr Natthan Singh, Jat-Itihas, (Jat History), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004

    5. a b Ram Swarup Joon, History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)

    6. Dr. Bal Kishan Dabas, The Political and Social History of the Jats, 2001 Sanjay Prakashan, New Delhi, ISBN 81-7453-045-2 Meeting held under the chairmanship of Sant Shanta Nand, the account recorded by Ramdas, the Recorder( Bhat) of the Panchayat Source: Shoram collection, Pothi No.1, P.7, quoted in note 33, of ` The Political and Social History of the Jats, Dr. Bal Kishan Dabas
    Laxman Burdak

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    Indeed!

    Thank Sir for atleast accepting my view point.Indeed radicalism never survived long so does absurd organisation though they seem to sway the mind of masses.Groups,Organisation or anything other thing which is much on natural side lasts long.As you said, a vast intellectual discussion would be a best idea.Problem of current generation is not money,its their behaviour without knowing roots.I believe a proper education will never make a person radical rather it will open doors of unexplored brotherhood n universility after along with the Identity as a Particular community we also have so many identities.I'm in total consent with you to look this matter from the feeling of victim.I attended first this Sarva Khap panchayat when i was merely 10 years old in my village's school over Meham issue, not knowing whats happening around. All i was busy in fixing HUkkas for elders n arranging tea-cups.But after 15 years when I heard of something similer where Khap leaders were pouring in around my locality(ofcourse! they have moved from tractors n buses to self owned vehicles),I could not resist myself listening about its ongoings but at the end of it they left the place with tobacco burned worth 3 lacs(included Fags,biris n Hukkas).I was filled with anger that I would have or anyone from any village would have gone for higher studies in same amount.Unfortunatly sad part comes when they dnt agree.Blame it on Jat genes.Anyway,recently when i was surfing , i found heinous acts of hatred from supports of traditions ,bloodshedded bodies of love marriage couples were taged victims of such groups.I simply dont understand what the heck is with them if one human being love others n rewarded death sentence in full flesh panchay in chaupal.

    Every reniassance anywhere in world has been ignited by writers,poets,musicians and unbiased thinkers.Where do we stand? Putting haryvanvi music here on line doesnt seem to improve economic conditions of rare-species of singers,sangis n other bin players.I think Time is listening.












    Quote Originally Posted by rajeshrathee View Post
    I think that a healthy discussion should be based on intelligent facts and not on childish things like better english , computer knowledge etc. etc.

    A lot of intelligent and emminent people have taken part in the above seminar and my purpose of posting that here was to have a healthy discussion on facts.

    Just consider yourself as one of the victim and imagine what all they might have experianced and then comment, I think it would help to visualise the situation better.
    Kadian ji hats off to you for accepting the reality and having courage to speak that in open.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by samarkadian View Post
    Thank Sir for atleast accepting my view point.Indeed radicalism never survived long so does absurd organisation though they seem to sway the mind of masses.Groups,Organisation or anything other thing which is much on natural side lasts long.As you said, a vast intellectual discussion would be a best idea.Problem of current generation is not money,its their behaviour without knowing roots.I believe a proper education will never make a person radical rather it will open doors of unexplored brotherhood n universility after along with the Identity as a Particular community we also have so many identities.I'm in total consent with you to look this matter from the feeling of victim.I attended first this Sarva Khap panchayat when i was merely 10 years old in my village's school over Meham issue, not knowing whats happening around. All i was busy in fixing HUkkas for elders n arranging tea-cups.But after 15 years when I heard of something similer where Khap leaders were pouring in around my locality(ofcourse! they have moved from tractors n buses to self owned vehicles),I could not resist myself listening about its ongoings but at the end of it they left the place with tobacco burned worth 3 lacs(included Fags,biris n Hukkas).I was filled with anger that I would have or anyone from any village would have gone for higher studies in same amount.Unfortunatly sad part comes when they dnt agree.Blame it on Jat genes.Anyway,recently when i was surfing , i found heinous acts of hatred from supports of traditions ,bloodshedded bodies of love marriage couples were taged victims of such groups.I simply dont understand what the heck is with them if one human being love others n rewarded death sentence in full flesh panchay in chaupal.
    .
    Very well explained the reality Sir

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by lrburdak View Post
    Khap (खाप) and Sarv Khap (सर्व खाप) was a system of social administration and organization in the republics of Northwestern states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in India since ancient times. Khap is a term for a social - political grouping and used in a geographical sense. Other parallel terms are Pal, Ganasangha, Janapada or republic.

