Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

INDIA AND THE DIASPORA => Indian Perspectives => Topic started by: Kairi on June 10, 2014, 11:51:42 PM

Title: Polyandry in India
Post by: Kairi on June 10, 2014, 11:51:42 PM
I've been wondering about the gender domination of males over females in India as depicted by the media and did some research about this topic.  What I found surprised me.  Polyandry.  In India.  A dying tradition I grant you but worth examining as a part of India’s cultural diversity.

 "Though polyandrous marriages are rare, they are not uncommon in remote Himalayan and Indian communities (Heider 2007: 240). Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which a woman is married to multiple husbands. In these groups of Himalayan peoples fraternal polyandry, in which brothers all share one wife, is the common form of marriage dynamic (Berreman 2009: 61). These family-based marriages provide socioeconomic advantages in Himalayan communities.

Fraternal polyandrous unions are arranged by the participants’ parents. The maternal parents include some form of dowry and arrange for their daughter to be married to the oldest son of another family and all his younger brothers. The younger brothers have the ability to bypass this arrangement, however, they typically do not. “No one takes a decision regarding one’s own marriage. Everyone at home sits down together; and then it is decided with the consent of everyone” (from Multiple Husbands). Men in polyandrous marriages also take on domestic responsibilities, such as cooking and childcare, contrary to most men in monogamous marriages in India."

Article here  - (   

Title: Re: Polyandry in India
Post by: Kairi on June 10, 2014, 11:54:52 PM
“Times have changed,” Ms. Devi said. “Now nobody marries like this.”

Polyandry has never been common in India, but pockets have persisted, especially among the Hindu and Buddhist communities of the Himalayas, where India abuts Tibet.

Malang sits in the Lahaul Valley, one of India’s most remote and isolated corners. For six months heavy snow cuts off the single mountain road that connects the region to the rest of the country. In summer, its steep mountainsides shimmer with wildflowers, and glacial rivers irrigate small valley farm fields and orchards, which yield generous crops of peas, potatoes, apples and plums.

Sukh Dayal Bhagsen, 60, is from the neighboring village of Tholang. As a young man he joined his elder brother’s marriage to a woman named Prem Dasi. It was never discussed, but always assumed, that he would do this when he reached marriageable age, he said.

“If you marry a different woman, then there are more chances of family disputes,” Mr. Bhagsen said. “Family property is divided, and problems arise.”

Three brothers married Ms. Dasi, who bore five children."

Full article here - (

Title: Re: Polyandry in India
Post by: Kairi on June 10, 2014, 11:57:14 PM
"MANSA: In certain villages of Boha block, one of most backward places in Punjab in this district, one easily can come across families practicing polyandry with modern Draupadis becoming wives of more than one, all real brothers. The urge of male siblings to save fragmentation of their already small landholdings is leading these Punjab villages to fraternal polyandry. 

Reond, Gandua, Maghania, Andiawali, Kalipur, Kulana are some of the backward villages of Boha in Mansa, where a woman could be seen sharing intimacies with two to four brothers. Here child sex ratio too is at rock bottom from among Punjab districts. Illiteracy, drug addiction, too are said to be other reasons for polyandry, said Kalipur village sarpanch Ballam Singh. Confirming the concept of polyandry even in these modern times, Ballam Singh said, 'In more than half a dozen villages of Boha, villagers are practicing it as they have no other options'. "

Full article here  - (

Title: Re: Polyandry in India
Post by: Kairi on June 11, 2014, 12:01:13 AM
When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense :

excerpt   -     "Two fathers? As odd as it can sound to those of us who know of human development as the one-egg-meets-one-sperm story, some cultures maintain the idea that fetuses develop in the womb as the result of multiple contributions of semen over the course of a pregnancy. In cultural systems of what Beckerman has named "partible paternity," two men can be socially recognized as legitimate fathers of a single child. Starkweather and Hames call this a form of "informal polyandry," because while the two fathers may not be both formally married to and living with the mother in all cases, the society around them officially recognizes both men as legitimate mates to the mother, and father to her child."

Full article here - (