EPW Featured Theme on Khap Panchayats (and Gender Violence)


The Economic and Political Weekly website carries a featured theme with EPW articles on khap panchayats which have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The full-text versions are available only to subscribers but these citations are important and so they are blogged here for future reference. 

Ravinder Kaur, Khap Panchayats, Sex Ratio and Female Agency, EPW, Vol XLV No.23 June 05, 2010.

Abstract: While many intelligent reasons have been proffered for the recent resurgence of khap panchayats in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and their actions vis-à-vis self-choice marriages, two very important aspects of the phenomenon need to be highlighted. The first is the impact of the abysmal sex ratio, which is a result of rampant female sex selective abortions, neglect of girl children and a minuscule but still present female infanticide. The second is that it is only women in this male-dominated society who have publicly stood up to the might of the khap panchayats and are challenging their writ.

Ranbir Singh, The Need to Tame the Khap Panchayats, EPW, Vol XLV No.21 May 22, 2010.

Abstract: It will require a concerted effort by the polity, civil society and media to take on the khap panchayats, an anachronistic institution that derives its legitimacy from a feudal past. Instead, due to electoral considerations, the polity in states like Haryana has bowed to the clout of these khaps and has even provided them overt and covert support.

Editorial, Khaps, Castes and Violence EPW, Vol XLV No.18 May 01, 2010.

Abstract: Decrees by khap panchayats and violence against dalits paint a gruesome picture of rural Haryana.

Bhupendra Yadav, Khap Panchayats: Stealing Freedom? EPW,  Vol 44 No.52 December 26, 2009

Abstract: Khap or caste panchayats wield much more power than the statutory panchayats in states like Haryana and order harsh punitive measures against couples who marry within the gotra. Even powerful politicians do not dare invoke the law against them. However, in a couple of recorded cases, the aggrieved women have dared to come out in public and demand action against these khap panchayats.

Editorial, Above the Law, Vol 44 No.32 August 08, 2009

Abstract: How may the “œtraditional”authority of the caste panchayats be undermined? Mahi Pal, Haryana : Caste and Patriarchy in Panchayats, EPW, Vol 39 No.32 August 07, 2004.

Abstract: The caste system and patriarchy still exercise a stranglehold on Haryana’s panchayat institutions making a mockery of decentralised governance. The women elected representatives need adequate support systems as well as education to make them effective leaders.

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