adoption & marriage: legal question

Enrica Garzilli garzilli at ASIATICA.ORG
Wed Nov 26 18:59:07 UTC 2003

A wife can be also appointed by her sonless husband (because he is impotent
or ill), or a sonless widow can be appointed, to give up to 2 sons to him
conceiving them either with a sapinda or sagotra of her husband, or with his
brother (levirate). To appoint a putrikA is just one of the kinds of niyoga.

In Italy, aristocratic families sometimes adopt the daughter's husband in
order to give him the family name and perpetuate it. It is a legal adoption.


Dr. Enrica Garzilli
Uni. of Macerata, Italy
Editor-in-chief, IJTS & JSAWS
Asiatica Association
ph. + 39 02 76011 736  fax +39 02 700511864
----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Olivelle" <jpo at UTS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU>
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 9:23 AM
Subject: Re: adoption & marriage: legal question

> Jonathan:
> The answer may lie in the institution of "niyoga" - where a sonless
> man will "appoint" his daughter as his "son" -- putrikaa, someone I
> call "female-son". Any sons such a "female-son" gets, is regarded as
> the "son" of his maternal grandmother. Discussed at length by Hans
> Peter-Schmidt in his "Some Rites and Rights of Women." What is found
> in the Dharmasastras makes no reference to where the newly married
> couple may reside, but it makes sense that they would reside with the
> wife's parents rather than, as normal, with the husband's.
> Patrick
> >For the Dharmazaastrins:
> >
> >In a story I have studied, Indian but available only in Tibetan (the
> >tale of Utpalavar.naa), a man with a daughter, but no son, meets a
> >young man, who is an orphan. He tells the young man he will give him
> >his daughter in marriage if the young man will come to live in his
> >house. The young man agrees, and marries the daughter. (the story
> >gets interesting because the man dies, the son-in-law has a sexual
> >liason with the widow=his mother-in-law, the wife finds out about it
> >etc.)
> >
> >Question: is there any question of adoption possible here? The young
> >man could make himself a svaayamdatta, as I understand it, but in
> >that case --if I understand correctly--there is no way he could marry
> >the daughter, right? He would then fall under all the restrictions on
> >marriagable women (and agamyaa in general) that would apply to a
> >natural son. Is this correct? (The text never says he is adopted.).
> >
> >Part of the reason I am wondering about this may be my long-held
> >doubt about how things work in the, admitted entirely unrelated, case
> >of Japan, in which young men are adopted as husbands for daughters in
> >families without sons. Although Japan has no notion of pi.n.da as
> >such in the Indian legal sense that would make the presence of one
> >able to give the pi.n.da so important, the overall notion is the
> >same, continuation of the line. I do not know how Japanese law or
> >custom explains what should, prima facie, be the subsequent sibling
> >incest of husband/adopted son and daughter.
> >
> >Any hints would be much appreciated, jonathan
> >--
> >Jonathan Silk
> >Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
> >Center for Buddhist Studies
> >290 Royce Hall
> >Box 951540
> >Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
> >phone: (310)206-8235
> >fax:  (310)825-8808
> >silk at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list