We in India take pride in our old age traditions and culture of family bonding; joint family. Indian culture thrived on family bonding. Once a relationship was formed, it was for life. The strong family bonds continue even now, though the cities have seen a shift from joint to nuclear families.
Children are generally moving out of parental home for reasons of profession and also to a large extent, after marriage, in search of independence. Cases of separation/ divorce are on the increase. The elders, somehow, blame it on the increasing effect of western culture, but that may not be the main reason at all.
The joint families had a major advantage of emotional, physical and financial support available within the family. Whenever there was a problem the entire family used to revolve around to help resolve the issue. The work load was equitably distributed between all family members. However, as the families grew bigger the requirements increased, specially of the space, living and work space both. Thus, the need to move to alternate places emerged. Job opportunities was a major reason of young adults moving base from rural to urban centers.
Role of mothers….
Though the males apparently were the patriarchs in the family but in reality, the families revolved around the mothers, the ladies. It is the ladies who took care of the family, brought up children, helped maintained family bonding. Was, emotional support and love the only reasons for the family bonding, the reason for marriage to last till death interfered? Well, at the face of it, appeared so. However, in reality the reasons may be beyond emotions. In Indian families, girls, since ages, have been brought up with a mindset that their main role in life is to take care of the family, bring up children. The ladies were supposed to stay in home and only men folk were supposed to go out and work.
The changing status of girls….
Girls were generally groomed to be homely, not actually empowered to have a professional career. Rather the girls were discouraged from pursuing a job. Situation in rural areas or towns have still not changed much where girls are groomed with the mindset that they require the support of the man to survive. They were married at the earliest possible age.
Since the girls were not empowered to face the world, to be independent, they were forced to accept whatever life came their way after marriage. Even if the lady was not happy with her life routine, after marriage, she generally endured it all because of the fear of survival, if marriage broke. The parents forced/ convinced the girls to make compromises/ adjust.
Now, the modern-day girls in cities and to some extent in small towns are educated and longing to have a professional career. They are sure of themselves and don’t feel the need of a man to survive. Even boys want to move out of the shadows of elders to grow on their own strength. An educated, empowered girl/ boy will not take nonsense from anyone. Even husbands don’t like to see their wives being humiliated by elders in the name of culture and traditions. These are the main reasons giving rise to nuclear families, forcing young adults to leave the parental homes.
There is a flip side to it; even small difference in opinion at times grow into major issues, as there are no elders around to help resolve the problems. When both, husband and wife are working, the child suffers to an extent. They are not able to give the child the attention he deserves.
A change in mindset, which encourages independence under the same roof, is required, if family bonding have to foster. Parents have to change their outlook. Even the youngsters have to evolve and understand their responsibility towards parents and family as a whole.
“Profession may force a child to stay away from parents, but the emotions can’t be allowed to die”
Developing and sustaining Relationships…
Good morning Sir,
Thought provoking blog Sir
I am a firm beliver of joint family but same time i endorse your views that females should be given more freedom and a greater say in family matters .there should me more tolerance towards each other small pity issues shouldn’t be allowed to become a major issue.
Joint family system is lost somewhere, specially in bigger cities like Mumbai.
Yes…you are right..the joint family system is actually on its way out…the new norm will be nuclear family…which is coming in..
Yes. We are moving towards western culture and they are moving toward ours.
Yes ..and the two cultures meet midway😊
A very well analysed and well written article with deep insights sir. The nuclear family system is here to stay despite its fallouts and probably in times to come we may even find a majority of boys and girls living alone without marriage or any kind of commitment for the sake of individuality. Whatever may be the present or future…. I do miss those big family gatherings and those nostalgic moments we had back in 80s.
That’s right Lalit…change is a constant..and I think nuclear families and single livings are requirements of the time…nothing wrong..but yes the emotional connect should always be there and reasons found for a family get-together periodically…
God bless you 🙏