    For some reasons the political unit of Khap was defined as a group of 84 villages. This unit of measure is found as far back as the Saka migrations/invasions circa 500 BCE into the Indian subcontinent. The concept of Khap is quite ancient. Written references are found as far back as the Rig Vedic times circa 2500 BCE.

    Historical back ground

    The Indian social fabric was organized around the village unit, from time immemorial, as making shifted from nomadic to settled agricultural practices. Throughout the last few millennium the society of the Indian sub continent, was organized in various forms, tribal, village, monarchial or republican among the ancient Jats, as borne out by the ancient literature, Rig Veda etc, the mode of governing was that of a council of five, which in time was called a Panchayat. We find that the republican form of society existed from the most ancient times known to us. In various times the society coalesced around monarchial forms, but the republican societies did not die out, but maintained their existence with remarkable resilience. We find references to the republican sources in our ancient literature, some of the most ancient as being the Rig Veda. The dating of this work in now generally accepted to be in the circa 2500 BCE period. The forms of governing society are that of the `Sabha’(सभा) or `samiti’(समिति) i.e. gathering/assembly. The Sabhapati, the president of the Sabha was elected. [1] · [2]

    The term `Rajan, Rajanaya' has been taken to denote a monarchial system. A closer look shows the term was used at that time for the householder, the head of the household, and he would participate in the Sabha or assembly. In later times this took on a monarchial connotation, as Raja, Maharaja, a term familiar to most of us.

    In the texts of Panini and later Buddhist texts we find references to 16 republics or Great Republics Janapadas, or MahaJanpadas' and the reference are to the period circa 600 BCE (conventional dating). We find references to names of republics like Mall, Lichhavi, Sakya, Yaudheya, Agreya, and so on. We find Indian and Western sources referring to these republics e.g. in the invasion of Alexander (circa 325 BCE) where Alexander comes wars with the Mall (Malloi) Malli, Kshudrak, Paur, Puru, Kathi, republics. We continue to find the republics referred to as the Yaudheyas, Malls etc are found dominating the Northern Indian landscape in what is now Punjab, Sindh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

    The Sarv Khap (or all Khap) Panchayat (council) represented all the Khaps. The individual Khaps would elect leaders who would send delegates, who would represent the Khaps at the Sarv Khap level. It was a political organization, composed of all the clans, communities, and castes in the region. The republics of the Yaudheyas who dominated this region from 600BCE to 400 CE preceded it. Their had their a similar system of governance, and their coins and seals are found in this whole region, Rohtak Haryana was one of the capitals and a major coin mint. [3]

    After the fall of Kushan Empire northwest India was divided in to small republics. These small republics could not defend against invaders. So there were formed federations of republics knows as Gansanghas. One such Ganasangha was on the banks of Sutlej River. Another Gansangha of Arjunayana was in the region between Agra and Bharatpur. Dr Budh Prakash says that the Yaudheyas are related with present Dahiya clan and Arjunayana Ganasanghas were the present Joon clans. [4]

    Functioning of Khaps

    The ancient kshatriyas have always organized themselves into clans or under Panchayat system; both typically Aryan. A clan was based on one large gotra or a number of closely related gotras under one elected leader whose word was law. Mutual quarrels of any intensity could be settled under his orders. In time of danger, the whole clan rallied under the banner of the leader.

    The Panchayat system is territorial and highly democratic. Every village has its own Panchayat. Whenever there is a problem or dispute in the village, a gathering of the Panchayat is called for every member of the village has a right to attend, express his views and vote for or against a proposal. The maximum available people normally attend. There are no elected or nominated Panchayat officials. Nevertheless, some persons, by virtue of their wisdom and eloquence, are automatically accepted as Panches, (one of the five) and their views are heard and respected. While elders discuss a problem it is customary for younger people not to speak but sit and listen. All decisions are taken after open-hearing, full and voluntary expression of views and consensus vote. Even if one of the contending parties considers the Panchayat decision unfair it is accepted and complied with without question.

