Wednesday, August 19, 2009

State, Judiciary and Khap Panchayat: a discourse on Caste, Class and Gender

Critique Ferozepur Chapter and Philosophical Society: A Students’ Discussion Forum of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur, Punjab, organized a National Seminar on “State, Judiciary and Khap Panchayat: A Discourse on Caste, Class and Gender in Haryana”.

In the seminar, chaired by college principal Dr. Madhu Prashar, Daljit Ami, assistant editor of Punjabi Tribune News paper from Chandigarh, Punabi film maker Jitendra Mahaur, Theatre activist, Ranjeet, Activist and Phd. Research Scholar from Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawahar Lal Nehru University from New Delhi, Kuldeep Kaur, actively participated and shared their views with over 300 students and other faculty members of the college on the issue.

Apart from the resourse persons, Seerat, student of III, Isha, Student of II, Sukhdeep, Student of B.A.II, and Sakshi, Student of B.A.I and Babbal, Student of B.A.I also raised their protest against the ongoing activities of the khap panchayat in Haryana.

Daljeet in his presentation raised questions regarding the nature of State and Judiciary in protecting the rights of the citizens. He said that it is state which guarantees the security and basic minimum dignity to its people. He further said that, the current practices which are being adopted by the Khap Panchayats in Haryana is a big threat and violation of the basic human rights of the individuls who try to exercise their right to marry a person of their choice.

He condemned the recent killing of Ved Pal of Jind and demanded stern actions against the guilty. He further commented on the issue of Honour killings in Haryana and said that the young boys and girls falling in love with each other, deciding to get married without the consent of the parents, breaking the caste endogamy and class exogamy, coming out the dilemma of honour of the family but at the same time these young boys and girls are not accepting other progressive ideas rather they follow all regressive traditions.

He said that families and the caste panchayats are not accepting the marriages, which do not follow the norms of traditional society. There cases where everyday family members are chasing runaway couples, youngsters get active to retrieve the girl and to take barbaric action to revive honour of the family. He said that it the need of the hour that an individual should have a dialogue with one self, family and the society where he or she is living in. he said that there is a lack of communication within the families and patriarchy is another reason for such problems. It can be through collective dialogues between groups and individuals that one can do away with the problems of the society. He also raised the need of state to act against such injustices.

In the last session many important questions were asked by Mrs. Madhu Gautam of Hindi Department, Dr. Sushil Gupta of Zoology Department, Dr. Suman Sharma of Sanskrit Department and Dr. Ambuj Sharma of Philosophy Department.