Partition of Tarawad properties
Chronology in Malabar from 1896 to 1933
M.T.'s Naalukettu is woven around the theme of the dissolution of the Nair tharavads, a process which at the legislation level, in Malabar which was part of Madras Presidency, began in 1896 (Malabar Marriage Act) and was completed in 1933 (Madras Marumakkathayam Act).
Malabar Marriage Act
A man registering his sambandham was entitled to make over his self-acquired property to his wife and children.
Wikipedia. In 1896, the government of Madras passed the Malabar Marriage Act in response to the recommendations of the Malabar Marriage Commission of 1891. This allowed members of any caste practising marumakkathayam (matriliny) in Malabar to register a sambandham as a marriage. It was permissive rather than restrictive law: whether or not a relationship was registered was entirely the decision of the people involved in that relationship.
Initiated by the work of Sir C. Sankaran Nair, the measure was largely a failure, with Panikkar [K.M. Panikkar, Some Aspects of Nayar Life, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 48 (July–December 1918): 271] noting that in the 20 years following introduction of the Act only six such relationships were registered and that all of those involved family members of Nair himself.
In Travancore, the Nair Act of 1912 legalized sambandham among Nairs and allowed sub-family partition of Tarawad properties. Rules were framed for sharing the self-acquired property of individual members.
Jeffrey, p. 230: "Regulation I of 1088 ME recognized a public sambandham as a legal marriage, and gave wives and children of Nairs dying intestate the right to half of the husband's self-acquired property. A man could dispose of all his self-acquired property by making a will. A husband, moreover, was made the legal guardian."
Cochin Nair Regulation
Jeffrey, 43: Wife and children entitled to half of self-acquired property of intestate male. Sambandham recognised as legal marriage. Polygamy outlawed. Branches of a matrilineal family permitted to divide and separate.
Travancore Nair (Amendment) Regulation
Jeffrey, 233. Regulation II of 1100 M.E. (October 1924) virtually legislated away the matrilineal joint-family. “Every adult member of a Tarwad” became “entitled to claim his or her share of the properties of the Tarwad”. A wife [and children] was made the legal heir of all her husband's self-acquired property.
“The object of the present bill is to eradicate once for all the evils of the marumakkathayam system with a view to improve the moral, economic and industrial coordination of its followers by giving each member full scope for individuality and personal endeavor by holding him responsible to take care of himself and his wife and children, in short, by compelling him to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, or in the alternative to beg or to starve.” P. Raman Pillai, The Travancore Legislative Council Proceedings, 1923, 16 April 1923, vol. II, p. 821.
Madras Marumakkathayam Act (Govnt. of Madras, Act XXII of 1933)
Polygamy outlawed, divorce allowed. Maintenance of the divorced wife and children became the responsibility of the man who had divorced his wife. Inheritance right was given to wife and children. Partition of Tarawad was legally allowed.
Cochin Marumakkathayam Act & Cochin Nayar Act of 1113 M.E.