Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

cordially invites you to the Weekly Seminar



at 3.00 pm on Tuesday, 29th April, 2014

in the Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building





‘Come in and See my House:

Home loans, dream houses and the fragilities of women’s control over property in north Kerala’




Dr. Janaki Abraham,

University of Delhi,





Despite the law providing women equal rights to parental property, it is well known that few women in India receive a share of property equal to that of their brothers. Groups with a history of matrilineal inheritance in Kerala are an important exception to this. What has remained after the widespread partition of matrilineal joint family houses (tharavads) and the legal abolition of matriliny, is a broad consensus that daughters must inherit property, and in some cases even inherit more than their brothers. Based on an ethnographic study of the Thiyyas in North Kerala, in this presentation the speaker will argue that expanding capitalist markets in the last two decades have brought dramatic changes in property ownership and in residence, both through creating desires to ‘fashion’ one’s own house and in the culture of loans available.  These have far reaching implications not only on the nature of women’s residence but also on their control over property. These are processes that can be witnessed elsewhere in India as well, among patrilineal groups where women’s access to property has been tenuous to begin with.



Dr. Janaki Abraham is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, Delhi. 



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