Saturday, July 3, 2010

Khaps want girls' marriageable age lowered to 15

"Jat Mahasabha wants marriageable age of girls and boys to be lowered to 15 and 17 respectively so that couples don't elope and marry against the wishes of their families. According to Om Prakash Mann, Haryana president of All India Jat Mahasabha, the demand will be discussed at a sarv khap panchayat on July 17 at Meham Chaubisi Chabutara in Rohtak. The demand was raised at a meeting of khap representatives at Dhanana village" Times Of India

For quite a long time 'Khaps' are on the news for the issues regarding to marriage, honour killings and reservation. Day after day news of new honour killings are coming from these villages, especially from Haryana. No one knows how many are already killed and how many are going to lose their life during this process of achieving honour. Political considerations (read as vote bank politics) often make the parties and political leaders to remain silent on these issues or sing the same song. Otherwise how can you explain the continuation of Taliban system of honour killings, which take place only few hundred kilometers from the national capital - New Delhi.

Will they achieve honour after these killings? If the executioners are getting honoured after killings of 'Couples' then there is something fundamentally wrong in our society. It's natural tendency for humans (not only humans but almost all other animals-to select their partner) to fall in love with the opposite sex, and at some point of time selecting one for the entire life or till they feel bored with one another. But humans made this simple matter as complicated as possible, by creating numerous moral warrants. There is nothing wrong in giving punishment for criminals, but love affair  is not a crime and death warrants aren't the punishments for it.

The new request (or order??) comes at a time when the government and other agencies are working hard to create awareness among the people against Child marriage. Child marriages often put the girls in a helpless position - In the form of discontinued education, family responsibilities at very young age, absence of a framework to get a job and earn money, evaporation of childhood happiness etc.

What young generation expects from the experienced age is - guidance and sharing their experience which they acquired over the years, not death warrants and orders which will curb even their small happiness and right to live a life with dignity. Selecting a life partner on their own is not a crime neither legally nor morally. But executing death warrants, which are taken by a group of people who challenge the Indian Judicial system, is certainly a crime both legally and morally.

Instead of working hard for reducing the marriage age for boys and girls (I don't think we can call them men and women at these ages), these Khap Panchayats should work for increasing their marriage age. So that they can experience the world and acquire a clear understanding of what is happening around them. At any scale, there are numerous other things which require these khap leaders attention - like the killing of girls before birth, crimes against women etc. In Haryana already the men - women ratio reached an alarmingly low level. If things are going in this way there will not be any girl child left to marry at all. why don't they try their hand in these fields?