The Kobai System among the Tiwa of North East India: A Study on their Matrilineal System

When we speak about the matrilineal descent system in India, we generally consider the Khasi-Jaintia and Garo of Meghalaya and Nayars of central Kerala as a matrilineal group. However, the Tiwa tribe inhabiting between the borders of Assam and Meghalaya also practices matrilineage and matrilocal residence which have not been studied by ethnographers in detail. Since the 1980s there has been a gradual transformation of the lineage system of this tribe, with the increase of patrilocal residence and patrilineage. Interestingly, no proper study has taken place on the Tiwa matrilineal descent system and its continuity and change. In the light of the above statement, this paper studies the kobai system and explores the general features of the Tiwa descent system and to understand the trajectory of change from matrilineal to patrilineal descent.