Caste panchayat

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For other uses, see Panchayat (disambiguation).

Caste panchayats are caste(i.e. an endogamous social group) specific juries of elders of that caste for a village or at higher level in India.[1] A village Panchayat is distinct from a caste panchayat because the former as a statutory body serves all villagers regardless of caste, although it operates with the same principles.

Panchayat Near Narsingarh MP India

The term Panchayat implies a body for five (Sanskrit Panch) individuals, although the number may vary in actual cases. The number is intentionally kept odd to ensure there is no tie. The Panchayat members were appointed by consensus. [2] Traditionally, the panchayat was the body that adjudicated in open meetings on disputes involving the caste members. The issues brought before these bodies included managing temples, schools, resolving disputes involving property, marital relations, breaches of community rules (such as extravagant spending on weddings,[3] eating, drinking and killing of certain animals (For example, cows) etc.). The penalties levied by the panchayat included monetary fines or in kind, to offer a feast to the caste members or to Brahmins, and temporary or permanent excommunication from the caste. Pilgrimage and self-humiliation were also occasionally imposed. Physical punishment was on occasion levied.

In recent times, these issues are heard before a civil or criminal court rather than by the caste panchayat.[4][5] Nevertheless, these bodies still exist and the panch (jury) do exert a leadership role within their respective groups.[6][7][8]

Historical mentions of the panchayats include the Parsi Panchayat in 1818 ,[9] Aror Bans Panchayat at Lahore in 1888[10] and Prachin Agrawal Jain Panchayat of delhi founded in late 19th century (which runs the famous Bird Hospital in Delhi [11] along with some of the oldest temples in Delhi.


Khap is a clan or a group of related clan, mainly among theJats of Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.,[12] [13] although historically the term has been used among other communities also .[14] A Khap Panchayat is an assembly of Khap elders. A Sarv Khap (literally all Khaps) meeting involves an assembly of many Khaps.[15][16] A Khap is a community organization unaffiliated with the formally elected government bodies. A Khap Panchayat is concerned with the affairs of the Khap it represents.[17] It is not affiliated with the democratically elected local assemblies that are also termed Panchayat. A Khap panchayat has not official government recognition or authority, but can exert significant social influence within the community they represent.[18] Baliyan Khap, led by late farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, is a well known Jat Khap.[19]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Mullick, Rohit and Raaj, Neelam (9 September 2007). "Panchayats turn into kangaroo courts". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. 
  2. ^ [1] Justice, Human Rights and Premchand’s Panch Parmeshwar By CHARANJEET KAUR | Dec 09, 2012]
  3. ^ Jain Panchayat Frames Regulations to Check Lavish Weddings, Kiran Tare, The New Indian Express, 19th December 2014
  4. ^ Panchayat: Indian caste government (article 9374468), Encyclopædia Britannica, about "caste panchayats"
  5. ^ Randeria, Shalini (2006). Civil society: Berlin perspectives, Chapter 9, "Entangled histories: Civil society, caste solidarities and legal pluralism in post-colonial India". Bergahn Books. pp. 213–226. ISBN 184545-064-7. 
  6. ^ Kumar, Vijay (1989). Scheduled caste panchayat pradhans in India: A study of western Uttar Pradesh. Ajanta. p. 183. ISBN 8120202627. 
  7. ^ Dube, SC (1955). India's Villages (PDF). 
  8. ^ Robert, Hayden (1984). "A Note on Caste Panchayats and Government Courts in India : Different Kinds of Stages for Different Kinds of Performances:" (PDF). The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 16 (22): 43–52. doi:10.1080/07329113.1984.10756282. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 June 2015. 
  9. ^ [2] Rhetoric and Ritual in Colonial India: The Shaping of a Public Culture in Surat City, 1852-1928, Douglas E. Haynes, University of California Press, 1991, p. 77-79]
  10. ^ [3] Short Ethnographical History of Aror Bans [panchayat]: According to the Questions, Issue 2 Volume 756 of Tract (India Office Library) Virajananda Press, 1888]
  11. ^ A Jain hospital exclusively for birds, D.N.Jha, MeriNews, 20 May, 2008
  12. ^ क्या है खाप पंचायत, क्यों है उसका दबदबा?, Atul Sagar, BBC 5 August 2009
  13. ^ Identifying The Centripetal And Centrifugal Forces Through Khap Panchayats In Haryana-An Analysis Satpal Singh, Dalbir Singh, IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 16, Issue 4 (Sep. - Oct. 2013), PP 109-116
  14. ^ अब उतपति श्रावकनु के, षांप गोत की जेम |
    भई सु पोथिनु देषि करि, वरनन है कवि तेम ||६८२||
    आगैं तो श्रावक सवै, एकमेक ही होत |
    लगे चलन विपरीति तव, थापे षांप अरु गोत ||६८३||
    थपी वहैतरि षांप ऐ, गांम नगर के नांम |
    जैसैं पोथनु मैं लषी, सो वरनी अभिराम ||६८४||
    Describes the 84 Jain communities, Buddhi-Vilas, Bakhtaram Sah, Samvat 1827, (1770 AD)
  15. ^ Haryana’s biggest khap panchayat scripts history, allows inter-caste marriages, Manveer Saini,TNN | Apr 21, 2014,
  16. ^ The Jats of Northern India Their Traditional Political System—II, M C Pradhan, Economic and Political Weekly, December 18, 1965
  17. ^ खाप पंचायतों का हृदय परिवर्तन! अंजलि सिन्हा, Sahara Samay, 26 Apr 2014
  18. ^ Kaur, Ravinder (2010-06-05). "Khap panchayats, sex ratio and female agency | Ravinder Kaur". Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  19. ^ Muzaffarnagar riots: A Jat family protected 70 Muslims in Fugna village, India Today, September 14, 2013