It is not unheard of for men to have more than one wife with many cultural practices and religions of the world even supporting the habit. However, it comes across as unusual to hear of a woman with multiple husbands. Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time.
For example, fraternal polyandry is practised among Tibetans in Nepal, parts of China and part of northern India, in which two or more brothers are married to the same wife, with the wife having equal “sexual access” to them.
We have gathered five known countries with tribes that practice polyandry and they are listed below:
Although largely uncommon in Nigeria, there are tribes in Nigeria that also allows polyandry. Among the Irigwe of Northern Nigeria, women have traditionally acquired numerous spouses called “co-husbands”. The Irigwe people of Nigeria practised a woman having co-husbands until their council voted to outlaw it in 1968. Until then, women moved from house to house, taking on multiple spouses, and the children’s paternity was assigned to the husband whose house the woman lived in at the time.
India as a country has more than one tribe practising polyandry. Polyandry is prevalent in parts of North India by Paharis in the Jaunsarbawar region while in Kinnaur, Himachal a minority of the people justify and practice Polyandry. As descendants of the Pachi Pandavas (five brothers who were husbands to a woman named Draupadi daughter of King Panchala), they believe they have to carry on the tradition.
Asides them, the Toda tribe of Nilgris, Najanad Vellala of Travancore and some Nair caste Sytems in South India also practice polyandry.
A survey of 753 Tibetan families by Tibet University
in 1988 found that 13% practised polyandry.
In August 2013, Kenyan witness polyandry when two men decided to be husbands to a woman they both love. It is noteworthy that Kenyan laws don’t explicitly forbid Polyandry and legal action can’t be taken against people who practice it. There have also been reported cases of polyandry among the Massai people of Kenyan.
The practice of fraternal polyandry is common among the people Tibet in the Nepal parts of China and India. It is based on the belief that a child can have more than one father and usually when two or more brothers marry one woman, they all have equal sexual access to her.
The practice is encouraged if the family is poor and can’t divide their properties amongst the offsprings of separate fathers. So they keep their small farmlands and properties big by getting married to the same woman.
Polyandry also existed among tribes in South America as the Bororo practised polyandry while up to 70 per cent of Amazonian cultures may have believed in the principle of multiple paternity. “The Tupi-Kawahib also practice fraternal polyandry.
Author: AKINWALE AKINYOADE