Year 2012 marks the centenary of the abolition of Marumakkathayam (matrilinear system) which prevailed in Kerala for centuries.
The event appears to have escaped the attention of the media and other institutions which celebrate with gusto the 90th and 100th birthdays of the successors of feudal rulers and take solemn note of the anniversaries of boat tragedies and tsunamis.
It was in 1912 that the Travancore Marumakkathayam Act was passed by which half of the intestate male’s self acquired property could be gifted to wife and children. This, in conjunction with the Travancore Will Act of 1899, tolled the death knell of Marumakkathayam.
The Travancore Nair Regulation of 1912, passed by the Maharajah of Travancore, legalized Sambhandham (conjugal union). It set the context for the 1925 Nair Act, the 1925 Ezhava Act, the 1926 Nanjanad Vellala Act and the 1932 Kshatriya Act – all of Travancore. It inspired the 1920 Nair Regulation of Cochin and the 1933 Marumakkathayam Act of Madras including Malabar.
Source: Directorate of State Archives, Government of Kerala