Polyandry Marriage Meaning, Types, Causes, Advantages & Disadvantages

Sun, 12/08/2013 - 04:13 -- Umar Farooq

Meaning of Polyandry Marriage

Poly means “many” and “andry” means “husbands”. Polyandry type of marriage in which one woman can marry with many men at a time. The single wife has many husbands. This is not popular type and is uncivilized in many societies of the world. In 1980 Ethnogrpahic Atlas listed total of 1,231 societies where 588 were found polygyny, 453 occasional polygyny, 186 were monogamous and 4 were polyandry. Recent studies shows that there are 50 other societies practicing polyandry. 

In the areas of Tibetans, Northern India and some parts of China the Fraternal Polyandry was traditionally practiced where brother are married to one wife. Polyandry today is to be founded in society with scarce resources and it is believed to reduce the population growth and increase survival of children. This form of rare marriage still exists in poor families as well as in elite class. The good example of polyandry marriage is in the Himalayan Mountains where resource are scarce and in the families all brothers marry to the same wife for intact and undivided land.

Types of Polyandry Marriage

There are two types of polyandry marriage

  1. Fraternal Polyandry. One man can marry to a women but that woman is considered the wife of all the brothers of her husband and they have sexual relations with her. Indian Punjab, Laddakh, Sikkim, Assam and Tibet (china) practice this type of marriage. The children would be the off springs of the eldest brother.
  2. Non-fraternal Polyandry. One woman can marry with many men but that is not necessary that these husbands would be brothers. In case of children a special ritual is arranged and the parents of the children are selected. In Arabs before the prophet this type of marriage was in practice.

Causes of Polyandry

  1. Shortage of women as compared.
  2. Desire of limited population.
  3. Poverty is which one man cannot support many wives.
  4. Desire to maintain joint family system.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Polyandry Marriage

Advantages of Polyandry

  1. Population is under control.
  2. Financial burden distributed among husbands.
  3. Joint family become strengthened.

Disadvantages of Polyandry

  1. It injuries women health.
  2. It increases bareness among women.
  3. It increase the number of divorce.

Characteristics of Polyandry

  1. A woman can marry more than one man.
  2. The husbands may be brothers are must
  3. The eldest brother has superiority.
  4. He has the right of children to take.
  5. He can prevent the brothers to have sex with the women.
  6. If, any of the brothers marry with another woman, he has equal right with him.
  7. If, there are more wives then any brother can enter in to sex with any wife.
  8. Both men and women have equal right of the dissolution of marriage.