Matrilineal Nayars In Kerala

1071 Words5 Pages
The social movements as well as the spread of modern education gradually began to change the social structure of Kerala. If traditional education helped in preserving social conservatism, modern English education helped the dissemination of liberal ideas of equality, brotherhood, individualism, liberty, and dignity of the human person. The employment of the educated lower castes in schools and government services resulted in the breakdown of traditional values. Joint families got divided into smaller units due to the need for some members to move from village to city, or from one city to another in search of education and better job opportunities. People also believed that nuclear family ensured more satisfaction, security and privacy, greater…show more content…
The matrilineal Nayars of Kerala are different from other castes because of their peculiar marriage customs, polyandrous unions and the freedom of women for conjugal relations. Sambandham (alliance) is the socially recognized marital alliance among matrilineals. It was not a sacrament like the other Hindu marriages. Sambandham is dissoluble at will and if a husband or wife deserted the spouse, a new sambandham could be contracted with another person. The instability of marriage leading to divorce was due to the fact that sambandham guaranteed no legal obligation of maintenance to the divorced wife. The legal aspect of sambandham did not bother the earlier generations as the husband was only a ‘genitor’ of children and maintenance of its daughters and their children was the obligation of the tharawad. Even though there was not any state law regarding the legal status of sambandham, the state always took it for granted because the community always considered sambandham a valid marriage. The first legislation to declare sambandham valid was enacted in Travancore in 1912 (The Travancore Nair Regulation of 1912), in Cochin in 1920 and lastly in British Malabar in 1933 by the Madras Marmakkathayam Act of…show more content…
Such a marriage is called pratiloma (hypogamy). Likewise, a Nayar woman who married a Nambutiri was not admitted into the kitchen of his illam or allowed to eat with the Nambutiri women. The position and status of Nayar woman during social functions bring out her precarious condition. Likewise a Nambutiri/Antarjanam, who married a Christian girl/boy would be prevented from having any contact with his family or social group. Such a practice was called padi adachu pindam vekkal. One of the main objectives of the Nayar Regulation of 1925 was the partition in the marumakkathayam tharawads. An attempt to introduce makkathayam (patrilineal system of inheritance) was quite discernible. The maintenance and guardianship of the wife and children were vested with the husband or father. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 favoured individual partition and many followed this

More about Matrilineal Nayars In Kerala

Open Document