Karbis Of Assam

Ethnology on the Karbis also Known as Mikirs

Forbidden Sex in Karbis

Posted by Administrator on April 15, 2008


Every society in the world has some kind of fixed rules through which one person can copulate with another person. The rule which defines the allowed and tabooed sex explains lots about the kinship and nature of that particular society. Although cross-cousin marriage or copulation is allowed amongst the Karbis, however it may be a taboo for some other community considering it to be incestuous. Some rules pertaining to marriage or intercourse like marriage amongst the same clan is a taboo in Karbi Society, which is very much allowed and infact is the preferred one in some cases in some other community in the world.

The beauty of the concept of tabooed sex amongst the Karbis is its complexity due to its Bi-lineal characteristics of the society. The Karbis Society is Bi-lineal in nature where the lineage from both the mother as well as the father is to be taken into account.

Tabooed Sex in Karbi is term as “AKER ANGNO”. When a couple commits the tabooed sex it is termed as “SENEM” i.e . Incest. If Sex is committed between a couple of same Clan then it is termed as “KUR-SENEM”. i.e. Clan Incest. To purify such couple, at first some animal ( Fowl or Pig) has to be sacrificed and the remains has to be left in the rivers then only can the process of judgment to such couple can start. Only the Habe (Judge of the Longri i.e a state in Customary Karbi Laws) has the authority to officiate in such cases. But before presenting the involved couple to the Habe, they must be purified by the Khakre (a traditional priest of the village)

If the mother and the father of the couple involved is same then they are termed as “CHUBONG ISI” and they will come under the purview of KUR-SENEM and also those “ASU-ASOPI ARON”, i.e. like daughter or grand daughter in relations. If the proximity in kinship of the couple involved is of the same family then the term referring to them would be “NOKHUM-ISI”. And if it is of some 7 generation gap then it will be “NOKSONG-ISI”.

That is in general the tabooed sex committed between those from the patrilineal kinship (PHUTUNG OR POTUNG) will be termed as “KUR SENEM”

Amongst the Karbis even if the clan of the mother, even though two persons might belong to different clans, they will be considered as brother and sister. The kinship from the matrilineal kinship (PHITUNG OR PITUNG) also plays a big role in marriage as it will be a taboo to have intercourse with the girl whose mother may have the same clan as that of the boy, even though they may be of completely two different clans.

This kind of tabooed sex between a couple who has some kind of affinity from the mother side i.e. matrilineal kinship is termed as “LAI-SENEM”.

The Child acquired from such kind of tabooed sex is known as “SO-RONGRO”. In some cases such kind of illicit child is killed but in some cases it is adopted after identifying the biological father by the clan of the illicit father of the illicit child after purifying it taking into consideration humanitarian ground, if the ‘sin’ is “LAI-SENEM”. However if it is the case of “KUR-SENEM” then the child must be adopted by some other clan other then the couple involved.

If illicit affair happens between a couple of the same sex, that is, if it involbes Gays, then it is termed as “SENEM ALO”. The couple involved, if caught, must be fined, punished and purified under social customary law.

There is restriction to copulate with the widows of those who were eaten by tiger. The widow is termed as “ME-ANG” and they are considered to be unpure. If copulation happened with a “ME-ANG” then purification must be done before they are can marry each other.

At the conclusion it can be added that basically there are three kinds of Tabooed Sex amongst the Karbis.

1) KUR-SENEM ( Sex between the same Clan)

2) LAI-SENEM ( Sex between those who are related from the Matrilineal kinship to become brother or sister but not the daughter of Maternal uncle)

3) SENEM-ALO ( Sex Between couple of same sex)

12 Responses to “Forbidden Sex in Karbis”

  1. Morningkeey
    Good job, but I wish you could do more researches into the topic. And I wish to see the blog more tastefully designed, because its already going international!!!


  2. Rajendra Milik said

    I am a Karbi boy living in Bombay from the last five year. I am here to have a computer engineer and also searching for a good job in computer engineeer. I am a hardware eingineer from Karbi Anglong, Diphu. Today I have got this website and I am feeling very happy.
    Rajendra Milik

  3. Mindar said

    A very complicated situation- my mom and my Girl Friend’s mom’s surname is the same i.e. both are Engtipi. Some people had told me that since my mom and my girl friend’s mom’s surname is same, she is a sister to me and therefore we cannot marry. But I’ve come across few people who differs and have got married. I’ve even seen an arranged marriage happening where the groom and bride’s mother’s surname is the same, with the consent of the parents from both parties.

    I’d therefore like to know if such marriages are actually prohibited. And what about those people who got married with their mother’s surname being the same? Is it still prohibited in this modern age?

    • Dear Mr. Mindar,

      The question is not if it is still valid in the modern world or whatever, I have put down the definition of Incest amongst the Karbis. Just by trying to differ will not change the meaning of it. Its up to the personal choice of the youth to follow it but the definition makes what a Karbi is… Instead of asking me a question, you better ponder upon it yourself, but yes the rule is still being followed by the Karbis…

      • sam said

        Well Well this is a tricky situation. As far as i know we can marry our Cousins(that is our mother’s brother’s daughters) and in that case ur Cousins are definitely going to have the same surname as ur mother’s maiden surname.
        But now the problem is that your girlfriend is not ur cousin so if u are asking me whether u can marry her or not then the answer is “NO u cannot marry”. Better ask some village elders but i don’t think there is any hope.

        But then again if u are really in love ?? who cares ?? if Hindu’s can marry Christian’s then why cant u marry an Engtipi girl ???

  4. Morningkeey said


    There is no problem if the clan of the girls is the same as that of your mother, the problem arises if the your mother and her mother have the same clan. that way her mother will be your maternal aunty and hence sister..

  5. Plez

  6. Philiippe Ramirez said

    Could you please detail how the purification is done in case of incest?

  7. Rensing Tisso said

    Non ove kemi atum aphan pachini apot Kardom pajir iklo akehai.

  8. Terang Angelson said

    i’m terang angelson i wuld like to thanks of the owner of this wep. M styng here in bhopal M.P bt i love my tribe m proud to be a Karbi m real karbi boy home town Kaziranga karbi anglong

  9. amit tumung said

    real incest is that which happens inside the family, like bro-sis, mom-son and dad-daughter type. Such types are tabooed and causes genetic anomaly. So you should always avoid such combination. Except those, you can fuck the whole universe. Since your fianceè is not your sister, you can marry her freely and enjoy hard sex. Go on digger. LOL.

  10. Sarthe Kro said

    Bah….. Karbi atumta lapuan paphrang ma laho

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