Question – If there is any force that makes the heart of traditional Indian society harmoniously persistent, which has woven the tapestry of our rich, social fabric replete with diversity for centuries, – is our family system. Substantiate this statement with suitable examples. – 1 April
- In Indian society, the family is an institution in itself and also a distinctive symbol of the collective culture of India since ancient times.
- The joint family system, or an extended family, has been an important feature of Indian culture, until a mixture of urbanization and Western influence began to affect the home and the hearth. This is especially true for urban areas, where nuclear / isolated families have become the custom. There is no denying the fact that, socio-economic factors have played their role in weakening the joint family system.
- The current lifestyle is severely damaging the important role played by joint or extended family systems in the preservation of cultural values, traditions and customs, Although, the Indian people are in a special position due to the implication of ‘Vasudhaiva – Kutumbakam’ in the D.N.A. It is our duty to transfer our collective ancient knowledge to our succeeding generations.
- Clearly, the joint family system and nuclear families – both have advantages and demerits, so today’s youth probably think that they are stuck between two conflicting worlds and can be confused at times. Nevertheless, the family system has played an important role in upliftment, individually and collectively.
Distinguishing features of family
- Universality: Family is found in every stage of society and everywhere. Without family, no society is possible.
- Emotional basis: There should be an emotional connection – love, affection, sympathy, cooperation. If there is no such basis then the family breaks up.
- Central position in society: Family is a primary group and fundamental unit of society. It is the primary cell of society. Society is an aggregation of families.
- Sense of responsibility: The function of the family is to meet the economic needs of the children. It is the responsibility of the parents to look after the children of the family.
- Social control: Family is a mechanism of social control. If you follow well then you are praised otherwise you are punished. This makes you feel that, you should belong to the good and, when you grow up you belong to the good of the society.
Benefits of joint families:
- One of the main advantages of the joint family system is that it builds strong relationships between siblings and other family members while providing a sense of security in children.
- It is believed that children, who grow up in an extended family with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, will imbibe the qualities of sharing, caring, empathy and understanding. This may not always happen in the case of children who grow up in a nuclear / solitary family, although this cannot be generalized.
- Connectivity and good nature, which are the basic elements of joint family, positively affect the emotional intelligence of children.
- Family values play an important role in shaping people’s attitudes. Respect and care for elders are one of the core principles in the Indian family system. Generally, in India, the elderly are seen as a source of knowledge and intelligence.
- The division of the joint family into smaller units has not arisen due to people not giving importance to this traditional structure, but circumstances have made the need to divide the family.
- Through the care of the elders, the undesirable and antisocial tendency of the youth is checked and they are prevented from wandering. They learn to self-control.
It promotes great qualities such as sacrifice, affection, companionship, sense of selflessness, pervasiveness among its members and makes the family an ideal of social virtues.