    A number of villages grouped themselves into a Gohand (corresponding to the present Thana area); a number of Gohands formed a ‘Khap’ (covering an area equal to from a Tehsil to a District and a number of Khaps formed a 'Sarva Khap' embracing a full province or state. For example, there was a “Sarva Khap” each for Haryana and Malwa. At what level a Panchayat should gather depended upon the magnitude of the problem and the territory it involved. [5]


    The right of attendance and expression was open to every one, whatever the level of the Panchayat. Generally, however, selected - representatives of the villages attended Panchayats of the 'Gohand' and higher level. Leaders were elected and appointed at 'Khap' and 'Sarva Khap' level that maintained records of decisions and had the authority to call an assembly.


    Negotiations with kings were done - at 'Sarva Khap' level. Chaudhry Kabul Singh of Village Shoram, District Muzaffarnagar, whose ancestors were leaders of the Sarva Khaap Panchayat, holds some copper plates and papers bearing records of important negotiations.

    The Khap and its divisions

    One of the terms used to denote the republic was the `Khap'. Others were Pal, Janpada, and Ganasangha etc. The Khap consisted a unit of 84 villages. The individual villages were governed by an elected Council, which was known as the Panchayat. A unit of seven villages was called a Thamba and 12 Thambas would form the unit of 84 Villages. We also find Khaps of 12 and 24 villages. Their elected leaders would determine which units would be represented at the Khap level. These Khaps are found to be spread all the way from Northwest India down to Madhya Pradesh, Malwa, Rajasthan, Sindh, Multan, Punjab, Haryana, and modern Uttar Pradesh. [6]

    Sarv Khap of Haryana

    This region from Western Uttar Pradesh through Agra, Mathura, to the Sutlej River in the Punjab was known as Haryana, dominated by Jats, and it is of this region that we speak, when refer to the Sarv Khap of Haryana. The influence of the Sarv Khap extended to the Malwa province in Central India, Rajasthan and Sindh. With the ebb and flow of history, the boundaries also expanded and receded.

    The role Sharv Khaps played in India

    Some well known occasions, when armies and funds were marshaled under the aegis of Sarva Khaps, are: [5]

    Battle of Multan against Huns in Vikram Samvat 564 (507 AD),
    Battle of Taraori against Muhammad Ghori in 12th Century AD
    The battle at the confluence of Hindan and Kali river against Ala ud din Khilji in the 13th Century AD in protest against imposition of heavy taxes and interference in private affairs.
    The Battle against attack of Timur in 1398 AD by the Haryana Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat and Saurabh (Muzaffarnagar) Sarv Khap Panchayat. [4]

    References

    1. J.P. Sharma, Republics in Ancient India, 1968, Leiden

    2. Steve Muhlberger, Democracy in Ancient India, Associate Professor of History, Nipissing University.

    3.Bibliography, Yuadheyoun ka Ithihasa

    4.a b Dr Natthan Singh, Jat-Itihas, (Jat History), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004

    5. a b Ram Swarup Joon, History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)

    6. Dr. Bal Kishan Dabas, The Political and Social History of the Jats, 2001 Sanjay Prakashan, New Delhi, ISBN 81-7453-045-2 Meeting held under the chairmanship of Sant Shanta Nand, the account recorded by Ramdas, the Recorder( Bhat) of the Panchayat Source: Shoram collection, Pothi No.1, P.7, quoted in note 33, of ` The Political and Social History of the Jats, Dr. Bal Kishan Dabas
    Thanks Laxman ji for taking pains to enlightenabout the great role of Sarv Khap Panchayats in History.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by samarkadian View Post
    so does absurd organisation though they seem to sway the mind of masses.Groups,Organisation or .
    Hi Samar

    Have you gone through the article of laxman ji and seen the Great role played by Sarv Khap Panchayats of our ancesstors or Is it still an absurd oragnisation of Jats that sway the mind of masses for you .


    Again can you pin point the particular case where you thought the role played was absurd.

  14. #14
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    Narender Sir

    What you think about the judgement of Sarv Khap in the the reference in the parent post?

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    Namaste Sir(Laxamn ji n Narender Ji)

    With due respect to both of you,i want to ask about decisions made by Sarva Khap in contemprary times?History might be enticing but organisation's current pattern matters to me.In current form its not only absurd but highly absurd for me.I have seen victims,victimised family and tyranny of Khap leaders.Its not democrattic at all.And If you say its democratic where is the role Women in their history or in present or what wud be in future.Women are subjected only for decisions.I cant feel pleasure over its existence for centuries.All we have to make sure the coming generations wont remember it like me.
    "All I am trying to do is bridge the gap between Jats and Rest of World"

    As I shall imagine, so shall I become.

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