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Karewa (करेवा) is the practice of Widow marriage which was very much in vogue in Jats in the past.

Variants of name

Widow marriage is known by different names in different regions:

Ancient custom

Karewa is the ancient custom of marital alliance with the widow of one’s brother, which kept the Jats distinctly from the Brahminical social order.

Widow marriage practice

Widow marriage is not only permitted and practiced but is also a social obligation. One year after the death of her husband the widow is asked in the presence other and her late husband's near relatives, whether she would like to remarry and so, with whom. Her choice is expected to be limited to the brothers or first cousins of her late husband. The boy, thus chosen, is obliged, by custom a tradition to accept. Widows with children and those past their youth do not normally remarry. The burden of their support is however automatically taken on by the nearest relatives of the deceased.

The young and childless widows invariably remarry and are encouraged and even persuaded to remarry even when they don't feel inclined to do so in their state of emotional disturbance.

Widow marriage in other communities

Widows are looked upon with sympathy and not despised as evil beings as is done amongst Rajputs, Brahmins and Baniyas. That is the main reason why a Jatni is never heard of as a prostitute. It is incomprehensible how such a humane custom was ever selected by the Brahmins as the main reason for branding the Jats as irreligious and low. It is not only a very civilized custom but is also fully in keeping with the dictates of the Shastras.

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