Social Scientist. v 2, no. 16 (Nov 1973) p. 42.


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SHARAD PATIL

Some Aspects of Matriarchy in Ancient India:

Clan Mother to Tribal Mother

ACCORDING to some scholars, kula and gotra were but the synonyms of clan, the basic unit of the ancient Indian tribal society. The orthodox argument that gotra was an exclusively Brahminical institution, and only later adopted by the Ksatriyas, has up to this time been countered by the contention that it smacked of Brahminical communalism. But, when it comes from such a distinguished and scientifically objective sociologist as Irawati Karve, one is bound to have second thoughts before dismissing it outright:

A great deal is written about whether the Kshatriyas had gotras or not. The above discussion makes it clear that the Kshatriyas did not possess gotras. The Kshatriyas adopted gotras in imitation of the Brahmin gotras in post-epic times but the adoption merely amounted to adding an appendage to the family name and was not functional as in the case of Brahmins. Buddha is supposed to be of Gautama gotra. His family was Ikshvaku. The Janakas were also a branch of the same family and ruled over what is at present known as the southern portion of Nepal, a region to which Buddha's family also belonged. The priest of the Janakas was supposed to be Shetananda, a Gautama, and that is why Buddha is called a Goutama. Many Kshatriyas are supposed to have adopted the gotra of their priests.1



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