Family does not consist of a man alone. The family is a biological phenomena based on sex and parental functions. In every known human society, however the family is elaborated into a cultural organization, that it is surrounded by rules and rituals.
The family is the first and most fundamental of all human associations and is as old as human creation itself. It formed the earliest bond of unity and provided the basis of social structure of early society. Ogburn and Nimkoff define, “Family as a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without children or of a man or woman alone, with children.” The sex and parental functions are distinctive features of the family.
The joint family system is the most important features of our social system. Here in India, the family does not consist of the husband, wife and children only. On the other hand parents, grandparents, uncles, their sons and daughters, sons and daughters, all live together. Family is the social, economic, religious and political unit of our society. It is cooperative institution just like Joint Stock Company; with common fund.
There is a Karta, the eldest living male member, who is the head of family. The family property is held in common. The family is also joint in respect of food and worship. Individual income and income of the joint property is under the control of the Karta of the family.
Thus joint family has a common fund out of which the necessaties of all members are satisfied. The Karta of the joint family controls the immoral and unsocial acts of the members of the family. The main characteristic of the joint family system is that the earning members have got the equal rights of food, shelter, cloth etc. and all members have got equal right to inherit the parental property.
1. It protects the widows, weak and aged members of the family. Widows are properly taken care of and the old and the infirm are maintained. Joint family is the most beautifully organized association in which the members proivde mutual help to each other in the time of misery and despair.
2. It renders living economical. Since many people live together, the cost of living becomes low for each. In joint family all the house-holds things are purchased on large scale, so there is economy in purchase also.
3. It makes the subdivision of property unnecessary. Under the Hindu law, all sons get equal shares in their father’s property. But since all of them live together, there is no necessity for partitioning the ancestral property. Thus much friction between brothers and waste are avoided.
4. There is no partition of property. So the Karta commands high social influence. He can get capital at less interest for productive purposes. Again the members work cooperatively for the production. So they have not to pay to servants as wages. As a result of all these the production is large and profits also increases.
5. The family has been called the cradle of civil virtues and child learns its earlist lesson of citizenship on the lap of his mother. His parents sacrifice their comforts and endure all sorts of difficulties and hardship to provide him with the amenities of life and save him from trouble and pain.
From this the child learns. Sacrifice of his own, selflessness and loves his father and mother. In joint family, the child comes in touch with the people of various natures. As a result the personality of a child develops nicely.
6. It tends to develop the virtue of self-discipline, the spirit of self-sacrifice and mutual dependence among members. The Karta of the family controls the immoral and unsocial acts of the members of the family.
1. Joint family system encourages idleness. When everyone knows, that as members of a joint family, he will be supported by others, he may not try to earn his livelihood. The incentive to work is absent. The members of such family become irresponsible, indolent, and stay-at-home in habit.
2. It is the source of quarrel in the family. Members who earn many feel mcuh discontent because they have to support many dependents.
3. It is not favourable to large accumulation of capital. When one has to share ones income with large family, it is not possible to save much.
4. The burden of a large family makes man unwilling to assume risk. Hence it stands in the way of large scale production.