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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Alternate Life Models 5 – Mizo culture

Most Eastern life models are patrilineal and the father-son lineage carries forward important life markers such as caste, name, inheritance etc.

The rules are clear and common across geographies.

But the matrilineal models that are found scattered across geographies come in many different variations and forms.

Excerpts from a conversation with a gentleman from Mizoram – who explained the system prevalent in his tribe.

In this matrilineal system, the groom comes to live with the bride’s family.

And the inheritance is passed on to the youngest daughter of the family. (not the eldest as seen in Ladakh)

The youngest daughter conversely must bear the responsibility of looking after any males – brothers / father in their old age.

The rationale is as follows: in the Mizo world, there is no stigma for unwed mothers. So the women bear children and go about their lives without feeling the pressure of acquiring husbands. As a result, men may find themselves alone at the end of their lives. The responsibility of looking after these men in old age, then rests with the youngest sister.

A system that offers a unique solution that addresses all aspects of the problem with rules that are internally consistent with each other! One that has survived centuries and generations of tests.

Hard as it may be for the outside world to accept, but it is a valid system – and the people living it are all happy well adjusted individuals!

 

jm

June 2012

Note: This is based on a conversation with a gentleman who worked in the government. Whether this is the way of the past, or of only a particular group of people, or whether it applies to the whole group even today, is unknown – and requires  more conversations.

 

 

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