Here is an essay on ‘Family Systems in India’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Family Systems in India’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay # 1. Introduction to Family Systems:
Whatever the type of social organisation, the family is the basic unit. It is often referred to as a remarkable institution. Family is the basis of the society, which concerns itself with love, sexual relationship, marriage, reproduction, maintenance, protection, socialisation of the child and various other roles involved in kinship organisation.
The process of socialisation begins within the family with the birth of a child. The family is responsible for the child’s ultimate behavioural pattern than any other single environmental factor. In the modern civilised societies, the process of child socialisation has come to assume utmost importance. The importance of childhood and the effects of home life on personality and character formation have been widely recognised. The main reason for all this being that the family monopolises the time and experiences of the child during his formative years. The ‘WE’ feeling in the families is a helping agent in transmitting the family attitudes and sentiments in the child.
The family is also recognised as an institution for the fulfillment of sexual needs through the husband-wife relationship. In the real sense, the family is the answer to man’s sex problems. The satisfaction of sex instinct makes for normal personality. Most societies have set up rather elaborate safeguards to ensure that sexuality is kept within the bounds.
The family as one of the chief agencies of social life is also required to perform social functions. This was not always so and in some societies it is not the case today. Over the years, wherever and whenever the women have been accorded a relatively equal status, the husband-wife relationship has taken on an added meaning in terms of companionship, shared activities, satisfaction of emotional needs and other manifestations of primary group association.
The family performs a number of other functions also such as relating to protection, inheritance, property rights, morality, care of the aged and the sick, the transmission of cultural values etc.
In our Indian culture, family ties have been very strong. The joint family system has been one of the characteristics of Indian social system and its features are more or less distinctive. Prof. Carve has defined a joint family as “a group of people who generally live under one roof, who eat food cooked at one hearth, who hold property in common and who participate in common family worship and are related to each other as some particular type of kindred.”
Essay # 2. Importance of Joint Family System:
The joint family system has enjoyed the importance in the Indian social system due to the following plus points:
1. Social Insurance:
The joint family provides all the family members with a system of social insurance. In times of distress, no single member is made to bear it alone. All the family members jointly bear the calamities and problems.
2. Safety and Security Needs:
According to Maslow’s need hierarchy, safety and security are the second level needs of the human beings. These needs are met only through the joint family system.
3. Diffusion of Affection and Dependence:
In the joint family, affection as well as dependence is diffused among so many relatives that the loss of even an important member, such as a parent, is less critical than in the nuclear family system which is so small that every member plays a decisive role. Thus, joint family is a revolving system which provides a full complement of young and adult people at all times to carry out its various functions.
4. Entrepreneurial Development:
The role of family system is very crucial in the entrepreneurial development. There are some who believe that the individual is constrained and held back by the group. On the other hand, there is some evidence that, at least in the initial stages, joint family may be a useful institution in capital accumulation. In our country, the joint family system has contributed to the establishment of textile mills, steel factories and other industrial enterprises apart from trading and banking as noted by economists.
The joint family system has some negative points also such as strain in the relationship among family members, larger amount of family strains and burden on the women, less peaceful life etc. With the passage of time, the deep sense of solidarity has led to nepotism and various other abuses so that the joint family system has started to weigh heavily on the younger generation.
Over the years the joint family system is almost on the wane, though, we do come across the existence of joint families here and there. The main reasons for the change in the role of the family system are the spread of education, technological development, unmanageable size of families and the Mitakshara School of law which permits the division of property even while the parents are alive etc.
Essay # 3. Changes in Indian Family System:
The changes which have taken place in the Indian family systems can be discussed as follows:
i. Increase in Income:
Ever since independence, the income has shown a remarkable upward trend in the Indian society. Both per capita income and national income have shown a steep growth. With the increase in income, the standard of living of the people has risen considerably. Because of technological improvements, there is mass production leading to lowering of costs. Low costs and low prices increase the real income of the people. With the rise of income, the demand for almost all types of consumer goods, whether durable or non-durable has increased. Today, even the villagers and urban slum-dwellers own mopeds, scooters, watches, televisions and even refrigerators etc. Thus, increase in income transforms the families in the social structure.
In the words of Durkheem, “Education is the socialisation of younger generation. It is actually a continuous effort to impose on the child ways of seeing, feeling, action which he could not have arrived at spontaneously.”
Education has played an important role in changing the family system in our country. In India the literacy rate has increased from 18.13% in 1951 to 62% in 1997. With the acquisition of education, a person acquires high skills and is able to gain better employment opportunities than an uneducated person. Where both males and females are literate, income can be even higher. The income of the households where both males and females are literate is 58% higher than that of households with illiterate adults.
The higher incomes result in better standard of living. People start aspiring for more and more luxuries which increase the demand for manufactured goods. The level of education of masses has a large bearing on the life styles of people. That is why there is a difference in the life styles of people living in the urban areas and the rural areas.
