Lakshadweep’s Minicoy Island, a kingdom for women
In the southernmostpoint of Lakshadweep rests a green gem surrounded by sky blue water. A place where the people and nature live in perfect harmony. Yes, the place that has got all these attributes is none other than Minicoy islands in Lakshadweep. The whole island measures only 4.80 km2.
It is here that you will see the golden sand withtheblue waters of Minicoy. The view is spectacular,to say the least. There are many scuba diving groupson the island that will help you see the majestic sea floor if you choose to visit the place.
The greatest thing about Minicoy is that it’s beautiful in the day as it is in the nights. The sparklingstars studded to the dark velvet night. And as you look at the waters, you see the same reflection in the waters. It gives a feeling of the whole places just floating in space.
A Unique Island Indeed!
But the natural beauty aside, the thing that fascinates people about Minicoy is the matriarchal nature of the place. If you do not know what that word means, it’s a place where women are given the role in leading and making important decisions. Minicoy is truly a kingdom for women.
Minicoy has a total population of 10,700,and it can be said as one of the safest places for women in the world. In a place where women decide the marriage conditions and matchmaking, it’s something far unique than what the world is used to.
The islanders of Minicoy speak Mahl, a derivative of Maldivian language.
Women over man – The Minicoy way!
When it comes to matriarchy, the eldest women in the family is given the role of the leader. Here the dowry system is done in reverse. That means thatit’s the man who gives dowry to the woman when he marries her. The amount of gold is proportional to the status of the women the man is going to marry. Also, the groom has to buy expensive dress and appliances that the bride demands.
The people who hear about this tradition is baffled at the customs of Minicoy. But the land has been practicingthese traditions for decades. After marriage, the bride can stay at herancestral home. The groom has to come and live with the in-law’s post marriage.
The major advance of the bride living at her ancestral home after marriage is that, she will be surrounded by her relatives. Having family beside her gives the women immense confidence and freedom. One may think that the men are the ones who are in a predicament here. But the men of Minicoybeg to differ. They say that these customs made Minicoy what it is and they believe women are not supposed to be locked inside the homes 24/7.
Islam is the predominant religion here. To allthose people who say that the religion oppresses women, the women of welcomes them to Minicoy to show them how much freedom they enjoy under Islam.
Men Aren’t Left Out Though!
The majority of men in Minicoy has somethingor the other to do with the sea. They either work as afisherman or in the merchant navy. The men of Minicoy aren’t excluded from household work or cooking. The women still command the kitchen, but the men have to do their part in thekitchen when a special day arrives. On these days the women of Minicoy gather at the village house and men are left with the household work.
Men make their livelihood from the sea. This is the reason why they are taught to respect the sea by their ancestors. This disciple is shown in their interaction with women too. A female can walk along the beaches of without any fear of being harassed or mistreated.
Self-employed and independent women of Minicoy
The tales about the kingdom of women do not end there! The women of Minicoy organizeand participate in picnics themselves. These outing on the sea are a way for them toenjoy and catch up on each other taking some time off from their busy days. If you thinkthat their lives are tied to the kitchen, you are wrong;the women own shops and restaurant along the shores and streets of Minicoy that are run and managed by the women themselves.
Fascinating right? If you want an escape to a land of beauty created by sand and water, Minicoy is the perfect destination. But if you want to see a beautiful island that treats women as equals, then Minicoy is the only destination!
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