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Women and Marriage in Marumakkathayam

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Department of History, Zamorins Guruvayurappan College, Calicut, Kerala, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 4, Issue (10), Pages 32-36, October,14 (2015)


Malabar was known throughout the world for its exotic system of marriage and family relations. Matriliny of Malabar was known by the name of marumakkathayam. This was a system in which women were central to all family relations and property rights vested on women. Women and her children were the inheritors of the property. Nair households were known as tarawad and Nair marriages as sambandham. This was a unique system of marriage in which the male partner was devoid of any responsibility in a marital relationship. Usually nair women received husbands from upper castes, like the namboothiris- the Brahmin caste of Kerala. This article attempts to analyze the status of nair women and their so called “celebrated” freedom they enjoyed in their tarawads. There was a notion regarding nair women that, they unlike their counterparts in other castes, were free to take decisions on various issues including their marriage. In a patriarchal Indian society this was inconceivable. But this notion seems to be dwindling in the light of certain other sources. Status of women in the family and their rights were under the strict control of the eldest male member of the family, the karnavan. More studies are to be made in this respect to reveal the condition of nair women.


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