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Haryana hinterland

Yet, the Taus of civics plod along


THE MORE THINGS CHANGE. . .  Many of Haryana's influential khap panchayats are not pleased with the fact that their sportswomen are enjoying greater status and standing in society

Is everyone really pleased with the rise of Haryana's sporting culture at the international level, in particular their women. Surprisingly enough, a medieval mindset still frowns at this sense of freedom.

Haryana of late has been more in the news for all the wrong things: honour killings, skewed sex ratio, diktat-spouting khap panchayats who wield power over their communities by ostracising families, declaring marriages void, forcing man and wife to pledge they are siblings. Despite that, the north Indian state is witnessing winds of change when it comes to sports. The self-styled guardians of morality are ready to embrace modernity, though grudgingly. They smell honour in the success of Haryana's women in the national and international sports arenas. Heads of prominent khaps are wary. On the one hand, they are apprehensive that such success may disturb their social setup. On the other, the heady feeling of success cannot be denied. Times-Crest talked to some of the most influential khap groups of Haryana to know their views on the rise of women sportswomen from Haryana


Not very happy over the exposure of Haryana women participating in games abroad, head of another influential group - Daddan Khap of Haryana, Deva Singh Sheokand was of the view that more participation and their glorification may 'disturb' the fabric of their culture. "We have a tradition where the women are supposed to work at house and in fields, if girls are more encouraged towards sports our family system would collapse, " said Sheokand adding that "Bhai ye to satyanash ki rah hai (It's a path leading to devastation of culture). "


Captain Dilbagh Singh, who is head of the Kadian Khap in Haryana, feels they have no problem if more girls come forward for sports because at the end of the day it is an honour for the state. Captain Dilbagh also stated that after discussing with some other khaps he would propose setting up a corpus to help talented girl players who wish to pursue a career in sports.


On the exposure of large number of girls from Haryana on international platforms and the kind of dress worn by them, the head of the Meham Chaubisi Panchayat, Randhir Singh, said that they know that women cannot compete in wrestling wearing a salwar kameej or sari. He said that it is certainly a matter of pride when these women bring laurels by winning medals but "we should not forget the consequences of such change in the setup of the women player's family. "

The Meham Chaubishi is an umbrella organisation of all khaps in the state and the diktats are issued from the ramparts of the Meham Chaubisi Chabootara - a platform reserved for the congregation of all khaps in the state.

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