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The evolving family system of the Nayars a caste group of Malabar India provides a synthesis of traditional customs and modern influence which serves to enhance the lives of its members The development of an industrial state in India has effected their family life but has not destroyed it The Nayars have demonstrated that adaptation is possible in family structure To understand the Nayar family group it is necessary to study their marriage practices family life and traditional structures The family groupings have always been arranged on the basis of dependence through matriarchal lines in a family group ones mother is the most highly regarded individual and the family group is based on her presence Thus until recently Nayars continued to live with their mothers throughout their lives in a family unit called the taravad A taravad would characteristically be made up of all the direct descendants of the female which often included several hundred adults and a large number of children The institution of marriage is not highly regarded as a component of family structure in Nayar society At a time just before puberty it is stated that linked lineage played their most important role at the pre-puberty marriage rites of girlsGough 1987249 A female would marry a young man of similar caste in a ceremony which involved the typing of a tali around the girls neck After this the couple would be secluded for several days and the female was considered to be socially mature However this ceremony did not represent a permanent union but rather served as a rite of puberty an introduction into womanhood Furthermore the Nayars practiced a marriage ceremony every few years a lineage held a grand ceremony at which all its girls who had not attained puberty ages about seven to twelve were on one day ritually married by men drawn from their linked lineagesGough 1987249 The institution of marriage is largely sexual a husband and wife sleep
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