Marumakkathayam Commission

  • Published on January 15, 1908
  • By Staff Reporter

That the civilization and advancement of a community is commensurate with the strictness and faith observed, without exception, in its rules and observances of that relationship of relationships, namely the marital relationship, is but an undisputed tact.  This not only holds good amongst the different creeds, in all countries and climes, but even extends to the animal creation inferior to man.  The Lion, the King of beasts, and the dove, that lovely bird, are but too well known for their fidelity and devotion to their mates.  Even amongst reptiles, there is a species of snakes known as Payyani, which is one of the most poisonous species known on this side of India.  We have heard it asserted by some up-countryfolks, that when either of the couple is molested, it gives a signal to the other by a sound resembling a whistle, which brings the other to the scene of danger, in the twinkling of an eye.  This snake is dreaded most on this account.  

When such is the faith, when such is the love exhibited even amongst the lowest species of living beings, is it not an irony of fate that this community - the Nayars of Kerala - alone, which can count amongst its members hundreds of graduates of all denominations, has been known too well-known, more than for any other attribute, for the looseness of that tie which is the strongest and best of all the items which go to make up a society, a  community, a nation, and even the civilized world.   To characterise a community as strict in its marital ties, it will not be sufficient if a few maintain a strict an lasting relationship.    We said in ours of the last issue, that marriage amongst the Nayars will be one of the problems that will invite the attention, and tax not a little of the patience and energies, of the Commission that is to be.  No one will dispute for a moment that this is as it should be.  What to reject, what to accept out of, and what to add to, the existing unwritten customary laws and observances to bring about something in the shape of a reasonable and much desired for code, or regulation to remove the existing plausible slur without offending the weak susceptibilities of persons whose range of vision may be limited and narrow, should be the first move of the Commission as far as this sub-division of the main question is concerned.  The Commission should bear in mind that this is an advanced age, when metaphysics have to yield to materialism, when prejudices have to be controlled by reason and science.  We do not hereby suggest that a root and branch policy should be followed.  There are certain aspects of the question, the solution of which may materially be helped by a thorough knowledge of the world and its doings.  We have to accept things as they are and remodel the same, lopping off a branch here, planting a tree there, or cutting off one on a third side to make out a passable garden.  There is nothing absolutely bad, or absolutely good on this earth, but only a variance in the proportion of the ingredients where with the compound is made.  As to what concrete question or difficulty the Commission may at the moment of start meet with, what the remedies that we suggest are, shall form the subject of our next.

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