The word "family" comes from the Latin word "familia", which means household. This was truly applicable to a joint family in India. Living together under the same roof with grandparents, their sons and grandsons, with their wives and children, is indeed a unique experience, especially in Indian villages. The earnings of every adult member go into a common fund or pool out of which all expenditure is incurred.
The final authority in family matters is the grandfather, but the grandmother has authority over all the younger women in the family. There was extended kinship in the real sense of the word. Family ties were close and highly commendable.
There is a common kitchen and there is no question of even newly married couples having separate arrangements for cooking and eating food. The parental hold on the children was remarkable; defiance of elders was unthinkable. There was total and genuine respect for all elders, and firm discipline was maintained.
Joint families, like the autonomous village community and the caste system, were distinctive features of the Indian social structure for centuries. Since all the members were joint sharers in the common property of the family, inheritance was by survivorship and the principle of primogeniture, the eldest son succeeding to the property of his father on the latter's demise.
Women seldom enjoyed equality of status. In fact, they were all too preoccupied with domestic duties and chores to think of rights and privileges.
But the joint family system has been rapidly breaking up in India as a result of the increasing individualistic and independent attitudes of grown-up children. In a joint family there is no scope for individual initiative or enterprise. My experience has been that there is far too much of suppression, implicit, blind obedience to the eldest member's dictates, even when these commands are irrational, biased and discriminative in nature and impact.
A joint family allows for no argument, dissent or discussion; it is all command on one side and obedience on the other. Disobedience is almost unimaginable. There is seldom any case of a rebel, defiant child.
After marriage, I found that we had all to eat what was cooked in the common family kitchen, whether the food was according to our taste or not. In fact in no aspect of life was there individual freedom. Personal choice in any matter was virtually ruled out.
It all amounted to a silent, rigid life. The women had hardly any liberty to move out of the house or dress as they pleased, or to establish friendship with other women of their age group. The social inhibitions were many personal liberties few.
The caste system further imposed social restrictions. Every member, male or female, was bound by the customs, traditions and culture to which the elders were habituated.
Little wonders that there was no opportunity for the development of individual personality. Life was dull and boring; there was no variety, which is rightly regarded as the spice of life. Nor was everyone happy and contented though the system had perforce to be accepted as inevitable, as if ordained by God.
There certainly was social and economic security for all members. No member of the joint family, elder and youngster, had to bother about food and shelter—problems which cause a great deal of worry to people who are living separately and entirely on their own limited resources.
Expenditure on illness also came from the common kitty. But this didn't ensure happiness always. Each couple in olden times had a fairly large number of children, the belief being that there would be shelter and food for every additional pair of hands. The fires of the common kitchen would be kept burning all the day through. The feeding system was very much like the community kitchen.
As compared to the busy, crowded joint family establishment in sprawling though old-fashioned, badly ventilated and congested ancestral mansions, the small, separate homes of couples choosing to live away from their parents often look like "empty shells" when both husband and wife are away to work.
Under the traditional joint family system, women were never allowed to take up employment elsewhere, though many of them worked on the families jointly owned farm, small or big. But in modern times, women, both before and after marriage, take up employment in offices and factories to supplement the family income.
In joint families there was no incentive for supplementing the parents' or husband’s not income; nor was there any eagerness to maintain or enhance the standard of living.
In the joint family one had to suffer silently; no voices were raised and no protests were made. Joint families are wholly unsuitable for modern social and economic conditions. As was inevitable, the system has broken up in most places under the mounting modern pressures of various types. There are very few exceptions of joint families now, and even these may not last long.
Joint family is the big part of the life; no one can live without the prosperous of their family. Everyone needs the family support due to any problem. When family comes together, then nobody can break it from togetherness. Everyone wants live with that family who helps in any problem at every walk of life.
“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow not promised & today is short.”
A joint family is an undivided family. Many members involve in the joint family where such as the one generation live together in an ordinary house.
A joint family is that family where some persons are living with together such as grandparents, father, mother, and children under the one roof.
A form of the joint family system in the mind of a member for example:
- Some members of the joint family share the some common rights in the household property.
- In the joint family, some members living with the expectation of making some financial contribution to the common fund.
- All homemakers of the joint family made the food in the shared kitchen.
- Family members make their daily expenditure from the ordinary family funds.
In some of the joint family such sons never get distant after marriage from their family, he lives together with their wife and children among the another family member on the one roof.
Generally, in the every joint family the subhead is the eldest member of the household. They restrict to the whole member by their power and functions. That chairman of the family is a trustee. He handled the economic and social decisions on behalf of the family.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of the joint family.
Advantage of joint family
The family always supports to the each and every family members. Whenever any problem is situated, then rarely other people helps, but family always supports each and other family members.
When the family is lives together, then in every festival creates so much pleasure and brings much happiness. Every moment of any festivals like Holi, Diwali, etc. people enjoys so much when they spent more time together and every movement of life.
Every family has the mutual adjustment and understanding. Naturally, those who are benefited by the generosity of others remain obliged and grateful.
Helps to better study of the children
In the big family, their kids study in the group according to their age matching. Naturally, the cousin’s study together, play together, quarrel together and even punished together.
Understanding during marriages
In marriages also the grooms for marriageable girls become a concern for all the elders in the family. Even if a daughter of a junior brother selected by someone because of her beauty or brilliance, he would not agree to her marriage until her senior cousin sister is married.
Minimum subsistence of the living
The necessities of all the family members taken care. Each member is guaranteed the lowest subsistence for the living.
The subjects in a joint family are self-imposed on its members. The head of the big family almost becomes its patriarch. The family prospers squarely if the patriarch and the other constituents observe the norms soundly and healthily.
The joint family system is the finally prevails the spirit of oneness.
Disadvantages of the joint family
There are different types of the disadvantages of the joint family, which is following such as:
Misbehavior in the partners
The misbehaviors’ of the partners in the joint family exploits the goodness and principled. It happens to only the income of the household.
Some of the joint family have many types of crook members, who exploits to the other innocent member of the household and also do the torture to them.
Money value among members
Almost, many people have this mentality to low that individuals who have little earned. High earning members often insults the small receiving members.
Burden in the joint family
The cost of education has gone up high. The high earning members often want their children to study in costly schools, but they don’t want to share the burden of the sons of the other officers of the family.
To great families, most of the important decisions made by the head of the household. Since all the individuals within the family don’t get the opportunity to participate in the main decisions of the family, they often feel lost or develop a feeling of inferiority complex.
The family is better than nuclear family due to the above advantages. But young generations are moving to towns and metro cities for searching of jobs, and then they live there. Due to space crunch in their home, income level and other reasons they can’t live with their parents, grandparents, etc.
The separation of families was evident in the joint families themselves. It happens when feelings of generosity, charity, and fellow-feeling not balanced by high moral line, character, and farsightedness. Joint family can be run successfully if the members remain committed to each other. The feeling of togetherness and selflessness is the essence of joint family.