KOLKATA: In a reversal of the patriarchal norm of the society, women of a tribal village in Paschim Burdwan district of West Bengal bring bridegrooms to their village and settle in separate residences.
Owing to this practice, which is unique in the patriarchal Bengal society, Majrukoda has come to be known as ‘Jamaigram’ or ‘village of son-in-laws’. The men work in the fields and women become homemakers in this agriculturally-rich village located along the Kunur river. Inheritance of property is also followed according to the Hindu inheritance law.
Though located just 5 km from industrial city Durgapur, Majrukoda lacks basic amenities such as good roads and stable electricity supply. The only solace for residents is the fertile land — thanks to the Kunur — where most of the men (read son-in-laws) grow vegetables for a living.According to some of the earliest migrant me, the practice was established due to economic reasons when the men from agriculturally backward villages of neighbouring Birbhum district were attracted to the prospects of flourishing agriculture in Majrukoda.
“The land in my village is not suitable for agriculture. So, the people are very poor. Hence, I decided to migrate with my newly wed wife to her village after learning that they have a flourishing agriculture in Majrukoda,” said Kalu Murmu, a native of Rajkusum village of Kanksa in Birbhum district. “Now, after 30 years of marriage, me and many other men from Birbhum district are settled with voter ID cards issued in Majrukoda.”
But, this does not mean that the womenfolk forget their in-laws or stop caring them. “According to our established norms, we have to stay two days after marriage at our in-laws place and then bring the bridegroom to our village. However, we visit our in-laws villages during festivals and try to help them in every way,” homemaker Gita Hembrom said.