In societies where marriage is nearly universal, and the fertility process is almost entirely through marital union, the factors associated with the occurrence of marriage, and through it the reproduction and rearing of children, need to be continuously assessed. Except for prohibited relationships, marriages between close and distant relations, as well as between those not related have been practiced among the muslims. The high incidence of close kin marriages (consanguineous marriages),t including those with first cousins, is a well-known feature of a muslim society. Marriages between close relatives are not only practiced by muslims but also by the people of many other religious. affiliations. Within the South Asian subcontinent, besides muslims, christians and other communities, consanguineous marriages have also been practiced by hindus, especially in the south Indian states, and in the central state of Maharashtra. In the northern states of India the prohibition on such marriages is more strictly enforced.2 In the south Indian state of Andhra a high proportion of maternal uncle-niece in addition to cross-cousin marriages (especially among maternal cross-cousins) have been in a high propor……….