Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Andhra Pradesh

The People



Customs of Andhra Pradesh vary from place to place depending on whether they are rural areas, forest regions and other tribal areas. The marriage alliances are always endogamous. The tribals abhor alliances with people of other tribes and strangers and such marriages are considered misalliances. A hostile attitude is also taken towards elopers.

 Love and courtship precede the marriage of Yanadi's. The first year of their married life is the happiest for the Yanadi couple. The parties together decide about their marriage and seldom are the parents or other elders consulted. After their decision, the friends are invited, betel and nuts are distributed and the marriage string is tied round the neck of  the bride by the bridegroom as a sign of acceptance of their living together as husband and wife. The Adivi Yanadi's (inhabiting the forests) avoid ritual display.

But the Reddi Yanadi's are particular about observing customs. The 'tali', the marriage string, is tied at a specified time on the day fixed. This is done at  mid-day, i.e. when the sun is at the meridian. During the ceremonies the maternal uncle presents to the bride all her toilet articles. Some pancakes are supplied by him for distribution among the relatives present at the wedding. The ends of the clothing of the bridal pair are tied, to symbolise that they have to live together thereafter. That night they are directed to see the star Arundhati.

There is rejoicing, including dancing and singing. One of the party plays the buffoon, regaling the gathering with jokes. Those who can afford it have the wedding festivities for three days. The groom pays a sum as the bride price. The elders from both families share the expenses. The bridal pair anoint themselves with sandal paste and turmeric. All this is carried on in a small improvised thatched pandal. The rural couple are generally very devoted to each other, suffering the pangs of loneliness in separation. To avoid this, the husband is always by her side and the bride demands exclusive affection. Their dalliance is frequent and the wife never tolerates the husband straying away from her. Polyandry does not exist among the Yanadis, but they practice polygamy. Sterility is rare among Yanadi women. The love of the Yanadi is simple, direct and spontaneous.

Incest is uncommon with them but adultery is not. The wronged husband either leaves the guilty wife or in rare cases suffers in silence and seclusion. There is no difficulty with the children if a Yanadi couple separates. The child, if young remains with the mother. The father has no property and so he is not worried about bequeathing anything to anyone. Two factors that lead to a divorce are either physical revulsion at any abnormality detected in the husband or conjugal satiation. The couple separate without fanfare or fuss. Each very soon chooses another without any delay or remorse. Widows remarry and levirate is found among them.

In modern times the spread of education has civilized these people and they are found eligible to occupy places of responsibility. There are teachers and engineers besides skilled workers among them. But the upgrading of these, though good for the development of society at large has reduced the natural happiness and placid contentment which has been their most valuable legacy.