Kinship systems

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 7 19:26:54 UTC 2000

NG>>Dravidian cannot be excluded from Buddha's ethnicity analysis either.
NG>>Like Krishna, he married his cross-cousin, a practice
NG>>much prevalent in the south so much so it gets the name
NG>>Dravidian kinship. (Cf. T. Trautmann's works).
NG>>Perhaps just after few centuries of bilingualism,
NG>>kinship remains, but langauge is IA.

Culturally Indo-Aryan Sinhalese of Sri Lanka and Divehis of Maldives (Ref.
Clarence Maloney, Where Did the Maldives People Come From?)  indulged in
cross - cousin marriages till recently, we are talking about more than few
generations here :-) But cross cousin marriages are not limited to
Dravidian speakers alone in India but also Austro -Asiatics.

Dravidian and Munda kinships are different, acc. to anthropologists.
There is no symmetric cross-cousin 'give-and-take' marriages
in Munda systems. I have even seen Dravidian kinship systems
(with some variants) applied to Australian Kariera, American Indian
groups, but none with Munda.

Mohan Gautam, Santal-Munda kinship and Family, p. 111-128
(Changing patterns of family and kinship in South Asia,
Helsinki, 1998) does not talk anything about Drav.
kinship or any Munda group engaged in symmetrical
bride exchanges. Dr. Gautam has spent decades among
the Munda tribes.

M. Godelier, T. Trautmann, Transformation of kinship,
Smithsonian instituition, 1998. This important volume
has many papers on drav.-type kinship systems.
[eg., N. J. Allen, The prehistory of Dravidian-Type
terminologies; Eduardo De Castro, Dravidian
and related kinship systems, ...]

A sample:
Robert Parkin, Dravidian and Iroquois in South Asia, 252-70.
p. 255
"While the Dravidian systems of south India are famous
for being reasonably pure examples of two-line
symmetric perspective, ...


At least in the north of the Munda area, regular systems
of affinal alliance exist that are conceived indigenously
not as a system of cross-cousin marriage but as ones
involving exchange among sibling pairs defined as
being eSbSpySb to one another (i.e., eZHyZ and eBWyZ for
male ego, eZHyB and eBWyB for female ego). This goes
along with a system that does not allow the immediate
renewal of alliances between the same two alliance
groups but does allow renewal subsequently, after the
lapse of atleast one and, more typically, three
generations. It also corresponds with the separation
of affines from cross-cousin: If immediate renewal
theough cross-cousin marriage is not allowed, WF cannot
also be MB(ie., he cannot be the father of a cross-cousin),
nor can WB also be a cross-cousin."

N. Ganesan

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list