The practice of bride-price found among the tribals in India – Essay

When we study the practice of bride-price found among the tribals, we notice the following features:

(1) It gives a right of the possession of woman to the man. If she goes elsewhere taking another man as her husband, the latter is obliged to pay the amount of bride-price to the first husband.

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(2) It reduces the status of woman as she is actually ‘purchased’ by the husband.

(3) The amount of bride-price which is received by the daughter’s parents is distributed among the members of blood group. The distribution is guided by tradition.

A large portion of the bride- price amount in some societies is given to the mother, for she took maximum care in rearing her. The siblings of the family also get some share. Thus, the tradition of bride-price fosters solidarity among the members of the daughter’s family.

(4) On the side of the groom, the amount for the bride-price is nor­mally borrowed from the blood kin of the groom’s parents. This also brings all of them together.

(5) There are cases wherein the groom who is not economically well off renders services to the parents of the bride. In this case, the amount of bride-price is paid over a longer duration period through bride-service.

When the amount is cleared through serv­ice, the marriage is arranged. This service also brings solidarity between two uniting families.

Thus, the payment of bride-price creates several kinds of moral bonds between people. It creates a contractual tie between lineages, be­ing a sign of mutual trust.