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Matrilineal Meghalaya

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: The Hindu

 Context: Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) ordered not to issue an ST certificate to any Khasi person who adopts their father’s surname as it is against the traditional custom of inheriting the mother’s surname.


What is the matrilineal system among Khasis?

It refers to a social and kinship system where descent and inheritance are traced through the female line. In this system, family lineage, property, and clan membership are passed down from mother to daughter. Among Khasis, the youngest daughter (khatduh) of the family is entrusted the full share of the ancestral – or the clan’s – property

The three tribes of Meghalaya — Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos — practise a matrilineal system of inheritance.


About Khasis Tribe:

The Khasis are an indigenous community in Meghalaya. While the majority of Khasis are Christians now, their traditional beliefs revolved around a Supreme Being called U Blei Nongthaw. The Khasi community celebrates festivals such as the Nongkrem Dance and Shad Suk Mynsiem.


About KHADC:

  • KHADC is a body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoramto safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.
  • It provides for autonomy in the administration of these areas through Autonomous District Councils (ADCs),which are empowered to make laws in respect of areas under their jurisdiction.