Kinship: dravidian, munda and indo-aryan

kalyans at kalyans at
Fri Jul 28 13:40:00 UTC 1995

Etyma are one source of establishing kinship.
Another is the anthropological perspective provided
by an ancient social institution: marriage of cousins.

Let me cite from W.H.R.Rivers, "The marriage of
cousins in India" Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,
1907, pp. 611-640:

"Among the Todas the marriage regulation ... is that the
children of brother and sister should marry, i.e. a man
should marry the daughter either of his mother's brother
or of his father's sister, while marriage with the child
of the father's brother or mother's sister is absolutely
prohibited... among the Paraiyans of Travancore, where
the cousin-marriage is usual,the bridegroom pays money to
both father and uncle of his bride, the latter receiving
the larger sum... among the Idaiyans,... one of the
maternal uncles of the bride carries her in his arms
to the marriage booth.... IrAqis of the North-Western
Provinces, this role of the father's sister's husband is
combined with the custom that a man may marry the
daughter f his mother's brother... in Telugu the 
name for the wife's father is also mama, the mother's
brother being called menamama; and in Canarese he name
for both relatives is the same, viz. mara... (kinship
system) of the Korwas (Northern India) shows a close
similarity... in which the mother's brother arranges the
marriage... In some parts of Australia the marriage
regulation that the children of brother and sister must
marry is closely connected with another institution,
viz. the dual organization of society. In a society
organized on this basis the children of a brother and
sister must always belong to different divisions of the
community... (marriage with the daughter of the 
maternal or paternal uncle) is to be found among the
Gonds of the Central Provinces and it has also been
reported of the MazhwAr or Gonds of the NW Provinces and
of the Jhoras of Bengal... This kind of marriage is also
found among the Kulus of the Panjab, he Magh, an indo-
chinese tribe of Bengal, the Ghasyas, a dravidian caste
of the NW Provinces, and the Kathis of Bombay... among
the Nats of the NW Provinces... among the maheswAris and
pancholis of Rajputana, where the bride is carried seven
times around the bridegroom by her maternal uncle...
among the Shenvis of the Bombay Presidency, the uncle
lifts the bride from the marriage altar and sets her 
down on a heap of rice, the same custom being 
followed by the PAtAna prabhus, the Panch
kalshis, and the sonArs... among the Mogers or 
fishermen of South Canara... among the Cheros 
a non-Aryan people of Bengal... the Jain
Shmpis of Ahmadnagar... the Modhs of Cutch..."

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
kalyans at
27 July 1995


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