A state in India that is free of patriarchy

Photo by Angshu Purkait on Pexels.com

Meghalaya – a state in northeastern India has always been a far cry from the rest of India.The state is home to the Khasi and the Garo people, two of the few tribes to follow a matriarchal structure of society.

In a country like India, where the status of women is considered to be lower to that of men, where daughters of the household are treated as paraya dhan who are supposed to get married one day and go to her husband’s family , and the patriarchal system that subjugates women, oppresses women and tells them that they are not up to the mark and not as important as men,the fact that there are societies with a culture of dominant women is a wonder in itself! Unlike many places in India, where the birth of a girl is accompanied by reactions ranging from subdued acceptance to outright rage, the birth of a girl in places like Shillong is celebrated with mirth and laughter.There is no disparity in the treatment of women in urban and rural households of the Khasis and the Garos.In Khasi marriages, the men go and live with the wife and her family which is in stark contrast to most other communities in India, which see tearful goodbyes between the woman’s family.
An interesting and little known fact is that Khasi children take the title of their mother and her clan. This effectively means there are no illegitimate children among them.
It is refreshing to know that such a rare scene exists in our own country. For a nation plagued by a mindset of misogyny, the culture and traditions found in Meghalaya serves as a beacon of hope and change.