Sunday, December 4, 2022

The People

Tribal Life and Culture

Each of the tribes in Bihar comprises a number of clans. Member of a particular clan are said to have descended from a common ancestor and bear the same surname. Hence sexual relations between two persons of the same clan are strictly prohibited. Almost all tribal villages in the state are inhabited by two or more clans. Seldom does one come across a one clan village.


All the tribals attach a great deal of importance to marriage. Without marriage, nobody is regarded as a full member of the tribe. Manifold are the systems of marriage prevalent among the tribals of Bihar. The most notable of them all is Diku-Andi, which is arranged by go-betweens. Another important form is Raji-Khushi, in which boys and girls take the initiative. Marriage by capture is rare. Sometimes a young woman may intrude into the house of her beloved and refuse to leave it and thus force him to accept her as his bride. This form of marriage be called 'Marriage by intrusion'. There is a marriage by service in which poor youths who have no money to pay bride price serve the beloved's father for a certain period and thus obtain her consent to their marriage. In most of the tribal areas of the state, adult marriage prevails. In some parts of the  state, the age of marriage has gone down under the impact of Hindu culture. Monogamy is the general rule, polygamy is not prohibited.

The primary unit of social organization among the tribes is the family which is made up of their unmarried children. Descent is reckoned in the male line, daughters being deprived of the right to patrimony. The women in tribal culture do not possess the right to landed property. They are entitled to the possession of all kinds of moveable property which they can dispose of whenever they like. They also have the right to participate in the proceedings of tribal councils. Divorce and widow re-marriage are permissible according to the tribal law. They will call for the approval of the panchayats.