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

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The Political Economy of Haryana's Khaps

Haryana's economic development sits uneasily with the regressive social and gender attitudes of its all-powerful khap panchayats. The largely agrarian society is against the Succession Act of 1956 which gives women the right of inheritance. The recent series of violent crimes against women and aggressive statements on lowering the age of marriage are in line with this anti-women attitude.

Haryana’s story of economic deve­lopment has not translated into corresponding gains in the social sphere with its people continuing to be subjected to traditional institutions and their regressive practices. This paradox in the state is indicative of how development can sometimes be a misnomer if it does not change unjust cultural thought and practice.

Over the last decade and particularly in the last two years, there has been a phenomenal increase in violence against women in Haryana as reported in the print and electronic media. Haryana seems to be in turmoil, grappling with all sorts of issues of tradition and modernity. Despite constitutional provisions and safeguards to protect the rights of women by ensuring equality of ­opportunity and building a gender-just society, the state has the dubious distinction of growing incidence of rapes/gang rapes, eve-teasing, molestation, abduction, rampant foeticide, child marriages, honour killings, diktats by khaps, violence against girls in natal families on the choice of their marriage partners and property issues, etc.

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