These matrilineal societies of India can be an answer to growing gender inequality

The matrilineal societies,khasi tribe,garo tribe,nair community,women dominent societies,india,indianness

One such buzz word that people from all walks of life began to band against was ‘patriarchy’ and mostly the practice of it. Imagine a world where the man takes up his wife’s name and leave his house to live in his mother in laws house? Amazing right? Well this is not an overstatement but reality of these few tribes of India. In the growing gender stereotypic communities in the country, these tribal societies is doing the unachievable that too through ages. Here male do not carry the clans name forward instead its women swapping up the roles with the males! Check them out for a complete fairytale world!

The Khasi Tribe:

The Khasi Tribe are an indigenous ethnic group of Meghalaya in north-eastern India, with a significant population in the bordering state of Assam, and in certain parts of Bangladesh. The tribe lives away from the mainstream people and maintains the safe distance. This tribe is unique because of its women oriented structure. Here, it’s the women who looks after and leads the family. The boy after marriages has to sustain his wife’s clan name and had to live in his mother in laws house, exactly opposite to mainstream world. All the affairs of the tribe and the family are controlled by women only. The property on the other hand is inherited to the youngest daughter of the family. In cases where there is no youngest daughter the property of the mother is given to the youngest daughter of mother’s sister.

The Garo Tribe:

The Garos are an indigenous Tibeto-Burman ethnic group from the Indian subcontinent, notably found in the Indian states of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, and neighboring areas of Bangladesh. Here the individual takes the clans name from the mothers. Just like Khasi tribe, the property is inherited by the youngest daughter of the family. After the marriage the man is expected to live in his wife’s house. Garos are only a matrilinear society but not matriarchal. While the property is owned by women, the men govern the society and domestic affairs and manage the property. The main religion followed by the clan is Christianity. This tribe also prefer stay untouched by the rest of the world.

The Nair Community:

The Nair are a group of Indian Hindu castes. The society still largely is matrilineal. They too carry the bloodline of their mothers’ families. There’s a custom in Hindu society that on birth the father will go to the temple but here in Nair community the mother or other females of the house can go. Same goes for death, in mainstream society males go for the funeral but here in the Nair community the female of the family goes for the burial. One thing different in this community is that it doesn’t matter that the heir will be a girl or a boy. It could be anyone dependent upon the abilities of the individual. In this community the women are not gentle or soft but are trained to be a leader, if so they would have remained behind the doors- but that exactly not the case.

Few Societies Of Kerala:

Though Kerala is at the urge of decline of a matrilineal society, there are few who doesn’t choose to change. Women are given decision making power, autonomy over their sexuality and their bodies and a control in the matters of their marriage and children. Such tribes include the Nayar, Travancore, the Ezhavas and the Malabar Muslims of northern Kerala. Though a very few of them can be witnessed today, their existence is traced years back. Lineage is traced through females, children took the name of their mothers as their surname, and they stayed at the mother’s house even after marriage. The properties are on the mothers name and thus is passed down to the younger females of the family.


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