Telugu - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriages are monogamous, polygyny having been prohibited since Indian independence. Marriages are generally arranged by parents and relatives, though potential mates may get to meet each other or may already be acquainted if they are related or live in the same village. As mentioned, marriage with cross cousins is common, and a man's maternal uncle is viewed as a preferred donor of a wife. Wives are considered responsible for the well-being of their husbands and are felt to be at fault if their husbands die Before they do. The theme of the inauspiciousness of widowhood recurs in many ritual contexts. Marriages are generally patrilocal. The fission of individual households is a gradual process, beginning with a man's sons marrying and bringing their wives to live with him and his wife. Eventually separate hearths are established, followed later by a division of lands. A sharing of tasks around agricultural field huts near their lands is the last tie to be maintained. Different castes have varying attitudes toward divorce. The highest in status prohibit it entirely. Next down in the hierarchy are castes that permit divorce if no children have been born. These are followed by castes permitting divorce relatively unrestrictedly. Agreements are reached regarding the return of marriage gifts and property. Formal written documents of release are drawn up and exchanged by the parties, leaving them free to remarry.

Domestic Unit. The basic unit is a nuclear family. A household, defined as those who share food prepared at a common hearth, is led by a household head. During the course of its development, a household can include additional members—spouses and offspring of sons, or widows and widowers.

Inheritance. Property, such as land, is divided equally among brothers, though the less economically established youngest son also often inherits the family home.

Socialization. Infants and small children are raised by the women of the household. Older siblings and other cousins also often tend children younger than themselves. Children are encouraged to accompany their parents everywhere and begin learning sex-specific tasks and caste occupations from an early age.

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