KINDS OF MARRIAGES
The five types of marriages prevalent among Gaddis are as described below:
A. DAN PUN MARRIAGES
The most prevalent common types of marriages are Dan Pun. Dan-Pun word Stands for charity, Dharam and Punnya. Kanydan takes place when girl is given as a Dan to her husband. There is a regular chain or cycle of administrative, religious and ceremonial customs, rites and procedures into which the DAN-PUN marriage is phased have been elaborated under the head main marriage ceremonies.
B. MARRIAGE BY EXCHANGE OR BATASATA
The boy gets his partner in exchange of his real or a cousin sister, may be Kakeri, Mauseri, Buberi or Phupheri or Towari who is married to the wife's brother. This type of marriage is considered inferior to DAN PUN marriage. The number of such marriages is very low in the Gaddi community.
This marriage is by elopement, consent agreement and mutual understanding among the relatives. When a woman elopes with someone, the new husband fixes date and time for Jhanjrara. Neighbourers and relatives are invited for the occasion. The bride is dressed in new clothes, ladies comb her hair, the dories of suhag tied to the chak, are arranged on the head of the bride. Vermillion is put on the 'Mang' of the bride. If the new husband is financially well off he offers Balloo and ear rings on this occasion. Jhanjrara takes place during the night and feast is also given. The report of Jhanjrara is given either at the local police station or the Panchayat concerned. In case of a married woman on contracting such marriage, her former husband files a suit against a new husband and consequently gets a compensation (Harja) from the new husband through local court or bradari Panchayat. The offerings from such marriages have the same rights as widows married in the ordinary way and their offspring.
Sometimes jhanjrarara is arranged on peaceful and mutual understandings. In this case simple ceremony of 'Dora Langna' in the name of new husband is performed. No complications are involved. This is a common practice, no feast is given. Remarriage or jhanjrara with younger brother of the deceased soldier, if unmarried is arranged without any complications. In this case the war widow though remarried through jhanjrara continue to draw her entitled pension, the concession sac tinned by the Government. The Civil Courts of District have always recognised such marriages.
D. ELOPEMENT OR JHIND PHUK OR BRAR PHUK MARRIAGE
This marriage is by elopement. If a girl elopes with her lover without the consent of her parents, they solemnise the marriage by burning a bush wood and going round the fire eight times hand in hand or with brides sheet tied to the boy's girdle. No rituals are performed, PUROHIT does not attend this marriage. Though it is a recognised marriage yet elopement is not considered a healthy practice.
E. GHHAR JAVANTRI
This is a marriage of its own type. This is very rare and this type of marriage has not remained so prevalent in Gaddis. The boy has to work as a domestic servant in the house of his would be father-in-law. The duration of service depends on the prevailing circumstances. in some cases part-time service is rendered, in other cases the boy has to work seasonally. The boy is never made to work the bride's relatives. The duration of work may be within the range of 2 to 8 years, which is compulsory. Marriage takes place only after the boy has retired from the service of the girls parents, After marriage the couple stays at the boys house. It is in exceptional and compelling circumstances that this type of service for marriage is accepted and practised.
A man (an individual) should marry in one's own caste. He cannot marry person of the same sub caste. A Bersain Gaddi should marry a Gaddin who is not a Bersain, and so on. The unclean caste are just as strict in this respect as he high born ones, it is positively forbidden to intermarry in the same "Gotar". The rules prohibiting the marriage of daughters with men of lower caste, are strict. Unclean castes are prohibited to smoke the Kali (hukka) of the clean caste. UnClean caste people can smoke hukka of any clean caste but only after taking out the stet. The clean caste people can eat drink with members of any clean caste. People of clean caste should not eat and drink with the people of unclean caste.
SYSTEM OF MARRIAGE
Gaddis are monogamous unlike some other tribes of Himachal Pradesh. Polyandry is never practised by the Gaddis. A peculiarity observed on the Caddis, is that they are neither polyandrous nor polygamous. It is all due to their socially accepted norms. The Gaddi does not favour polygamy unless the wife is barren or dead. It is not essential that the plural wives should be real sisters, Baberies, Pupheries or Mauseries. They may or may not be. Even a wife can bring her old relatives with her. When a man has two wives, both live with the husband in the same house. The position of the first wife is always superior to that of the subsequent one. In such cases the consent of the first wife is taken for the second marriage. Such Polygamy is permitted to the entire community. The children if born as a result of Polygamy under compulsion of such circumstances, are considered legitimate andd treated sympatheticaly. The procedure of having two wives or two husbands at once is never heard of. The gaddis are not bigamous.
DIVORCE SYSTEM :
The word Divorce does not exist in the history of gaddis. They use the following terms in this respect.
(a) Dua Ghar kari leva ha - Has settled down with a second husband
(b) Chhari ditti - he permitted his wife to settle down with someone else.
(c) Jargati di dethi ha - Has allowed his wife according to some agreement to remarry.
Such cases occur under the following circumstances:
» In case the husband is suffering from some incurable leperosy.
» When the husband is found to be impotent.
» Since the solemnization the husband has been guilty of bestiality (brutish actions)
» In case of doubt about the faithfulness of husband or wife.
» When wife elopes with some one.
In Bata-Sata marriage, if marriage of one side breaks, this causes impact on the marriage of second marriage, couple married as a result of Bata (exchange).Generally, such cases do not go to the civil courts but are decided by Bradari Panchayat duly constituted. Sometimes the second man with whom a woman wants to marry or celebrate Jhanjrara has to pay compensation called 'Harjana' as decided. The dowry brought by the woman is not returned. The children of the divorced couple remain with the father. It is a strange thing that the mother has no right over her children after divorcing her husband. Sometimes father's brother's wife or father's mother bear the responsibility of rearing them.