Joint family matters

The joint family today is in the doldrums. Young people are very independent and resent interference of any kind. Our living for the past few years has totally been changed. Our contact with the west led to considerable distortion of the characteristics of the joint family. The English system of education and social norms emphasized the individual rights and liberties, commended competition and stressed the need for privacy.

Today, the educated strata of our society are the most uncompromising critics of the joint family. They feel that it curbs creativity and the sprit of independence, inhibits aspirations for achievement and mobility. That dampens the desire to move out of restricted circles and to explore and to innovate. Industrialization and urbanization created greater mobility. As such, many people were tempted to move away from the traditional families and started living in other towns to earn their livelihood in occupations other than ancestral. Thus, the joint family lost its viability under the socio-economic strains and stress.

For a healthy life in the joint family system, proper coordination is necessary at every step. The love and togetherness that exists in some joint families are wonderful to see.

The older generation derives immense satisfaction from the fact that they have their children’s love and support. The young couples do not have to bother about their child or anything since the grandparents are there to do the needful. Since expenses are shared, living for each family becomes cheaper. The traditional family was community in itself. It functioned on the basis: “one for all and all for one,” providing its member with their physical, cultural and economic needs apart from social security. The nuclear family has not yet proved that it has the strength to meet the economic, moral and social challenges that we face. It has to recognize that enthusiasts of the individual pattern of life can seldom achieve harmony.

Breaking out of a joint family and starting a nuclear family is easy. But, with the passage of time, one realizes what a boon a joint family is! The modern youth should realize that they too will have to pass through such situations when they become old. So, they should learn to adjust themselves and live on good terms availing of all the advantage of a joint family.