|Ways of acquiring Mate|

How does one gets married? Normally people get married by publishing matrimonial ads in newspapers, online sites, or with the help of relatives who acts as mediators. This was about the modern industrial society, but the tribal society is unique, so their ways of getting married are also unique. Tribes have nine different ways of acquiring a mate.

In this article, I will show the different ways of acquiring a mate prevalent in tribal society.

Marriage by capture– When a man snatches away a woman from her village and marries her, it is called marriage by capture. This form of marriage is most popular among the Naga who invade villages and capture girls. 

Marriage by exchange- Under this marriage, two households exchange women with each other and thus avoid paying the bride price. Bride price is the payment made by the groom’s side to the bride’s side to marry her. This form of marriage is found all over India and is also found among the non-tribals.

Marriage by purchase- In this form of marriage bride price is the central theme. Among the Munda, Ho, Santhal it is the most prevalent. The high bride price has the worst consequences as is seen in the case of the Ho tribe of Chotanagpur where to escape the bride price many youth resorts to marriage by capture or remain unmarried.

Marriage by elopement- It is a peculiar feature of tribal India. Anthropologists believe this kind of marriage has emerged as a result of boys and girls shedding their traditional submissiveness. If the parents’ consent is not forthcoming, they resort to elopement and get married.

Marriage by service- In this form of marriage the groom serves in the house of the bride as suitor-servant and marries her after a lapse of few years. they have to work in the bride’s household for three years and have to fulfill all the responsibilities of a son. This form of marriage is a way to avoid payment of bride price completely or minimizing it through service rendered by the prospective groom at the bride’s residence. For example, marriage by service is found among the Gond Baiga, Birhor.

Marriage by intrusion- Here a girl desirous of marrying an unwilling young man thrust herself on the groom and his parents. She tries to serve her prospective in-laws and can be tortured in return. If she persists in her intentions and her endurance lasts for a considerable period she is finally accepted as a daughter-in-law.

Marriage by trial- In this form of marriage, the prospective groom has to prove his prowess before he can claim the desired girl. Thus he is required to undergo a trial.It is most popular among Bhils. During Holi festival, young men and women perform a folk dance known as ‘gol gadhedo’ around a pole or a tree to the top of which there is a coconut and jaggery tied. The girls make a ring around the tree and the boy to marry the girl has to break the ring and eat the coconut and jaggery after climbing the tree. In all this, he is beaten up, and inspite of all this if he succeeds he gets the right to demand any girl from the group as his wife.

Marriage by mutual consent- In this formalities of marriage are arranged by parties concerned through the process of mutual consent and consultation. This practice is result of tribal contacts with Hindus, Christians, etc.

Marriage by probation-  Under this the prospective husband and wife are expected to live together for some time for marriage in the bride’s house. If they like each other and willing to marry, elders arrange their marriage.Otherwise, the man has to pay compensation to the girl’s parents. This form of marriage can be called a primitive version of the modern practice of courtship. It is prevalent among Kuki tribes of Andhra Pradesh.

Hence this was the nine different ways of acquiring mate found among the tribals. These kind of marriages is in contrast to the marriages in mainstream society. These interesting ways of getting married make the tribes even more unique.