Thursday, June 30, 2011



The Institution of Marriage- The institution of the marriage is very important social institution which provides a heterosexual relationship for bearing and rearing of children. Thus primarily marriage is way regulating reproduction and giving legitimacy to the children born by the wedlock which is very much important in matter of succession.

Forms of Marriage

Monogamy- The person will have one spouse at a time.

Polygamy – The person will have two or more living spouse at a time. Polygyny (one man two or more wives) and Polyandry(one woman with two or more husbands).

In Polygyny if a person marries the sisters then it is called sororal polygyny and In polyandry if a woman marries brothers then it is called fraternal polyandry.

Rules of Endogamy and Exogamy-

Endogamy is a form of marriage where a person has a matrimonial within a specified group such as caste.

Exogamy is a form of marriage which is outside the specified group such clan, lineage, sapind etc.

Among Hindus, there are over three hundred castes sub-castes and each one of them is endogamous. Despite modernising trends in India, which Among Hindus, there are over three hundred casteslsub- castes and each one of them is endogamous. Despite modernising trends in India, which have diluted caste restrictions in many respects, inter-caste marriages are still few and mostly limited to educated urban individuals. Although the norms of caste endogamy were widely prevalent, Hindu scriptures by allowing anuloma and pratiloma marriages, institutionalised, to a limited extent, inter-caste marital

alliances. The anuloma marriage permits an alliance betweena lower class woman and higher caste man, while the pratiloma marriage is an alliance between higher caste woman and a lower caste man. The former is referred to by the sociologists as hypergamy and the latter as hypogamy.

Rules of exogamy among Hindus are very specific. Hindus are traditionally prohibited from marrying in their own gotra, pravara and sapinda (gotra, pravara and sapinda refer to a group of individuals assumed to have descended from a paternal or maternal ancestor and are variously termed as clan, sib or lineage). The Hindu Marriage Act (1955) forbids marriage between sapinda, and specifies

that marriage between two persons related within five generations on the father's side and three on the mother's side is void, unless permitted by local custom.

Mate Selection In India, considerations of caste, religious and family background have traditionally

been of great importance i2 selection of mates. In addition, looks of the girl and her competence as housewife, are also considered to be important. In urban middle class families, the earning capacity of the girl is also given considerable weightage, these days, in the selection of a bride.

Preferential Marriage - marriage with particular cross cousins (father's, sister's or mother's brother's offsprings) are approved or permitted in many societies. Among Arabs and Muslims in India,

marriage between parallel cousins (child of father's brother or mother's sister) is common. Possible reasons for permitting or preferring cousin marriages are: (a) family wealth is not dispersed as it remains within related family groups; and (b) relationships do not fade away as they are constantly renewed among offsprings of related families.

Love Marriage - In the western urban-industrial method of mate selection, individuals go through the

process of dating and courtship, they make selections, based on the consideration of feelings for one another. This is termed as 'love marriage' by AsiansIIndians.

There is an important difference between love marriage and arranged marriage. Whereas in the latter at the individual's level one has vague expectations from marriage (in fact, individuals enter into it primarily for performing their social duty), in self-choice marriage there are great expectations of happiness and companionship from one's partner in marriage. However, these are not very easy to attain and retain in day-today life after marriage, where practical problems of existence confront the couple. Mature personalities are able to adjust to this gap between dream and reality. The less

mature find it difficult to adjust. At times the gap between fantasy of romantic love and exigencies of practical life is so wide that the strain becomes impossible to bear and marriage ends in a failure.

Mate selection among Tribals –

i) Selection by purchase and service - Mate selection 'by purchase' is the most prevalent practice. In this. bride-price has to be paid to the girl's parents. The amount of bride-price rates from a nominal price (as

in case of Regma Naga) to such a high price (as in case of Ho) that many young men and women have to remain unmarried. Some tribes (Gond) have found a way out of the high bride-price. The would-be

groom lives and works in his would-be father-in law's house as a suitor-servant for a number of years before he can ask for the girl's hand in marriage. Another way of avoiding the payment of bride-price is through an exchange of girls women among eligible families.

ii) Youth dormitories- Tribes having youth dormitories provide a wide scope for the youth to choose their mates. Therefore, marriage by mutual consent with parents approval has been the: gqneral practice. Where parents object, elopement is a solution. Eventually the parents welcome the couple's return.

iii) Selection by capture- Mate selection 'by capture' has been a feature of Naga, Ho, Bhil and Gond tribes. Among Nagas, female infanticide was resorted to because of fear of raids for bride capturing. Among the Gond capture takes place often at the instance of parents of the bride and amongst the Ho it is prearranged. Besides physical capture, there is also a ceremonial capture. Among Central Indian tribes peaceful captures are effected on the occasion of certain inter village festivals.

iv) Selection by trial -Mate selection by trial also exists among some tribals. A young Bhil has to prove his

prowess before he can claim the hand of any girl. This is generally done through is dance game. On Holi festival, young women dancers make a circle around a tree or pole on which a coconut and gud are tied. The men folk make an outer ring. The trial of strength begins when a young man attempts to break the inner circle in order to reach the treelpole. The women resist his attempt with all their might; and in case the man is able to reach tlie tree and eat the gud and break open tlie coconut. He can choose any girl from the surrounding inner circle, as his wife. Cases are reported among some tribals, where a girl desirous of marrying an unwilling mate thrusts herself on him, bears all humiliations and harsh treatment till the man yields. Such a marriage is termed as marriage by intrusion. In addition to the above-mentioned ways of mate selection, probationary marriages are also reported among tlie Kuki, who permit ayoung man and woman to live together at the girls home for some weeks, and then decide whether to get married or not. In case they decide to separate, the young man has to pay cash compensation to the girl's parents.

Changes in Marriage -

Changes in the Forms of Marriage In most of the polygamy societies now polygamous marriages are fading away and in spite monogamous marriage are taking the place. These due to the elevated position of women in the society and also the finances in this time are not sufficient to meet out the expenses of polygamy.

Changes in Mate Selection- Now in this post industrialised society person are having a say in the selection of their mates. They are now allowed to meet each other and know each other before they start a married life.

Changes in Age of Marriage - With increasing enrolment of girls in schools and colleges, and their desire to take up employment, along with the problems of 'settling down7 in life for the vast majority of boys, the age at marriage is perforce being pushed up. Further, as part of its population policy, the Government has now prescribed the minimum age of marriage as 18 years for girls and 20 years for boys. In urban areas, however, marriages are now generally taking place beyond these prescribed minimum ages.

Changes in Marriage Rituals and Customs

Changes in Marriage: Goals and Stability - As procreation, and along with it parenting role, are tending to become less important, other function like companionship and emotional support from the spouse and children are becoming the more important goals of marriage. In fact, the younger people today

are entering matrimony for happiness and personal fulfilment.

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