Kinship systems

Raveen Satkurunathan tawady at YAHOO.COM
Mon Oct 9 05:25:20 UTC 2000

On Sat, 7 Oct 2000 19:26:54 GMT, N. Ganesan <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM>

>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

Thank you very much for your references. There is at least one Austro-Asiatc
tribe namely the Ho of Bihar and Orissa who indulge in cross cousin
marriages. "They trace their descent through the paternal line, and young
people are expected to marry outside the paternal clan, but there is a
prevalent custom of marrying one's cousin on the maternal side. Marriage by
elopement and by abduction are also traditionally common."

As you pointed out in your original post anthropologists point out that the
cross cousin marriage custom among the Sinhalese and the Divehis point to
their Dravidian origins.


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