Nayar of India Essay

2292 Words May 9th, 2011 10 Pages
Nayar of India
Latonya Myles
ANT 101
Instructor Wendell Johnson
April 25, 2011

Nayar of India Nayar is a Hindu caste of the India state of Kerala. The region contained small, feudal kingdoms, in each of which royal and noble lineages, the militia, and most land managers were drawn from the Nayars and related castes. Unlike most Hindus, Nayar traditionally were matrilineal. Their family unit, the members of which owned property jointly, included brothers and sisters, the latter is children, and their daughters’ children. The oldest man was legal head of the group. Rules of marriage and residence varied somewhat between kingdoms. This paper will include the examination of aspects of the life of the Nayar marriage, political
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According to Gough, at a convenient time every few years, a lineage held a grand ceremony at which all girls who had not attained puberty aged about seven to twelve, and was on one day ritually married by men drawn from their linked lineages. The ritual bridegrooms were selected in advance on the advice of the village astrologer at a meeting of the neighborhood assembly (Gough, 1959). There after various ceremonies, each tied a gold ornament around the neck of his ritual bride. The girls had for three days previously been secluded in an inner room of the house and caused to observe taboos as if they menstruated. After the tali-tying each couple was secluded in private for three days. It was traditionally, if the girl was nearing puberty, sexual relations might take place. As stated by Gough “the pre-puberty tali-rite was essential for a girl” (Gough, 1959). If she menstruated before it had been performed, she should be expelled from her lineage and caste. This tail-rite brought girls social maturity. She now thought to be a least ritually endowed with sexual and procreative functions and thenceforward accorded to the status of a woman. After the rite, people addressed the girl in public by the respectful title “mama” meaning “mother”, and she might take part in the rites of adult women. Second, after the tali-rite a girl must observe all the rules of etiquette associated with incest prohibitions in relation to

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