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Oh yes!my friends!it happens in India itself in a place called Shillong which happens to be my home now for the last ten years.In fact,Shillong is the only place in our country where matriachal form of family system prevails.
In this system,they use the term 'Foremothers' instead of 'Forefathers',the children takes on the surname of their mothers and is considered to be the heir of their maternal grandmothers,the youngest daughter of the family inherits the property of the mother and yes,the,ultimate one,the boys leave their homes after marriage and shifts to his wife's place.
When I came to stay in Shillong in 2007, after my marraige, along with my husband,we used to stay in a rented house in a local KHASI family.We had a LANDLADY and the receipt that we used to receive on payment of our rent for the house was either signed by the LANDLADY or her DAUGHTER and not by any male member of the family.She had two daughters and the elder one was already married with two children.I befriended the elder daughter as she occupied the 1st floor and we used to stay in the ground floor of the building as tenants.
Now,everything was so new and different for me there and yes,unique too.At that point,my new friend,Amy,explained me the customs of their society.She said to me in an amused voice,"See Kakoli,you have left your parents after marriage and come over here to be with your husband.But my husband,LUCK,has left his mother's place to stay with me in my mother's place"and I was like,"This is our custom,you see".
I also used to see that Luck's mother used to come over to meet her son and grand children frequently.Amy also visited her often.But Amy and Luck's children used the surname of Amy.In fact,Amy's daughter was the princess of the family and she was the heir of Amy's mother.
Luck could go over and stay with his mother for few days.But not for ever.I wanted to know more.So I asked,"Amy,if a boy is reluctant to stay at his wife's place,then what?"
To this,Amy gave me themost amazing answer.She said,"If the boy is reluctant then they live separetely.But the girl will not stay with the boy's family.They can take a new house where only the two of them will stay.The girl cannot be made to stay with her in laws.In this way both of them can take care of their respective families."
I felt 'Wow'.That was the best part.The wife was not expected to take up all the responsibilities of her in laws.She had time,space and above all the freedom to take care of het own family too where she has been born and bought up.They are not asked to make sacrifices.
If a man can be reluctant to stay with his in laws,a woman also can have the same feeling and it is so natural.In that case,the best option is not to force anyone but take recourse to another option where both of them stay separetely and take care of their respective parents happily and mutually.
In fact,I have observed,that in Shillong the women not only take care of their own parents but also their in laws because they are not forced to do anything against their wishes,given lot of respect and freedom and have the flexibility to remain attached to their parents.
GREAT SHILLONG FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT!