The Seed-Saving Farmers Who Pass Down Land to Their Daughters
Meghalaya, Jan 8: At sunset, Bibiana Ranee sets out to gather wild edibles for dinner from the surrounding forest. She returns with bright bunches of greens. Jarainand jali are washed, sliced, sauteed, and served with a hearty pork stew, with raw tree tomato on the side. Ranee, 54, is proud of her ancestral roots: She’s a member of the Khasi tribe, which nestles high in the mountains of Meghalaya, a state in northeast India. All three major tribes of Meghalaya—Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia—are matrilineal. Children take the surname of the mother’s clan and girls inherit traditional lands—the youngest daughter typically receiving the largest share.