ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Historicising the Khap Panchayat

This is just a complementary remark on the article (“The Political Economy of Haryana’s Khaps”, EPW, 1 December 2012) by Neerja Ahlawat. My comment relates to not just this article but almost all the writings circulated in some recent months about khap panchayats.

What I have found to be completely missing in all these writings and discussions is the historicity of these khap panchayats. Almost all the discussions are centred around the issue of property rights for women and caste discriminations. If we go back to the colonial period, by 1833 the East India Company, in order to collect land revenue smoothly, had introduced a modified Mahalwari system called gram vyavastha or village settlement in the areas of the later Punjab province which eventually came to encompass present-day Punjab, Haryana, parts of western Uttar Pradesh (UP), Himachal Pradesh, etc.

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