This Parody Twitter Account Uses Dark Humor To Mock Rural India’s Regressive Justice System

“Is it better to have loved and lost your legs than never to have loved at all?” —@KhapPanchayat

The alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old Indian woman on orders of the village elders has brought into focus India’s often regressive system of rural justice meted out by unelected, all-male councils.

The 13 men arrested for the alleged gang rape of a woman in West Bengal are produced at a local court on Jan. 23. The Associated Press

Indian village councils, known as “salisha sabha” in West Bengal and as “khap panchayats” in other parts of India, comprise of unelected male members from the same “gotra” or subsect of a caste.

For centuries, these all-male councils have been settling disputes and controlling daily life in hundreds of villages by dictating their own brand of social justice, which is rooted in a deeply conservative and patriarchal society.

When they’re not reportedly ordering women to be gang raped, these village councils have encouraged honor killings of couples who fall in love against their family’s wishes or outside their religion; they have called for bans on same-subcaste and same-village marriages, and their solutions to curb rapes have included banning cell phones and jeans for women, pushing for early marriage for girls, and ordering rape victims to marry their accused rapists.

@KhapPanchayat is a parody Twitter account started by Tushar Sharma, a twenty-something IT student from Haryana, a state where khaps dominate in villages.

buzzfeed.com

Sharma uses dark humor and pop culture references to offer a scathing commentary on the khaps’ brand of regressive justice.

The tweets touch upon honor killings and the khaps’ views on education, women’s rights, and other conservative codes of conduct.

While the tweets could be perceived as offensive and subversive, Sharma’s mockery of India’s village councils offer a disturbing, and at times, painfully reflective view of the country’s rural justice system.

Translations:
Khap - Village council
Gotra - Subcaste
Khet - Farmland

On the khaps’ endorsement of honor killings.

If you truly love someone, let them go. If they come back, they were always yours. If they don't, we probably killed them. Lolz.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Top 10 Gotras That Will Get You Killed #KhapFeed

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

They were in love ~ planning to get hitched ~ we found out about it ~ now he lies in a ditch #micropoetry

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Is it better to have loved and lost your legs than never to have loved at all?

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

In Deepak Chopra's language, the manifestation of love in your aortic pump may lead to your quintessential demise in our village.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Tucked in a small space, they were sharing the warmth of their bodies in the wintry night. They were in the trunk of our car #50ShadesOfKhet

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

She wanted me to take her from behind. So we ran through the rear door of her home before the khap members caught us. #50ShadesOfKhet

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ views on education.

Why is India wasting so much money on this Mars mission when the money can be used to buy bulldozers for co-ed schools?

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

She looked at it and it seemed long and hard. But she couldn't solve the quadratic equation because she never went to school #50ShadesOfKhet

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

"I've been very naughty. Why don't you teach me a lesson?" "I can't. The khap has banned education for women." #50ShadesOfKhet

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ push for early marriage for girls.

The iPhone is 7 years old today. 3 more years and it'll be marriageable.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ views on women’s rights and freedoms.

Ladies, here's our much anticipated guide for safe NYE revelry: Don't go out.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

What does the fox say? Nothing. It's a female fox.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

A village girl spoke for women's rights by disrupting a Khap meeting. Man, she was on fire. The next day.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Our reaction when someone brings up women's rights in the meeting:

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

You people have "that's what she said". In our village, we have "that's why she's dead".

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

In our village, it's raining men, hallelujah, it's raining men. No seriously, have you seen our sex ratio?

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ imposing dress codes for women.

Behind every successful man is a woman who dressed appropriately.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

"I want you to punish me," she said while biting her lip. So we flogged her in public for wearing jeans. #50ShadesOfKhet

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Very excited about our year end meeting where we'll discuss our failures and blame them all on short skirts.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ outdated mores.

A teen walks into a bar. We beat him up. The bar is a set-up by us to test the morality of village teenagers.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On khaps’ being compared to extremist groups and oppressive countries.

Take you by the neck and we'll know you Beat you till you're numb and we'll show you All the moves like Qaeda We've got the moves like Qaeda

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

.@SaudiArabia plz plz plz RT. it's our member's b'day today. it will make our day. we are very big fans of how you oppress women.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

On the khaps’ intolerance of inter-caste and interfaith marriages.

How many inter caste couples does it take to change a light bulb? Trick question. Dead people can't change light bulbs.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Launching a new TV show about a christian boy named Brad from our village who falls for a hindu girl. Breaking Brad. Lolz.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

We'll make you a marriage offer you can't refuse. But that's because you're tied to a tree with a gun to your head. Lolz.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

If this Temple Run isn't about a couple running away from us midway through their wedding ceremony then we are not playing it.

— KhapPanchayat (@Khap Panchayat)

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com