Khap panchayats' threat not to have girl children is laughable, SC should have them arrested for contempt

Male chauvinism is not just alive, but kicking.

A day after the Supreme Court called for protection of inter-caste and interfaith couples, Naresh Tikait, the head of the Balyan Khap, told the apex court that they would "not give birth to girls at all". Tikait's remarks — which naturally ticked off the court — will inspire only those who believe that women are inferior. But for everyone else, this is a medieval mindset which pours liquid agony on good people and needs to be ended.

Representative image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

This stable genius, irked by the apex body cutting these khap panchayats and their gross hostility to gender equality down to size, reportedly told the Supreme Court that it could not interfere with traditions.

Tikait added that if by mistake, if a girl was born and allowed to live, she would be disallowed from studying and, therefore, not have a mind of her own or exercise anything but blind obedience.

Perhaps Tikait believes — with what might be seen as a whoop of ecstasy — that he has thumbed his nose at the court and the nation and triumphed. However, his threat might yet have some upside (hear me out). If he and his ilk stop producing girl babies, sooner or later, Tikait and his tribe will waste away. Where does Tikait think he comes from if not his mother's womb? Not having girl children. Indeed. How laughable and yet, how cruel.

And Tikait isn't alone. Hear the words of wisdom of Rajbir Singh Malik, head of Malik Khap. "Maybe the Supreme Court has taken this stand influenced by the vulgar exhibition of modernity in cosmopolitan cities, but they must understand that village life is different, and we are bound by our traditions." Really? In which village in this world is rape sanctified? For example in 2015, in Baghpat, Meerut, two sisters were ordered raped as punishment simply because their brother eloped with a woman from another caste. What sort of tradition is this?

Merely because Tikait added the mandatory line of having ‘respect for the honourable Supreme Court’, he does not have a defence against contempt of court. Actually, not just contempt of the judiciary, but of all Indians of right mind, men and women alike.

These khap panchyatas are the Indian equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. They encourage honour killings and sit around passing pious judgement on any inter-caste affair of the heart. They perpetuate caste differences and divide the community by religion. To be honest, they are worse than those that practiced apartheid because they exist and flourish without government sanction or legal approval.

The Supreme Court has banned these khaps. So why are they still functioning and assuming quasi-legal authority to hound people and cause anguish and pain? The process of dismantling them must begin in earnest immediately. Not one adult, man or woman,  in love should have to face the terror of being shamed, maimed and even killed because these ghastly men poison Cupid’s arrow.

Though they are largely active in northern India and Uttar Pradesh, these anachronistic village gangsters — usually from higher castes — have similar set ups in other states and command attention by the spread of fear and retribution.

If Tikait was pulled up by the Supreme Court for refusing to obey a legal fiat and subsequently had a case  of contempt registered against him, it would send a message. For all intents and purposes, Tikait has left himself wide open for this. When he spoke of 'we are unable to tolerate the interference of the court in matters of tradition’, the 'we' he is referring to is a bunch of thugs.

It's time to put an end to this brutal regime. In whatever form it may exist.


Updated Date: Feb 07, 2018 18:02 PM

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