Lakher - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Young men and women are allowed considerable freedom in premarital relationships. Part of the courting procedure involves the male spending the day with the female with whom he would like to form a liaison. The two of them complete their daily chores together and then the male spends the night in the female's house. If the female is interested in initiating a physical relationship, she places her bed near that of the male suitor. Liaisons are also formed during those social events when males and females gather to drink and sing. Men usually marry between the ages of 20 and 25 while women marry after having reached 20 years of age. Parents play an important role in the betrothal process. A man's parents select his bride, and individual Lakher clans are not strictly endogamous or exogamous (though the paucity of marriages within Lakher clans suggests the presence of an Earlier exogamous clan structure). Monogamous unions are the norm, but concubinage is permitted (though concubines do not enjoy the same status as wives). A bride-price (the amount of which is negotiated by representatives of the Families involved) must be paid before the ceremony may take place. The marriage is not usually consummated on the first night of the wedding feast, a period of at least one month being required before this takes place (this practice does not obtain in all villages). During this time, the wife sleeps in the house of her husband while the husband sleeps elsewhere. Postmarital residence is generally with the groom's father until the birth of the first child. After the birth of the first child, the new couple establish their own residence (though locational preference is not given). Parentally arranged child marriage, usually (though not always) involving two prepubescent children of the same age, is also permitted. These unions are generally consummated after both of the parties reach puberty. Marriage to a young woman belonging to a privileged clan and in general to a mother's brother's daughter, is preferred. Divorce is infrequent. It has been suggested that the traditionally high Lakher bride-price contributes to this (a woman's parents being required to refund payment to the husband in the event of a divorce). Divorce regulations favor the female, though it is more usual to find proceedings initiated by husbands than by wives. Impotence, madness, and adultery are all considered sufficient grounds for divorce.

Domestic Unit. Family size ranges from five to ten Persons, with five being the norm. The typical household may be larger if a married son has not established separate residence for himself and his family.

Inheritance. A man's property is inherited by his eldest son. This son is then responsible for repaying all of the Father's debts along with the father's death ru (a due paid to the mother's brother, called the pupa ). A husband is responsible for paying the death ru of his wife. If he predeceases his wife, this responsibility must then be assumed by his youngest son. While it is not required, the eldest son may give a portion of the deceased father's estate to the youngest son. Other sons are allowed no share in their father's estate. Should a man leave no male heirs, his estate would pass first to his brothers, then (in descending order) to his uncles, first cousins, distant relations, and nearest clansmen. Women are forbidden to Inherit, the one exception being if the woman is the last surviving member of her clan. An inheritance may not be refused, and one must be willing to assume the assets and debts of the deceased in full. A widow is allowed to remain in the home of her deceased husband until a memorial stone is set up. If she has children, she may remain in the marital home until she remarries. If the children are minors, the widow receives her husband's estate in trust for her eldest son. Should the widow prove unable to provide for herself and her family upon the death of her husband, either the eldest or youngest brother of her deceased husband would receive control of the estate and would provide for the needs of the surviving family.

Socialization. To a great degree, Lakher children are responsible for their own learning. There is no systematic program for the acquisition of basic life skills. Children are expected to observe the activities of their elders and imitate them. Parents appear to play an important part in the Socialization process, though the pedagogical method employed allows children considerable autonomy once they are able to work independently. Male and female dormitories, which obtain in a number of other Indian tribal groups, are absent among the Lakher. Once children have matured to the point that they can accompany their male parent on jungle excursions, they observe the methods used in hunting, fishing, etc. and master these skills by imitation (e.g., by making model traps). Boys and girls are taught how to care for jhum fields and girls are taught how to weave. Magicoreligious rites are, for the most part, mastered by means of observation. The sole exception to this norm is the Khazangpina chant (which accompanies the sacrifice offered to the god Khazangpa), which children are taught.

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Aug 10, 2012 @ 1:01 am
I would like to study about the people of the lakher

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