2020-10-30T18:58:18

Tokal: Kazakh women who seek to become second wives

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Some see it as normal matrimony that's blessed by God, others as a mutually beneficial marriage of convenience. Even though polygamy is technically illegal in Kazakhstan, having more than one wife is a widespread practice among the rich, They see it as a right enshrined in the Koran and will often decide to take an extra wife, a tokal, without consulting the first. Usually a younger woman, a Tokal is expected to bear children for her older husband, a capability that the older first wife may have lost. Kenishebk Satoy dreams of having more than 30 children. To accomplish that, he plans to take several wives. He already has two but is constantly searching for more tokal candidates. Rimma Tazhibaeva lost her husband and was left unsupported to raise three children; she opted to become a tokal so she'd have a man to take care of her family. When mother of three Altynai Ormanova was told that a pregnant tokal would be living in her home, she chose to end the marriage rather than share her husband with another woman. Author Ayan Kudakova explores this controversial topic and tries to determine whether a polygamous marriage can also be a happy one or two or more!

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