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In this true "Kingdom of Women", the female presence is visible, unavoidable even. In Shillong, they are everywhere on the front lines: in banks, schools and even in parliament.
They are the ones who sell meat or cigarettes behind tiny street stalls, and the ones who sell vegetables or fruit on the side of the road. Men most often meet each other playing cards or rocking a baby while accompanying another child to school.
But this ancestral model of society could well falter: among the Khasi, men are not necessarily satisfied with their fate and have begun to rebel.
A movement for the liberation of men was launched a few years ago – it is called Symbai Rimbai Tong Hai. It demands property rights for male children and a greater role for men in the family. “We find it unfair that women have all the power and we have none. We have no role to play except to feed our babies and change their diapers. I have friends who were so frustrated that they started drinking and taking drugs. We want to feel useful to society. After all, we have rights too”; some men in the community are now protesting.
Will the Khasi, this rare bastion of women's power in India, resist this surge in activism?