Abduction

Another possibility for bringing a girl to the village is abduction (jikibata). An abduction can be agreed with the girl’s parents or take place without their consent. In the latter case, however, considerable resistance from the inhabitants of the girl’s village is to be expected. Nonetheless, even agreed abductions, sometimes after years of marriage negotiations, are not without risk for the abductors. Married men often recount how fiercely their wives defended themselves during the abduction and how far they had to be dragged and carried by their husbands and their husbands’ brothers. As a rule, the girls are not abducted from the village, but while working in the fields, for example, or on the occasion of a festival, when many people from different villages have gathered. At the Holi festival, for instance, celebrated in the nearby administrative center, young people from the entire area attend the theatrical and dance performances. A girl from Guda- pada was abducted by young men at an event of this kind, taken to another, affinal village, and accompanied back to her home a day or two later. The marriage proposal was presented to the father, and shortly thereafter, the youth’s group began the process of making suit for the girl. An abduction without such an explanation and consequent suit for marriage would lead to conflicts between the groups and to demands for compensation. In another abduction, this time within the village, the bride-takers had consulted only the dissari about their plan, in order to choose an auspicious date and time (jog). The girl and her widowed mother knew nothing about the planned abduction. Several visits by the bride-takers had previously taken place, but the mother ran up protesting when several men seized her daughter by force and brought her temporarily to another affinal house (from the bride-takers’ perspective) in the neighborhood. The mother was sent away, and the girl was taken a short time later to the bridegroom’s house, where she and the groom had to feed one another kordi rice.

 
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