Is it really happening? Is India finally changing? are some of the questions that flood your mind when you get a news as good as this. The 'khap' panchayat, which has been issuing honor killing verdicts till now, has now decided to move with time. Really?!! or is it need that has kindled such urgency to 'save' the girl child?
Worried about the seemingly disarrayed sex ratio, a cluster of 20 villages (ruled by the khap panchayat) in Haryana's Hind district have put a ban on sex determination and female foeticide. To add on the surprise is the fine of Rs 11,000 that they have decided to levy on violators (wondering how much could have been collected in the government funds till now? Probably enough to feed the entire nation for one financial year without paying taxes).
Well, that is not all, the Thua Khap has decided that repeat offenders would also be socially boycotted.
Why this sudden unexpected pledge? is a question that would have obvious answers. With incidences of increasing bride-sharing and brides cheating on husbands, the 'khap' might have been insecured of their future 'legacy'.
"We have made a commitment to improve the sex ratio in these 20 villages, within a year. It is a social problem that has assumed enormous proportions. In some villages, men have been cheated by these brides who have deserted them soon after marriage. These incidents have prompted us to take such steps," said khap spokesperson Jitender Singh Chhattar.
While runaway brides is just one side of the coin, the khap panchayat has to deal with what lies on the flip side-dowry, which has rendered women as a burden on their families. Poverty and demand for exorbitant dowry has led to a number of female foeticides. Surprisingly, the khap has a solution for this too.
"The panchayat has urged the villagers not to give or take dowry so that girls are not considered a burden on families. We will launch an awareness program regarding that before levying fines to violators. The main agenda of the program would be to educate women and make them independent," said another khap leader Mewa Singh Chattar.
According to the latest census of 2011, the sex ratio of Haryana ranges from 850-900 females per 1,000 males-an enormous gap that is continuously widening with time. In such a scenario, the khap's wise decision to issue such a verdict is welcomed by one and all.
After all, "People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves" (Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die).