Joint Family Advantages Essay
Following is the merits or advantages joint family.
1) Cradle of social virtues:
Joint family is like a nursery to teach social virtues. It helps to develop social virtues like co-operation, sympathy, sacrifice, affection, spirit of selfless service, obedience and broadminded.
2) Insurance against olds:
Joint Family Acts as insurance for the members of the family at the time of crisis. It provides social security to its members especially to the old, the infirm, the unemployed persons, the orphans, the widowed daughters and sisters as well as the physical and mentally handicapped among them. For all such persons the joint family acts as an insurance company.
3) Division of labour:
In a joint family each member is given work according to his or her capacity. The men, women and children all have to work. For example, in a peasant joint family all the members work actively according to their ability. The old persons and children of the family watch the crops in the field. During the harvest season, the women in some families help in harvesting. This there is no need of procuring labour from outside the family.
4) Socialism in Wealth:
According to Sir Henry Maine joint family is like a co-operative society with the father as the trustee. Every member in the joint family works conforming to the well established socialist formula; each works according to his or her ability and gets according to his or her needs.
5) Avoids fragmentation of land:
Joint family avoids the evils or fragmentation of land by holding the property in common. Joint family is almost like a joint-stock company.
6) An agency of social control:
Another advantage of joint family is that it acts as an agency of social control. In joint family there is a close supervision over the anti-social and unsocial activities of the young member.
7) Opportunity for leisure:
Joint family affords ample leisure to its members. Both the male and female members divide the household works and finish it in a short time spending the rest of the day in leisure. They never feel over burdened.
8) Money saving device:
Joint family is advantageous from the economic viewpoint. This system helps in securing economy in expenditure. Since things are consumed in a large quantity they can be obtained at cheap rate. A large family can be maintained within a small means if it lives jointly.
A joint family is a group of persons, who are related to one another and who share a common roof, common religion and common property. All the working members of the family pool together their resources and hand them over to a common head who is usually the eldest member of the family. The head of the family looks after the general welfare of the entire family. Any member who brings in extra income does not get preferential treatment. Thus, the joint family actually puts into practice the idea of Karl Marx “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability”. It is socialistic in nature.
The joint family system is the characteristic feature of agricultural societies. They have existed in countries like India and China whose economy has been based on agriculture. Collective living, collective farming and collective share in the family wealth are the traditional features of the joint families. The joint family guards the immovable property, held jointly by its members, from fragmentation. Land is the main source of income. The joint family members collectively work to derive benefit from the produce of the land.
The jointly possessed land keeps the joint family free from want. Its property is safe under the care of the head of the family. He uses the joint income for its maintenance, marriages, religious ceremonies, education, and treatment in sickness of its members and for other useful purposes. It preserves the traditions, customs and manners handed down to it. Traditional culture and the skill in arts and crafts are safeguarded from generation to generation. There is division of labour where all the members attend to the work assigned to them and contribute to the well being of the family.
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A joint family provides an ideal setting for cultivation of virtues. The very foundation of joint family is based on co-operation and unselfishness. Children are taught from a very young age itself the virtues of discipline, respect, patience and good values. There is no concept like mine or yours in a Joint family. Everything has to be shared. It can thus rightly be called a nursery of virtues.
One of the most terrible prospects being faced by men living in nuclear families is a feeling of insecurity. They may feel insecure about their jobs or of the prospect of having to live in old age homes as their children no longer want them. This feeling of insecurity is absent in a joint family where the unemployed, aged, the sick and the handicapped are well looked after. There is a sense of social security, and old age and sickness are not looked upon with dread or fear.
In a nuclear family, a working mother is like a superwoman, who tries her best to maintain a balance between work and household chores. At the same time she tries to be a good mother and a good wife. This eventually leads to exhaustion and frustration. In a joint family, however, there is ample scope for division of labour. A woman can go for work without any worries. There is always somebody present at home who is willing to look after the children or do the cooking. Everybody can find some occupation or the other in a joint family. Living together in such a large family also entails economies of scale to the members. All the available resources can be utilized to the maximum which is not possible in nuclear families.
In the present modern social structure, the joint family has lost its usefulness. The coparcenaries property of the joint family is meant for the use of the family only and its capital is seldom used for commercial and industrial enterprises. This has proved a big hindrance to individual initiative and enterprise.
We have seen the joint family as an ideal family system with a number of advantages. In reality however, when many people of different mentalities and dispositions live under one common roof, jealousies, quarrels, misunderstandings, favoritism and resentment are bound to arise. This is because most people of average mentality are selfish. They have a tendency to emphasize their rights and ignore their duties. When this kind of attitude prevails amongst members of a joint family, the climate becomes unfavorable for peace and harmony.
It has lost its efficiency and self-sufficiency. Most of the articles required for the civilized rural family do not come from the field, nor are they manufactured at home. Everything has to be bought from the market. The purchasing power of the joint family has diminished.
Under modern living conditions, a sense of individualism has grown among the members of the joint family. Obedience and respect to the elder’s m the family is often disregarded. The ancient joint family was based on Mitakhsara law, which was particularly harsh on women. According to this law, women could not inherit property. They could claim only maintenance. The unmarried and widowed sisters were generally at the mercy of their elder brother. Their happiness depended also on the goodwill of their sister-in-law.
The transmission of skill in the family profession from generation to generation was regarded as one of the advantages of joint family system. But today technical skill is acquired in all professional fields by training in technical institutions. The scope for artisans in the professional joint families to work and live in industrial cities has not only depopulated the village, but also has tarnished the prestige and dignity of such joint families.
The members of the joint family living in cities are hastening the partition of the joint family property and ringing its death knell.
With many changes in the political, social and economic spheres, the Hindu joint family seems to be outmoded for modern times; joint property goes hand in hand with the joint family. When the joint family property is divided, naturally the joint family disintegrates.
The modern means of communication and the new trend of urbanizing rural areas have brought new ideas and a new society has grown-up which has close touch with the cities which offer all the comforts and joys of sophisticated life. This has brought about the disintegration of the joint family.
The feeling of social security present in a joint family often makes many of its members lazy and idle. Hard work is seldom rewarded and idleness seldom punished. Hence, members lose their initiative to work and fall prey to vices like irresponsibility, indolence, laziness and hypocrisy.
There is also a lack of dynamism in a joint family system. There is a resistance to new customs and progressive ideas of youngsters by the older generation. Ancient customs and traditions are forced upon the youth in a dictatorial manner. Lack of privacy and individual freedom are also major drawbacks in a joint family. Success in a joint family, ultimately depends upon the degree of adaptability shown by its members.