Kond - Kinship, Marriage, and Family



The Kond family is patrilineal in structure. Childhood is traditionally a time of preparation for marriage and civic responsibility. When a girl turns seven her ears are pierced many times and kept open with bamboo insertions, which upon marriage are filled with a dozen or more rings given to her by her husband. At ten years of age a girl's upper face is traditionally tattooed. Girls who don't submit are considered undesirable for marriage; and it was once widely believed that a girl without tattoos would turn into a tiger. According to the men, there was a raja of Gumsur who had such an eye for Kond women that the practice of tattooing was adopted to make them less desirable to him and to end his raids into their villages; however, today the custom is dying out. Cousin marriage on either side is considered totally impossible. The clan is completely exogamous. Although the caste system is absent in Kond society, in some villages there is a religious idea of defilement that extends into cooking, eating, and marriage customs. Priests and shrine keepers must keep themselves pure by avoiding others of lower religious status under certain circumstances, and this attitude in some Villages extends into several lower degrees of social stratification as well.


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