Marriage, Family, and Kinship in India

India is a multicultural society with several tribal groups and different religions. Such a demographic composition makes the institution of the family a very complex phenomenon. Families in India are both patriarchal (those in which authority flows from the father) and matriarchal (those in which authority flows from the mother). These determine rules regarding lineage and descent, residence, inheritance, and incest. Differences also exist with regard to the composition of the family.

In most treatments of Indian society, what is described as the Indian family is usually a portrayal of the ‘ideal Hindu’ family. Apart from the fact that ‘real’ Hindu families in modern India do not correspond to ...

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