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 You are Here: Home >> Know Lakshadweep >> Role of Women
  Role of Women  
 
 

         Women enjoy a unique position. The Marumakkathayam system of inheritance, under which Tharwad property descends through the female line saves the women from proverbial economic dependence. Ancestral or Tarwad property is equally shared among the members of the joint family in Kavaratti and Agatti,whereas in Andrott the division is between the Thavazhi only. The Tharwad property is managed by the eldest male member of the family known as Karanavan. He has no right to alienate or sell any portion of the Tharwad property. The wife and children of the Karanavan are not entitled to any share from Tarwad. Thus the Tharwad property system has given economic freedom and independence to women in the social system of Lakshadweep. The husband is obliged to make an annual payment towards the maintenance of the wife which forms part of the marriage contract. The wife has full freedom to demand a divorce on grounds of non-payment of these customary dues. Divorce is not a disqualification for a woman to seek a fresh alliance. There is also no ban on the remarriage of a widow. The early history of Lakshadweep also reveals that "Hameedath Beebi" of Pantamveli at Amini was the first lady to accept the preaching of Saint Ubaidullha(r) amidst humiliation and threats. She became the wife of the Saint who went to Andrott and settled there.

The predominance of women folk in all walks of life is a peculiar feature of Minicoy. The husband takes the wife's family name after marriage. All family affairs are managed by the female of the house.

Most males being the bread-winners of the family serve in international ships as sea-men. The famous traveller Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) in his travelogue made a referance to Minicoy as the island of females. The Turkish travellor Ibnu Bathuta touched Minicoy while on his way to Maldives and married two women and stayed there for one month. In the village (Athiri) administration, the ladies have an important role. The female Chief (Boduthatha) is the head of the women's assembly who organizes Women"s labour for common purposes in the "Athiri".