Monday, 20 August 2012

Rare Spectacle of Complex a Joint Family

Karnataka: 135 members of 750-year-old dynasty live under one roof

Mangalore: In an era of nuclear families, the complex joint family at Vittal
Aramane's (palace) is a rare spectacle. The size of this extended family,
which consists of 135 members, ensures that there is never a dull moment in
the 30-room building. The families, who have separate kitchens, get together
on festive occasions. The practice of a matrilineal system in the family
where a girl marries her mother's brother has prevented descendants from
leaving the fold.

Besides, an adoption process started by Ravivarma Narasimha Raja, that left
10 children as his successors between 1873-1934, was another reason for the
descendants residing together and becoming a unique example of a complex
joint family. Further, owing to a genetic trait, most of the family members
are less than five feet tall. This has made them shy and reluctant to mingle
with the outside world.

The inmates of the one-storey Vittal Aramane, living as commoners, are
actually descendants of the royal Arasu dynasty, which has a history of 750
years, making it more ancient than Wodeyar dynasty. Descendants of the
dynasty, Janardana Varma Arasa (79) the oldest living member of the family,
and Nanda Varma Arasa said the dynasty was known not for its wars but for
Karnataka: 135 members of 750-year-old dynasty live under one roof

Historians like the late Ganapathi Rao Aigal, B A Salethore and Gururaja
Bhat had highlighted the wars waged by Hyder Ali against Vittal in 1768 and
Tipu Sultan in 1784 but there is not a single instance of Vittal kings
declaring war.

Two stone pillars are the only relics of a magnificent palace burnt down by
Tipu's army. The present Vittal Aramane, located 150 metres from these
remains, was built in 1800.

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