Urban people enjoy more facilities as compared to rural people just because of their education. Now, with the spread of education in the rural areas, the standard of living of people in the villages has also started rising. In rural areas also, the people have started having cars, air conditioners, refrigerators, colour televisions etc. and in some villages people even own the personal computers. All these changes have been due to improvement in literacy rate in our country.
iii. Working Women:
In the past, the women who went out for work were always looked down. But nowadays, more and more women are coming out of households and seeking employment. The women who are employed are considered respectable in the society.
Employment is considered as an added qualification while getting married. Women now enjoy equal status with men and they supplement family income by their own earnings. The working wives affect both the ability of the families to purchase and consume. Due to increase in the number of working women the demand for consumer goods has increased to a great extent.
iv. Breaking up of Joint Family System:
Joint family system which used to be the main feature of Indian social structure has started disintegrating. Family structures have started changing from joint system to modern nuclear ones due to the changing economic scenario, existence of better employment in cities and the role of educated women as equal partners.
With this disintegration, family values and traditions are declining. The impact of grand-parents on their grand-children is only momentary and not permanent. These days younger generation is reluctant to remain under the command of elders. They want to enjoy their lives independently. People have started moving towards western culture.
With the breaking up to joint families, the nuclear families have come up. This has led to an increase in the demand for consumer durables. When there is a joint family, people own one car, one T.V., one refrigerator etc., live in the same house, but with the coming up of nuclear families, people have their own assets. This has led to an increase in demand for products having significant impact upon business.
v. Small Families:
Due to the increased literacy rate, working women, changing life styles and greater awareness, people prefer small families these days. Even the poor and uneducated people are aware of the family planning. In metros, the slogan of family planning “Hum Do Humare Do” has changed to the philosophy “Double Income, No Kids”.
People are no longer interested in producing children. As husband and wife, both are working, they hardly have any time for children. Moreover, with the breaking up of joint family system, the expenditure and responsibility of children is to be borne by the parents themselves. So they restrict the size of the families.
As small families have more income at their disposal, they enjoy better quality of life and other amenities of life. Children also enjoy a very important place. Parents want to give best education and life to their children. With the effect of advertisement on television, they themselves demand various special products, especially food and toy items. Due to this reason, demand for products like biscuits, cakes, ice creams, popcorn, chips, pizzas, burgers etc. have shown a great rise. Hence, the system of joint families affects the demand for various consumer durable as well as non-durable goods.
Due to rapid industralisation and the breaking up of joint family system, people from rural areas have started moving towards the urban areas. Statistics reveal that the rate of urban population has continuously increased over the years. Life in urban areas, exposes people to experiences and objects vastly different from those, they are exposed to in smaller towns or villages. The main among these are more opportunities for earning and the availability of a wider variety and range of products and services.
With the passage of time, the people who have come from rural areas also develop an attitude of consumption born from greater desire due to greater exposure and the ability to purchase due to higher income generated by greater opportunity to earn.
vii. Development of Rural Areas:
Along with the urban areas, there has been a lot of development in the rural areas also after independence. The green revolution and good monsoons put enormous purchasing powers in the hands of people living in villages and small towns. Most of the rural people are dependent on agriculture and agricultural income enjoys the privilege of subsidised inputs and tax free revenue.
With rise in agricultural income, level of education and standard of living of people living in villages has improved considerably. Rural markets have started competing with the urban markets for the consumer durable goods. The companies which were concentrating only on metropolitan cities have started penetrating into rural markets. Thus, with the passage of time, the gap between the rural and the urban families has started becoming less and less.
viii. Declining Impact of Religion:
Religion used to play a very important role in Indian society. It was considered that true happiness lies in spiritualism. Even Indian philosophy has laid stress on spiritual pursuits. But with the passage of time and due to impact of westernisation, people now indulge themselves more in materialistic pursuits and goods.
Everybody is after amassing wealth even through immoral means. People have become wealth conscious. Materalism infuses in people, the desire to possess more and more worldly comforts. This is one of the major reasons for the changing role of Indian family system.
ix. High Incidence of Divorce:
In modern society divorce has become a common feature. Divorce is a legal status indicating a dissolved marriage relationship. Gone are the days when marriage was considered as a sacrament. Now it is considered as a civil status which remains intact only so long as it is convenient. Divorce is no longer considered a stigma.
The most important cause of divorce is the role conflict that arises due to the working wives. When the wife becomes economically independent, it may involve a threat to the male ego. Role patterns which remained virtually unchanged for centuries were based upon the legal, social and economic activity of the male. As the wife has assumed greater power, many of the old patterns have become strained. Both husbands and wives face difficulty in agreeing on their new roles which in many cases leads to divorce.