Thursday, July 7, 2022

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Inheritance Laws

Between the Khasi and the Garo inheritance laws there are a few noteworthy differences. Among the Khasis, it is always the youngest daughter who inherits maternal or ancestral property. The parents may during their life-time, provide their other daughters with shares of any other property acquired by them. The status of the youngest daughter is one of special importance.

She is the embodiment of everything that is enduring and sacred in the Khasi concept of family. The institution of the Ing Khadduh is one that has special sanctity. As among the Garos, the children belong from birth to the mothers clan. Khasi social organisation does not permit participation by women in village councils.

Inheritance laws among the War, Khasi of the southern slopes seem to be a synthesis of matrilineal and patrilineal systems. There both sons and daughters share parental property.

The succession of chiefs among the Khasis also shows a compromise between the matrilineal character of their social system and unwritten code that in public affairs the man should play the dominant role. When the chief dies, he is normally succeeded by the eldest  son of his eldest sister or if she has no son, by the eldest son of the next sister.

There is another important group in the countryside lying between eastern Garo hills and western Khasi hills. This group is known to the Garos as Megam, is conceivably of  Garo-Khasi admixture. The Megams have adopted the custom of the Garos even to organising themselves into steps like Marak, Sangma and Momin. Their counterparts in the Khasi hills, the Lyngngams follow the Khasi system.