Because of the influence of European civilization joint family system has been looked down upon by the educated elite in India. The younger group in the society is fast growing materialistic and considers the old moral values as stale and unhealthy.
Materialism brings in the natural phenomenon of selfishness. In the male dominated society the greatest casualty is woman. It is rather strange that although generation gap is more prominent in India yet in tormenting women folk the two generations join hands. It all distorts the amiable atmosphere of a family.
In European countries women, after centuries of exploitation have started playing a different role. As “the institution of marriage is on the decline and divorce on the increase” a large number of women in Europe have started living alone. They avoid matrimony. They feel that they can have the responsibility of motherhood alone—even outside marriage.
Single motherhood is replacing two-parent family. Births without marriage show that many couples reject the traditional values. They live together, have children but do not believe in nuptial ties. Both are free to leave the nest.
By now it was the male who dominated the society (He still does). But now women have taken to wings. Having children is a natural course for women. But having husbands is not necessary. The girls would like to have a freedom of their own. They have fewer children, but start a family later in their late twenties.
The women have started asserting that “it takes two to run a happy family. It is the turn of men now to realize their emotional responsibility to the family as well.” Apparently it all seems breaking the chains the women were tied with. They have a right to breathe fresh healthy air.
The women should have freedom from the slavery of man—no one would refute. But the view “We are a bit weighed down by centuries of answerability” expressed by European woman professional does not suit well. It means the women want to be free from answerability i.e. their responsibility of begetting children, rearing them up and sharing responsiblity of the family.
102 countries formed coordinating committees in the nineties to usher in an era of bringing back the role of family. The view taken by the United Nations is that “the transition from traditional to modern society is characterized by a profound transformation in family and community life, perhaps for the worst.”
Families have been breaking because of ‘severe assault by war, political conflict, haphazard industrial strategies, rapid urbanisation, crime, violence and government policies that pay little heed to integrity of families.’ The view of the UN is that “by forging links between communities’ families deepen understanding”.
According to Boutros Boutros Ghali, the former Secretary General of UN “In the change and confusion of the modern world families can help bridge ethnic and political divide… By creating a wide pool of human and financial resources families encourage economic progress. And by caring for family members and learning positive social behavior together social welfare is encouraged.
After this frank acceptance of the role of family in the social, economic and political field we, in India, should revitalize the Institution of family in this country. Instead of aping the west we should guide them that family does not enhance only the social, economic and political growth, it is a moral force too. Running a family requires the essential spirit of cooperation, perseverance and tolerance.
The Indian family system can prove a flashing ray of hope in the devastating world culture that is shrouded by sex, violence and disintegration. Let the world realize that the disintegration of family has given rise to a licentious society that is fast falling in the jaws of AIDS. The dragon may swallow the whole human life. India too has fallen a prey to it. Let us fall back upon the traditional moral values of a family life.