Lama women practice polyandry

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Lama women practice polyandry - Nepal News

Lama women of Humla still practice polyandry

The Lama community in this remote mid-west district is relatively well off compared to other communities.  Their kids attend school, and they possess a high sense of awareness.  Yet, the age-old practice of polyandry is still dominant in this community. Lamagaon in Baragaon VDC, some three hours’ walk from Simikot, the district headquarters has 52 households where polyandry is common.  And what keeps this ancient practice still alive is the belief that polyandry makes a family rich. “Polyandry is good because the brothers work to amass property, which remains in the family,” said Basant Thapa, a local teacher.
Polyandry has been our tradition,” says Chhering Lama, who has two husbands, “It is difficult for a female to survive if she insists on having a single husband.” There have also been several cases where brothers fight among themselves for the common wife or the children. In some cases, the family splits as a brother starts his own family with a new wife. “We had a single wife in the beginning.  There was a fight for the child,” said Norgel Lama, a villager.  “As things came to a head and we could not stay together, I separated from the family and married a village girl.” A peculiar feature in this community is that the wide wields greater clout.  In the event husbands quarrel among themselves in the issue of child’s ownership, the final decision rests with the wife. The wife also rules over the domestic affairs and sexual relations. “The trend here is: the elder brother goes to Accham to graze sheep and the younger brother goes to Taklakot in Tibet for business” Chhering said.  “The wife manages things in such a way that the brothers visit home alternately.”

The Kathmandu Post, May 10, 2005

keyterms: women, lama, polyandry, tradition, lamagaon, Baragaon, Nepal



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