Concubines in TN Society

Topic started by krishna (@ on Tue Sep 16 23:23:23 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

What is the history of "concubines" in TN?
How did this practice begin? When, if at all, did it end?
What is the psychological effect on children that result from such unions?

I have encountered a number of situations where references are made to the presence of concubines in TN society.
I'm interpreting the word "concubine" rather broadly here,it could mean a second wife (the first wife is still acknowledged as a wife), a mistress inhabiting a separate household and offspring are produced as a result of the union or a situation where a man co-habits with two or more women in the same household.
In particular, I'm referring to the presence of such "concubines" in Tamil Hindu society.

I have encountered references to "concubines" in the following situations:

1) In the book, 'A Documentary History of Indian South Africans' there is a heart-rending letter by a wife who lays a charge of bigamy against her husband. Dated September 4, 1895 the letter describes a charge of bigamy against Seeniwasa Padayachi laid by his wife Amirtham.
In the letter, Amirtham states that she is not Padayachi's "concubine" but his lawfully married wife.

2) Many years ago, I had a conversation with a South African Tamil who told me that there were many cases of married Tamil men emigrating to South Africa and co-habiting with South African Tamil women born during an earlier wave of immigration. Some of these men abandoned their South African families and returned to India, others abandoned their Indian families and remained in South Africa.

3) A friend tells me his Tamil grandfather emigrated to South Africa with two wives. This does not appear do be a practice confined to the so-called "lower" castes, the grandfather was a member of one of the "upper" Hindu castes.

4) I seem to recall reading that Annadurai, the founder of the DMK, was the illegitimate son of a married brahmin man and a woman from the weaver caste.
Is this correct?


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