Instructor Wendell Johnson
April 25, 2011
Nayar of India
Nayar is a Hindu caste of the India state of Kerala. The region contained small, feudal kingdoms, in each of which royal and noble lineages, the militia, and most land managers were drawn from the Nayars and related castes. Unlike most Hindus, Nayar traditionally were matrilineal. Their family unit, the members of which owned property jointly, included brothers and sisters, the latter is children, and their daughters’ children. The oldest man was legal head of the group. Rules of marriage and residence varied somewhat between kingdoms. This paper will include the examination of aspects of the life of the Nayar marriage, political organization, and belief and values.
The Nayar family consists of all the descendants from the same ancestress, counting relationship exclusively from the side of the mother. Ordinary families consist of relations four or five degrees removed. In old and aristocratic families, one finds sometimes fifty to eighty people, though one or two families can be mentioned in Malabar, which contain one hundred and fifty to two hundred people. The undivided family generally lives under the same roof. In the house, it only the female’s live, while the male members of the family occupy rooms set apart for them, or, if they are rich, live in houses in neighboring compounds. The Nayar house has always a large piece of enclosed ground in front of it, which is called Muttam. Often it is used as an ornamental garden, and no man of the lower caste may enter it. There the children walk about and play in daytime, and the women have their dance and general merriment in the evening. Behind the house are a vegetable garden and a bathing tank, which is reserved exclusively for women. The dominant idea in the arrangement of the house is the proper separation of sexes in the family.
The family owns property in common. What a private individual earns belongs... [continues]
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