India : family ties beyond death

Father and son belonging to the Bhil tribe. Madhya Pradesh, India.

While traveling in India,  many times  I have seen  a strong relationship between fathers and sons.  It can be explained by religious and cultural reasons.  An hindu like to feel he is one with the universe, in harmony with the cosmos.  The many rites which  mark out his life are aimed to integrate him to the right order of the world, the “dharma”, something essential if he wants to reach liberation in his afterlife. Above all, funeral rites have to be performed by the eldest son because he is the prolongation of his father. ( According to the tradition, women are not allowed to perform such rituals.) By this way, the son integrates his lineage and prepares his own death. If there is no son to perform these rites, the father himself will not be integrated to his lineage and the chain will be broken. A disaster !

Now, since ever, infant mortality was so important that to be sure one son would survive till his father’s death, it was necessary to give birth to 2 even 3 boys. This fact is inscribed in the collective memory since centuries. Not the recent progress of the infant medicine. If usually, an indian couple has 4 or 5 children ( which implies 6 or 7 births), it’s by prudence not improvidence. He acts according to his culture where family, lineage, eternity are more important than the national interest, which is a foreign concept.


About travelerreport

My blog is all about travelling and photography
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