Draupadi, heroine of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, was married to the five Pandava brothers. The highs and lows of her relations with five warrior husbands lend the famous epic a special charm. But today, a new breed of Draupadis is mushrooming across India's richest province, Punjab, where several brothers can share a wife. Sociologists have even coined a new term for it - fraternal polyandry - and the practice is widespread in prosperous Punjab. There are only 793 women for every 1,000 men - the lowest female-male ratio among Indian states - due to rampant female abortion and infanticide. The federal government's National Commission for Women has expressed concern about the degrading treatment of women involved in fraternal polyandry. Last month commission chairwoman Girija Vyas said: 'Just imagine the mental, physical and moral trauma of the women forced to have sex regularly with up to seven brothers. It's rapidly spreading in Punjab. And what's worse, Punjabi society seems to tolerate it.' Gurpreet, a 32-year-old woman in Punjab's Mansa district, says: 'Two years ago I got married to the eldest of three brothers. After I had a son, my husband forced me to enter into a physical relationship with his younger brothers, one of whom is only 16. 'My husband says there are no girls left in the village to marry. So I must compromise with the situation, which I have against my wishes. I don't have a choice.' Polyandry is illegal under the Indian Penal Code and Hindu Marriage Act, but authorities say it is almost impossible to crack down because such marriages are never officially formalised.