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The Nayar of India represents a native group living in the Kerala region of South west India. The Nayar’s culture is highly complicated and interesting. The indigenous Nayar’s practices polygyny. They engage in agricultural activities for survival. The customs, beliefs, and civilization of the Nayar’s are a constant debate subject among anthropologists. This paper explores the culture of the Indian Nayar’s with the perspective to establish their subsistence methods. Further, it discusses how the subsistence mode has influenced their social organization, kinship, and gender relations.
Subsistence Mode of the Nayar of India
The Nayar’s villages consist of farms belonging to different families. Coconut and rice are the main subsistence foods cultivated by the Nayar’s. They normally transfer farming practices to their younger generations by allowing them to inherit farmlands (Haviland, Prins, McBride & Walrath, 2010). This takes place when mothers give their daughters family land to enable them carry on with food production. The Nayar’s keep servants to obtain plantation labor from them in order to escalate production. The servants were originally slaves. However, the eradication of slave trade reduced the acquirement slaves.
The traditional Nayar family’s home compound is a garden, which allows them to grow everything that they require for subsistence (Haviland et al., 2010). The Nayar families rarely acquire farm produce from the market since their produce is often adequate to meet their needs. Their diet comprises of rice, coconut, pork, and fish. They cook the same foods in diverse ways for different meals because of the limitation of their dietary diversity (Haviland et al., 2010). This has made them to have identical socio-economic standing as well as enjoy stable fiscal statuses. Some of the Nayar’s pursue education and utilize their income to sustain farming activities back at their homes (Haviland et al., 2010). The emergence of civilization has transformed diverse aspects of the Nayar’s lifestyles. They presently supplement their diet using eggs, meat and chicken. Their interaction with others has also enabled them to include other vegetables from the West such carrots and potatoes in their diet.
The Impact of Agricultural Practice on Social Organization
The Nayar’s social organization incorporated a high-level hierarchy of close relationships between caste and status. They possessed land according to the varying degrees of infeudation and subfeudations because the highly feudal indigenous group practiced subsistence activity on their farmlands. Taravads constantly split into smaller units due population expansion (Haviland et al., 2010). They have close social ties among similar caste members. The close ties are also seen among the Nayar families who enjoyed similar socioeconomic backgrounds. The educated members of different castes showed minimal differences in their social ties and interactions.
The Impact of Agricultural Practice on Kinship
The Nayar’s are a matrilineal society where women had massive control over property in the feudal kingdoms (Haviland et al., 2010). Traditionally, Taravads integrated all family members who had matrilineal relations. Property transfer occurred along matrilineal lineages. Farmlands subdivisions occurred according to kinships and along the tavari lines.
The Impact of Agricultural Practices on Gender Roles
The Nayar society is matrilineal in nature and women enjoy massive power regarding diverse aspects of their culture. Women have full authority over assets including farmlands, which make them key decision makers more than men (Haviland et al., 2010). Labor division occurred according to gender differences and age. The elderly and youngsters normally performed lighter tasks.
This draft has provided an outline that the Nayar of India engages in agricultural activities for survival. It has further highlighted that agricultural practices have influenced the Nayar’s social organization, kinship, and gender roles in different ways.
Haviland, W., Prins, H., McBride, B., & Walrath, D. (2010). Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge. Ohio, OH: Cengage Learning.