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2022-08-23 14:41:37

5 countries where polygamy is officially allowed

5 countries where polygamy is officially allowed

When a decent society talks about savage practices, often the first thing that comes to mind is polygamy. If the audience approaches the issue seriously, sooner or later the question arises: why are they allowed, and we are not? In fact, there is a rather impressive list of locations where women are also allowed. However, the situation does not mean that women have more rights, freedoms and opportunities. Often the situation is exactly the opposite.



In Indian society, polygamy was very common in the distant past, but still in a number of regions in the north, where the foundations are archaic, and society is arranged according to the patterns of matriarchy, in particular in Kashmir and the territories on the border with Pakistan. This is a mountainous area with a huge shortage of land suitable for agricultural cultivation. Therefore, a mechanism was needed to avoid land fragmentation.

This mechanism looked like this. The older brother in the family married, and his name automatically received the same status in relation to the other brothers. So the earth was preserved from crushing. By the way, the girl could refuse all the brothers or some - and in this case, the guys were waiting for an unenviable fate - they could be "shaved" into monks. In case of consent, marital duties were divided equally among all husbands, every week the applicant for the marriage bed changed.

Now this is no longer practiced en masse, but some adherents of the ancient tradition are preserved. For example, in 2013, Rajo Verma, a girl from Kashmir, married five guys at once. She is now a mother of many children; in 2020, there were six children, and, according to rumors, just now she is preparing to give the world twins.


In the People's Republic of China, the abundance of husbands and wives per human unit is not encouraged, even with the aim of reducing the birth rate, the authorities did not take this step far from communist morality.

However, in the tibet autonomous region, which is de jure and de facto owned by Beijing, which is disputed by Indians (and there is also a group of people convinced that Tibet should be an independent country under the leadership of the Dalai Lama), this is a daily and regular practice. The reasons are about the same as those of the Indians – the lack of fertile land suitable for agricultural use. And to buy one bride for a whole team of grooms is cheaper and easier than to do it individually for each son. In Tibet, ladies do not choose their life partners, they are given to the family of "grooms" at once for everyone. And even children are not usually distinguished by fathers!

Fun fact: sexual relations are not a marital duty – a woman encourages her spouse for the work done, labor feats and personal care and attention. In the country, about 20 per cent of women, mostly living in rural areas, are still in bond with a few brothers. It can be worse – among this brotherly love, their daddy can also squeeze in.


Polygamy in any form was banned in the country in 1963, but in the legislation, accidentally or on purpose, gaps were left that made it possible to actively practice this seemingly bygone tradition.

Ancestral traditions are strongest in the provinces of Dolpa, Homla and Kosi. At the same time, if the wife is not able to give her many gentlemen a child, another lady may appear in the house; as a rule, this is the sister of the first wife, and only in rare cases a person who has nothing to do with the target family.

According to unofficial statistics, up to a quarter of Nepalese women are married to several men at once. At the same time, at the constitutional level, a provision is enshrined in the country in which a woman has a secondary value compared to a man. Only recently, women in this archaic state, so attractive to tourists, received passports that can be obtained independently (previously this could not be done without first obtaining permission from a spouse). Other savage vestiges of the past have been or are being abolished; for example, until recently it was considered completely normal to starve your spouse or lock her in a barn or cellar during critical days - so that demons would not be attracted to the roof. Now it is prohibited, a fine is imposed for such actions, and a repeat spouse can even be imprisoned. And in general, physical violence against women in the family was banned in 2016.


Another country on the border between Indian and Chinese culture, experiencing approximately equal influence of both. It is located in the Himalayan Highlands and is considered the highest mountain in the world, so the difficulties with the lack of arable land are more relevant than ever.

That is why it has been established here that a lady can have many gentlemen, and marital jealousy was not in honor. There were even cases when the same woman was divided among themselves by representatives of several families, neighbors or even people from different settlements.

Over time, morals changed, but, unlike India and other countries already considered, a legislative ban was never introduced. However, this is not to say that the practice is encouraged. Rather, they look at her with their eyes closed. In some areas, however, the number of families of this type is relatively large and exceeds 10-15% of the total number of inhabitants. Especially great is the commitment to the traditions of the ancestors among the Minaro people.


In African countries, it is rather customary to get a large number of wives. This is due to both the strength of Islamic traditions and the traditional rites and beliefs of the local population. Families with an only husband and a large number of wives are a common practice in Mali and Mauritania, quite a few in Nigeria and Cameroon. However, in Morocco, for example, this is a privilege for very wealthy families and representatives of the royal dynasty.

Meanwhile, in Kenya in 2013, a funny incident happened. A couple of men and their beloved decided to tie the knot officially and were able to prove in court that polyandry is a tradition-sanctified custom of ancestors. The judge, after reviewing the evidence base, concluded that this was the case, and eventually allowed them to converge.

Researchers of "Sub-Saharan Africa" have repeatedly noted that a number of local tribes practice both polygamy and polygamy. True, the former have a higher level of income and, in general, well-being, and children are healthier. 

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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