I had wanted to post this story earlier, but I was caught up in one or two businesses.
Anyway, I’ve known about ‘Polyandry’ – The condition or practice of having more than one husband at one time – since I was a class four pupil. And If I recall correctly, the question came up in the common entrance exam the following year. What I’m reporting today, however, appears to be an extreme case of Polyandry. I’ve always known that certain customs and traditions allow a woman to marry two or more husbands, but I never knew that women are permitted to marry two or more husbands from the same family in some parts of the world.
To the best of my knowledge, it is a taboo in Ghana for a man to marry two women from the same family or for a woman to marry to men from the same family. I doubt if polyandry is even practiced in Ghana. It is the norm, however, in some parts of India. And a young Indian woman has spoken out about being married to five husbands, all of whom are brothers, the Daily Mail has reported.
Rajo Verma, 21, reportedly lives in one room with the siblings and they sleep on blankets on the floor. The mother-of-one, who sleeps each night with a different brother, does not know which of her five related husbands is the father of her 18-month-old son, the report stated.
According to the report, it is tradition in the small village near Dehradun, Northern India, for women to also marry the brothers of their first husband.
Rajo Verma reportedly said: ‘Initially it felt a bit awkward. ‘But I don’t favour one over the other.’
Rajo and first husband Guddu are said to have wed in an arranged Hindu marriage four years ago.
“Since then she has married Baiju, 32, Sant Ram, 28, Gopal, 26, and Dinesh, 19 – the latest in the line of husbands – who married her as soon as he turned 18”, the Daily Mail observed.
Guddu, the first husband – and the only official spouse – is quoted to have said. ‘We all have sex with her but I’m not jealous. ‘We’re one big happy family.’
The Daily Mail offers us some education on the development:
The ancient Hindu tradition of polyandry was once widely practiced in India, but is now only observed by a minority.
It sees a woman take more than one husband, typically in areas which are male dominated.
In fraternal polyandry the woman is expected to marry each of her original husband’s brothers.
It is thought to have arisen from the popular Sanskrit epic of Mahabharatha, which sees Draupadi, daughter of the King of Pancha being married to five brothers.
The practice is also believed to be a way of keeping farming land in the family.
It is most commonly found near the Himalayas in the north of the country, as well as in the mountainous nation of Tibet.
While the advance of modernity has seen the archaic practice largely die out in most areas, the shortage of women in countries such as China and India has helped keep it alive as a solution to young men’s difficulties in finding a wife.
Rajo said she knew she was expected to accept all of her husbands, as her own mother had also been married to three brothers.
She said they sleep together in turn, but that they do not have beds, just ‘lots of blankets on the floor’.
She added: ‘I get a lot more attention and love than most wives.’
I’m reminded of that musician who sang “travel and see”.