Where Only Girls Can Continue The Family Line

The Khasi in India passed the surname, property, and land to women. Families who cannot give birth to a daughter are considered absolute. In the lush jungle of northeastern India, close to the Bangladesh border, a small village exists with a strange social order. Mawlynnong village is home to about 500 members of the Khasi tribe. They still follow the ancient matriarchal tradition up to the present time. Family names, money, possessions and power are passed from mother to daughter. This is where women are at the top of the family, and daughters are the heir to the family name and wealth. Photo: Karolin Klüppel

Karolin Klüppel, a German photographer, spent 2 years living with many Khasi families in this clean, peaceful and quiet village.


Where Only Girls Can Continue The Family Line

According to the Khasi culture, the youngest daughter (called "khadduh") inherits the property, the husband stays in-law, and the children follow the mother's family name.The girls attend village school until the age of 11-12 and then go to the city to learn continue. They then either go to college or return to Mawlynnong to take care of their parents. Girls are free to marry whoever they choose. Having a divorce or being single doesn't pose any problems for them, but not having a girl causes many problems. Only girls can guarantee the continuity of the family line, so families with only a son will "ïap-duh", which means "disappear." Women are the center of all activities and rituals
These customs have been in existence since antiquity, said Valentina Pakyntein, an anthropologist at North-Eastern Hill University.


Where Only Girls Can Continue The Family Line

This practice may have been from the time when the Khasi were still cohabiting, making it difficult to verify parents. Another theory is that men have to go to war, unable to care for the family and family. Today, men lead the village council of Mawlynnong, but they have little possession of any property. Some people feel dissatisfied and are asking for gender equality, Klüppel said. However, the photographer is amazed at the "respect for men for women" and "wants people to know about a culture that is different from the patriarchal world"..

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