Matrilineal practices among Koyas of Kozhikode
Journal of South Asian Studies 1 (1), 66-82 | 2013
The present study is critical about the view that ‘textually defined Islamic practices’ are in confrontation with ‘un-Islamic’ matrilineal practices. Engaging with an idea of lived Islam while attempting to understand everyday life of the Muslims enables one to be sensitive to various ways in which Islam and local customs co-exist in Muslim societies. An exploration of matrilineal practices among Koyas of Kozhikode enable one to see how custom and religion co-exist in everyday life in muslim societies which entail dimensions of accommodation, negotiation and contestation. Koyas who constitute a minority Muslim group among Kerala Muslims embrace matriliny as part of their everyday engagement through diverse ways which is related to the specificity of nature of Islamization in Kerala, diverse colonial legacies and socio-economic transformations in post-colonial period. The study therefore tries to argue that Islam is diverse in practice and modifications in matrilineal practices among Koyas of Kozhikode are not due to the impact of Islam alone but through the interplay of multitude of interacting factors such as colonialism, post-Independence developments and neo-liberal trends.
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