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What is Polyandry Marriage in India

The practice of polyandry is found in very few human communities in the world. In the new wave of modernization, today we justify monogamy system. Polygamous marriages have existed in Tibet since ancient times. In India, polygamous marriages existed in the tribes like Khas, Irwan, Kurgi, Toda, Kota etc. There was polyandry in the Adi Dravidian and Dravidian cultures. The marriage of Draupadi to the five Pandavas in the Mahabharata is considered an important example of polygamy. But barring such an example, the practice of polyandry is nowhere to be found in Indian literature. If you do not know what is polyandry marriage practice, then we are going to tell in detail in this article.

What is polyandry marriage in India

What is polyandry marriage

The marriage of a girl or a woman with more than one man is called polyandry. It is difficult to say when this practice originated. The disproportionate number of males and females in a tribe can be a major reason for polygamy. In some tribes, when a girl was born, she was killed. As a result, the number of girls declined, which is said to have led to the birth of polyandry. However, the same cannot be said of all tribes.

Protecting family property from being divided and fragmented, keeping everyone united, this can be the main reason for the practice of polyandry. It was feared that if each brother had a free marriage, his children and husband and wife would form a separate family and the wealth would be divided. This problem does not arise in polygamy. That’s why this practice probably lasted for centuries.

Due to poor financial condition it is not possible for every brother in the family to get a bride. But even this reason does not seem so valid. Polygamy must be a relic of pre-agricultural human life. In the event of hunting and animal husbandry, humans were bound for communal life. Since various occupations were not created in the society, the division of labor was based on gender discrimination. The woman had to do the household chores, the child-rearing and the man to go hunting by the gang โ€“ these were the jobs. All men of the same age had the right to have sex with all women of the same age. Polygamy may have originated from such collective relations.

Polygamous marriage occurs when the same woman marries two or more men. If after the death of the first husband she marries another man or divorces the second husband and marries the third man, it cannot be called polyandry. The tradition of polyandry includes the existence of multiple husbands of a woman and their conjugal rights over it.

All husbands of a woman can be from the same family, they can be brothers of each other or even men who have no relation among themselves can also be her husband. Polyandry marriage does not mean that all the men in the family have a common wife, but even if several women are married by the men in the family, all the women can be the common wives of all the men.

After the death of the husband, the marriage was fixed with a woman or a man of the clan, but the two did not marry. After the death of the husband or if the husband is disfellowshipped, the woman is allowed to marry her younger sister. Words prohibiting the marriage of God are also found in the Smritis. From the above examples, it can be seen that the ongoing tradition of polyandry marriage from the Adi Dravidian cultures has been destroyed over time. As the influence of the moral values โ€‹โ€‹of the Aryans increased, so did these changes. The practice of god-marriage is found in some tribes in India and other countries, it is a remnant of the tradition of polyandry.

Polyandry marriage in India

Polyandry was practiced among the tribes of the Noda, Irwan and Toda in the vicinity of the Nilgiri Mountains in Kerala, India, as well as the Khas in the Dehradun district of Uttar Pradesh. It closed in the twentieth century. Of the above, the Khas, Irwan, Toda, Kota tribes have patriarchal family system and Nair tribe has only matriarchal system.

Khas, Irwan, Kota tribes are polygamous marriages, which means that all husbands of a woman in this tribe are brothers. A woman marries only the eldest brother of her husband. At that time all the younger brothers are sitting next to him. The wife of the eldest brother is considered the wife of all. If the first wife becomes childless or due to some reason the second woman has to marry then the eldest brother gets remarried and is also considered as the wife of all. Although many brothers are married to a woman and all have sexual rights over her, the paternity of the child born is with the eldest brother.

However, the Toda tribe has solved the problem of paternity in a different way. If a woman becomes pregnant, the man to whom she is related performs a ritual of giving her a bow. It is called ‘Purasutpimi’. The person who performs this ritual is the father of the child to be born. It is not that a woman’s husband belongs to the same family. They also have unconditional polyandry marriages.

The second tribe with non-sectarian polyandry marriages is the Nair tribe. Namputiri (Namboodiri) Nair girls were married in an anuloma manner to the boys of Brahmin clan. Sometimes, these marriages were extremely loose. The Namputiri Brahmins belonged to a patriarchal caste and accepted the right of the eldest son of the family to marry a girl of the same caste in the Vedic manner.

Other brothers were not allowed to marry a girl of the same caste as marriage in the Vedic manner was forbidden. So the other brothers started having ‘relationship’ with the girls of the caste who were considered inferior to the Namputiri. The practice of polyandry is no longer in the Nair society.

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