Aliya Kattu

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Aliya Kattu (Tulu: ಅಳಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟು) (Nephew lineage) was, a matrilineal system of tracing origin practiced by many Tulu communities in the area now known as Karnataka. Marumakkatayam, in Malayalam, was a similar system which operated in the area known today as Kerala.


Some anthropologists, such as Marija Gimbutas, believe matrilineal societies were common among early primitive human societies. In India, South Indians were believed to be the last communities to become patriarchal.

Myth of origin

Tuluvas believe Aliya Kattu was adapted at the behest of a king called Bhootala Pandya. The story goes like this. A demon wanted the king to sacrifice his son. However, none of his queens and sons were ready to be sacrificed. Seeing the difficult situation, king's sister offers her son. However, the demon shows mercy and lets him off. On his part, the king declares his nephew as his true inheritor.

Salient features

  • The children are part of the mother's family.
  • After marriage the wife would stay at her mother's place and husband would "visit" her. For the Bunt community, the wife would stay with her husband and return to live with her matrilineal family after the husband's death.
  • The inheritance of lineage identity in the form of gotra (bali or bari or balli or illam) or in the form of ancestral house (Tharavadu or Guttu) is through mother. Marriage between the persons belonging to the same......
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