Jatav - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Most marriages are monogamous, but a very few polygamous marriages still occur. Parents arrange most marriages, although a few educated today may be allowed some say in the match. Totemically named categories ( gotras ) exist but their exogamic function is not strictly observed. Marriage is exogamous for the khandan but endogamous for the caste. As a practical rule, marriages are not allowed with anyone having a remembered relationship through both paternal and maternal patrilineages. Members of the village or city neighborhood are fictive kin for whom marriage is also exogamous. Also forbidden is giving girls to lower-ranked families, villages, or neighborhoods from which girls have previously been taken. A dowry must be offered to the boy's family on behalf of the girl. Divorce is possible at the instigation of either party, but it is infrequent and must be approved by the caste council. Widows, widowers, and divorced persons may remarry, but women may not remarry in a formal wedding ceremony ( shadi ). The ideal is patrilocal residence in the extended family of the husband; the reality is often a majority of nuclear families.

Domestic Unit. Those who live in the same house share living space, cooking, and expenses. When an extended family disintegrates—usually because of conflicts between brothers or their wives—separate living, cooking, and expense arrangements are made in the house if it is large enough; otherwise, new living quarters are sought. Sons are expected to care for aged parents who are unable to work.

Inheritance. Property is divided equally among sons; daughters because of the dowry customarily receive nothing. Inheriting brothers are expected to provide dowry for unmarried sisters. Eldest sons may succeed to any offices, such as headman, held by their fathers.

Socialization. Parents raise children affectionately, and elder siblings, usually sisters, are caretakers for younger siblings. Boys, however, are preferred and tend to receive better care and attention than girls. At around the age of 6 same-sexed parents become stricter disciplinarians. Children are not separated from most adult activities and easily move into adult occupations in early teens. Emphasis is on socialization for dependence upon the family, and boys are socialized especially to be dependent upon the mother, who may in turn become dependent upon them in old age.


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