IJSSH 2016 Vol.6(4): 303-308 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2016.V6.662

Niyoga [Levirate]: Conflict Resolution to Bruised Masculinity in Early India

Smita Sahgal
Abstract—There is a perception that conflict often emerges in context of tangible violence. What gets missed out is that certain types of social norms and expectations can also be instrumental in germinating mental conflict which may not get explicitly articulated. Sometimes such conflict situations may require resolutions or cultural mediation. One such situation in Early India was the absence of son in household who apparently held the key to happiness of both this world and the other. Sons were the index to an individual’s masculinity, testifying his virility and fertility, apart from being the perpetuators of lineage and property. What would happen if a man failed to reproduce because of impotency or early death? The ensuing conflict could dent his masculinity or the memory of it. Niyoga was a mechanism of healing a man’s masculinity. It intended to resolve conflict both within private and public domains. The purpose of the paper is to locate this practice within the discourse of masculinity in Early India.

Index Terms—Bruised, impotency, lineage, levirate, masculinity.

Smita Sahgal is with the Department of History, Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, India (e-mail: smitasahgal16@yahoo.com).

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Cite: Smita Sahgal, " Niyoga [Levirate]: Conflict Resolution to Bruised Masculinity in Early India," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 303-308, 2016.

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