According to a latest survey it has been found that the concept of joint family has been almost demolished in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore. What is the reason behind this? Who is to be blamed, younger generation or the older generation?
In my opinion, difference of attitude between people of different generations–leading to a lack of understanding–is the main cause behind rise of nuclear families. Both the generations don’t want to compromise with each other in case they are financially sound and not interdependent for their various needs like food, clothing and shelter for their survival.
Lack of emotional dependency between parents, their children, and spouse of the children results in nuclear families. Some scholars have argued that growing individuality amongst women is also responsible for the decline of the joint family. The young, educated women being fully conscious of their rights and status in society are not prepared to submit themselves meekly to their in-laws. As a consequence , conflicts crop up and end up in the disintegration of the joint family. In addition, woman who has got good-paying jobs seek more freedom in many respects. Therefore she doesn’t like to remain submissive under the tight grip of the joint family.
L.P. Desai and A.D. Ross have highlighted how modern education works against the joint family in two ways, one by emphasising on individualism it puts before the people, the concept of the type of the family which is contrary to the joint family system and it prepares the people for occupations which cannot be found in the native areas. As a result people get themselves separate from the ancestor family and live in areas which provide them the occupations suited to their education.
In course of time, these people lose contact with parental family. They follow a new way of living and thinking which are inimical to the joint family sentiment. The 18th century ideas of liberty and equality resulted in individualism. A tendency to consider material achievements and physical comfort as more important is also the cause of decline of joint families.
The problem of accommodation in metropolitan cities also makes it difficult to live together. A small house leads to loss of privacy and lack of adjustment and understanding among the people of both generations. Hence, they are forced to establish their separate households. People have become more and more mobile due to rapid development of the means of transport and communication which is also the cause of decrease in traditional families.
Conflicts regarding family property, its income, expenditure and unequal distribution of work at home develops in personal conflicts and lead to the breakup of joint families. Mental uneasiness in a joint family is sometimes unavoidable. Due to its large size and sometimes because of economical strains it results in a growing desire in young men and women to live far away from their families.
I have seen many senior citizens, who want to spend a peaceful life, are not comfortable in joint families due to the responsibilities of kids and household chores they have to do in order to support their working daughter-in-law. They have to compromise a lot to maintain peace and good relationship with new generation. Sometimes it doesn’t work and joint families convert into nuclear families. Both the generations start living separately to avoid personal clashes.
Joint family is based upon love and understanding between the different generations otherwise it is really horrible to live under one roof with lots of fights every day. It depends on the choice and comfort level of both the generations, what do they prefer to make them happy or to feel complete in life.