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Analyze the trends of change and continuity in the matrimonial and family system in India.

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Question – Analyze the trends of change and continuity in the matrimonial and family system in India. To what extent is globalization responsible for these changes? 21 March 2022

AnswerThe family system can be seen as an economic provision, as an emotional basis to satisfy needs, as an influential group, and as a means of social regulation. An important feature of the Indian family system is the existence of the joint family system. It exhibits characteristics such as vastness in size, joint property ownership, shared residence, practice of shared religion, etc.

In a tradition-oriented society, marriage is such a religious and social institution that along with giving any woman and man the right to live together, it also provides some important duties to both. Different types of marriages are largely followed in our country. As society has advanced, marriage has gone through various changes, while some things remain constant. Even the values ​​associated with it have undergone an unprecedented change.

Change and continuity in marriage and family system in India and effect of globalization:

Changes in Family System

  • Globalization has led to greater mobility of people, and greater interaction between people of different cultures, thereby affecting the values and culture of the people. For example, “live-in relationships” in metro cities are a new trend in pre-marriage, so that better decisions can be taken while choosing a partner.
  • Increasing mobility of younger generation in search of new employment and educational opportunities has weakened the family relations. This has affected the earlier idealized notion of ‘family’, as the caring and nurturing unit for children, the sick and elderly. It has also led to increase in female headed family units in rural areas, because males often migrate in search of work.
  • Younger generation, particularly those with higher education and jobs, no longer believe in sacrificing individual interest to family interests. This is reflected in changes in marriage system.
  • Since women are now more educated and financially independent, they have an important role in household decisions. Here the impact of globalization can be seen in the form of flourishing of IT related jobs. Women constitute a major part of this sector. Well-employed women in urban areas face increasing pressure to handle the double duty of household chores along with earning a livelihood.
  • Marital relations and parent-child relations- Married men and women are living separately in different places because of their employment. Single parents are also found in the society. There has been a remarkable change not only in the marital relationship but also in the parent-child relationship. In most working couple families, parents are unable to devote time to meet and interact with their children, as night shifts are common in BPO, KPO and call center jobs.

Changes in Marriage system

  • Selection of life partner: Earlier it was the prerogative of the parents or guardians. Under the influence of liberal values, individuals have begun to choose their own mates according to their likes and dislikes.
  • A new trend is emerging in the process of partner selection in which social media dating sites are being widely used to find compatible partners.
  • Marriage is not compulsory: some men and women do not believe in ancient religious values, and therefore do not consider marriage necessary. Earlier marriage was considered a duty for a man to lead a full life.
  • Inter-caste marriages: In the past, inter-caste marriages were prohibited. Now it is legally permitted. Co-education, female education and the growth of the democratic ideal of equality and liberty are considered strong factors of inter-caste matrimony.
  • Change in the Purpose of Marriage: The main object of Hindu marriage was religion. In recent years, there has been a change in the order of the purposes of marriage, with individuals marrying as a search for a sensible mate to satisfy physical and emotional needs.
  • Provisions for Divorce: The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 introduced a significant change in the institution of Hindu marriage by allowing divorce in certain circumstances.

Despite the above changes some things are still stable like:

  • Marriage among Hindus is not merely a social contract. It is still a sacrament for Hindus. Mutual loyalty and devotion to the partner are considered the essence of marriage even today.
  • Social evils like child marriage, dowry system, and domestic violence are still prevalent.
  • Marriages in India are still regarded (especially in urban India) as a phenomenon reflecting the social status of families. Joyous firing and unnecessary extravagance are often seen in lavish weddings in India.
  • The LGBTQ community, divorcees, single mothers, etc., are still viewed as low in society.

To cope up with the changes brought by globlisation and other changes, it is the responsibility of every citizen to impart with our Indian Value system to our young ones & kids the importance of Indian culture, joint family and its values so that our next generations may be saved from some negative effects of globalization while at the same time benefit from positive values of modernization.

It can be concluded that every step towards economic, political and cultural modernization taken by the state in India should be responded by the people with an increased sense of self-consciousness and awareness of identity.

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