A joint family is a large undivided family where more than one generation live together in a common house . In that type of family system , grand-parents , father , mother , uncles , aunts and children are unitedly live under one roof . The eldest male member is the head of the family and all the social and economic decisions are taken by him on behalf of the family.
Some common characteristics of joint family system are :-
1. Large size
2. Every member is expected to contribute some money in common fund.
3. Share common rights in household property.
4. One kitchen system.
5. Make their daily expenditure from common fund.
6. One worship place.
In pre-industrial era, joint family was the tradition of India. The concept of nuclear family came into existence in India, when Indian society shifts from agrarian to industrial. Due to industrialization & urbanization, young generations are moving to town and metro city for searching of job. Due to their advanced life style they no longer want to live jointly with their parents & grandparents, they often feel shy to stay in joint family & ultimately settle there. And in this way, young generations are turning away from the joint family system.
With the advent of modernization, a new form of extended family system has arisen in Indian society, which has replaced the traditional joint family, it does not demand geographical proximity or occupational involvement and does not have a hierarchical authority structure. But this new form encourages frequent visits, financial assistance, aids and support in child care and household chores, and involvement & participation in life cycle system such as birth, marriage, death & festival celebration. In modern extended Joint family system, decisions are also taken democratically, grandparents still have a lot of authority & influence, but not like a Karta relationship of past. Presently, this type of joint family system is mostly preferred and continues to prevail in modern India.
IMPORTANCE & VALUES OF JOINT FAMILY :-
* Equal sharing of work & expenses :- In joint family system , work & expenses are equally distributed to each family members , so the burden of work will not be felt by any one .
* Best child care :- The ideal place for upbringing of children is joint family . All children get equal share of love & care , guidance & education by the elder & grand parents . Joint family system is beneficial for working parents also. Because, both the husband & wife adopt profession outside the family, they don’t have time to look after their children, then the children remain with their grand parents, they do not feel lonely & emotionally insecure.
* Social security :- It provides proper care & social security to the old , widowed , physically weak & disabled family member .
* Financial assistance :- In joint family , there is a unwritten rule that people from high income share responsibility of others who are not so economically solvent . At the time of emergency, one can get help and support from any other.
* Economy in expenditure: – Savings are possible in joint family since the house hold purchases are done jointly. It avoids unnecessary expenditure of spare house hold establishment, thus money can be saved.
* Provide leisure: – Since the work is shared by all the members on the basis of age, sex & experience , they finish the work with limited time & get more time for leisure .
I feel glad that my upbringing was in a joint family. Presently we are staying separate but we still have strong family bonding. We are separated but not from mind, whenever it becomes necessary, we get united. I often miss those cherishable moments, those fun & enjoyment in my life.
Though joint family has some disadvantages, but eventually I can say, joint family is much better. But one thing should be kept in mind that every member should have co-operative mentality. Feeling of togetherness and co-cooperativeness is the essence of joint family .