Sa-Gotra (Marriage Within A Gotra) Was The Norm Originally > Page1
But the endogamous clan still retained some features of the tribal way of life like common ownership of property (and promiscuity). This new solidarity that emerged from the common ownership of cattle, acquired the name Gotra from its very nature. But then the Gotra which was the foundation of life and livelihood also became its limit. Sexual pairing was limited to member of a Gotra. This form of pairing was termed Sagotra. Our Present day prohibition on marriage within one Gotra is a later development.
The shift from pairing within a Gotra to prohibition on marriage between two members having the same Gotra must be a result of a variety of factors.
As long as promiscuity survived, society must have been matriarchal as the mother would have been the only identifiable parent. But with the rising productivity and gradual emergence of individual holding of property, this way of life had to make way for another.
The title to the increasing hoard of wealth was held by male members of a clan due to their being the physically dominant sex. It was the efforts of the more powerful males that won for the clan the property of other clans and also enabled defense of their own property from being grabbed by other clans. With the gradual increase in productive power, the acquisition of slaves etc. The title to property also changed from being collective to individual. This change in the title to property from communal to individual must have been the result of evolution over hundreds of years. But why did this change have to prohibit the established practice of marriage within a Gotra ?
The answer perhaps lies in Human Social Evolution. Primitive promiscuity as it exists among the lower animals, also existed among humans to begin with. Later on came monogamous marriage. Simultaneously, with the rise in the productive power of human beings there came about accumulation of property initially in the form of cattle. The common ownership of this object of wealth made essential marriage only within members of the clan that held the wealth so as to prevents outsiders from claiming a share of it. But while this solidarity was based on the common ownership of wealth there still existed a commonality in the title to that wealth. And this commonality was first disturbed with the removal of promiscuous matriarchy which did take place with the passage of time. In matriarchy and its earlier form, promiscuity, there existed no bar on members of a clan (Gotra) whether they be the progeny of the same mother, the father not being an identifiable parent.
But with the eclipse of matriarchy and the coming of individual ownership and monogamy, the father became an identifiable parent and strains of patriarchy appeared. The ethic of matriarchal society that allowed marriage between the progeny of one mother or between paternal cousins now came to be frowned upon as these progeny were now the sons and daughters of one (identifiable) father or of one grandfather.