Even as we are living in 21st century, sex in India is still largely considered a taboo topic and is only discussed behind closed doors.
Even public display of love and affection like in Western countries are looked down.
However, the Murias, an indigenous tribe in Chhattisgarh, practice vastly different attitudes towards sex and sexuality.
The Muria tribe follows a unique ritual ‘Ghotul’ – a commune or dormitory, meant to create an environment for Muria youths and girls to get acquainted with their sex.
As per their tradition, the ritual involves young men and women spending time at the commune or the ghotul, where they take part in singing, dancing and exploring their sexuality. Good food and local toddy are also a part of the ritual with older members helping guide the younger members in sexual practices if required.
The custom, in fact, gets its name from the structure of the commune which has walls of bamboo and clay and a thatched roof, situated in the centre of the tribal hamlet with other dwellings surrounding it. The commune is divided into two unequal parts – the courtyard and the ‘parchhi’.
The ritual begins at dusk when men (Cheliks) and women (Motiaris) assemble at the Ghotul in all their finery. Married men play the drums. Food and locally made toddy are made available in plenty. The youth sing and dance; play games and tease each other. Girls groom themselves. They give erotic oil massages to the boys.
As the night extends, a boy and a girl, who have mutually consented to be with each other, enter the Ghotul’s dormitory, which they share with other couples. The adults leave, and the couples spend the night together, either talking or indulging in sexual activity.
Partners can be switched, and that’s no big deal. Youths in the age group of–18 for girls and 21 for boys can take part in the ritual.
A couple can talk to each other till they decide to tie the knot. And while the practice may seem like sexual freedom to some, the truth is that the ritual has its own rules. The girl and the boy are required to change their names once they join the Ghotul. A couple can talk to each other till they decide to tie the knot. But for sexual intercourse, they get only seven days.
After seven days, they have to either marry the person or look for another partner. Total freedom is given to choose one’s partner. At the end of these chances, the couple picks a partner. The decision announced by the boy by placing a flower in the girl’s hair, with the girl’s permission.