Volume 18, No. 6, 2021

The Changing Matrilocal Institution Of Nokrom Among The Garo Of Baka Village, Kamrup District, Assam

Sirajuddin Ahmed , Upala Barua


The paper focuses on one of the significant features of the Garo matrilineal descent, that is, inheritance and residence after marriage, referred to as the ‘nokrom’ system (Bose, 1936). Nokrom, refers to the resident-son-in-law of a family who marries the daughter, selected to be the inheritress (nokna) of the family’s property. Its ramifications, as revealed from previous studies, (Bose, 1936; Burling, 1963; Goswami & Majumdar, 1974; Majumdar, 1980), seem to influence the traditional Garo power structure and power relations amongst the land-owning matri-lineages in a society based traditionally on shifting cultivation. In this article, an attempt will be made to situate the nokrom system as it operates far away from the Garo hills of Meghalaya, their traditional abode, on the fringes of North Guwahati town, an old and important segment of the sprawling Guwahati city. The Garo people of this village, who had been practising wet-paddy cultivation for more than a century ago, are showing a trend of diversification in their livelihood strategies. Under this backdrop, the study shows that the nokrom system is declining among the younger generations, mainly due to contact with the neighbouring patrilineal communities.

Pages: 3777-3785

Keywords: social institution, Garo, mahari, matriliny, inheritance, transition

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