Bharatiya culture is thought to be the world’s oldest, dating back 5,000 years. Because India is primarily a Hindu country, Bharatiya culture is synonymous with Hindu culture. This culture is so revered that it is referred to in ancient Sanskrit literature as ‘Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara.’ Means the first and the supreme culture in the world. The best of all Vedic philosophies have been distinctively incorporated into Indian culture, and they continue to be relevant in the world today.
Since ancient times, the family has been an institution in Indian society and a typical symbol of India’s collectivist culture. The joint family system or extended family was an important feature of Indian culture until urbanisation and western influence began to have an impact on home and hearth.
This is especially true in cities, where nuclear families have become the norm. There is no denying that socioeconomic (Industrialization, Urbanisation and Migration) factors have contributed to the dilution of the joint family system.
Changing scenario in today’s world
Various sociologists have confirmed in their studies over the years that the rise of nuclear families in India— made up of a couple and their unmarried children — is consistent with rapid urbanization. According to the 2001 census, 9.98 crore or 51.7% of the 19.31 crore households were nuclear households. In the 2011 census, the share increased to 52.1%, with 12.97 crore nuclear households.
Currently, there are 24.88 crore households. However, the proportion of nuclear households in urban areas is decreasing. Nuclear families have fallen from 54.3% of urban households in 2001 to 52.3% of all urban households today. In contrast, the proportion of nuclear families has increased from 50.7% to 52.1% in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the proportion of joint families in India has decreased significantly, from 19.1% (3.69 crore) to 16.1% (4 crore). The drop in rural India was sharper, from 20.1% to 16.8%, than in urban India, where it fell from 16.5% to 14.6%. As a result, the declining share of urban nuclear families can be attributed to both increased migration and a lack of housing.
We are witnessing a new concept of live in relationship rising very quickly instead of marriage, divorce cases on the rise, bonding, caring, and sharing declining rapidly, rise in alcohol consumption, tobacco in various forms, and drug abuse even though prices are rising exponentially.
The live-in relationship is actually a contract of selfishness and satisfying a false ego that tries to demonstrate how much freedom we have and how independent we are. There is no love bonding, only sexual attraction. When the sexual attraction fades, hatred, distrust, mental instability, fighting, drug abuse, separation, and disinterest in life follow.
Though the nuclear family has given a false sense of independence, the reality is that women are mostly suffering. The rise in mental diseases such as depression and anxiety, the increase in divorce cases that negatively impact self and children, drug abuse, becoming entrapped in love Jihad, and the loss of great Bharatiya culture and heritage. The increase in orphanages is also due to the breakdown of the family system.
During the Vedic period, Indian women had equal status with men in all aspects of life, but they lost their position and dignity after the Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent, which brought purdah to Indian society. In modern India, things are changing quickly. Over the millennia, the status of women in India has undergone numerous significant changes. Women’s rights are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, specifically equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination; additionally, India has various statutes governing women’s rights.
Divorce was not a practice in Hindu dharma until the late 1950s, However, divorce rates in India are increasing. Divorce rates in cities are much higher. In India, women initiate roughly 80% of divorces. Opinions differ on what the phenomenon means: for traditionalists, rising numbers foreshadow societal breakdown; for some modernists, they herald a healthy new empowerment for women.
Why marriage system is important?
Marriage is not just a system in which two partners of opposite sex come together, but rather a conscious effort to bring two partners together with a bond of love for social and cultural integrity. Marriage is not just for sexual activity or reproduction, though in terms of biological concept, for species continuity reproduction is required, but the couple also carries and continues great cultural heritage from parents and forefathers, which is very important for social bonding, integrity, and for a cultured and well mannered society. Marriage ensures the continuity of family and social values, as well as the upbringing of new generations in a value-based system.
Importance of Joint family system
Today, we have a generation of people who, after growing up in a joint family system, have decided to separate and start a nuclear family. When personal thinking began to take precedence in society, the generation that broke away from the old joint family system did so.
Children who grow up in an extended family not only learn tolerance, patience, and a democratic attitude of accepting other people’s points of view, but they also develop a sportsman’s spirit while playing with siblings and cousins.
The family system is the source of many ancient traditions, customs, and ways of life. The family system, in fact, sows the seeds of social cohesion and democratic thinking. The family cares for the elderly, widows, unmarried adults, and the disabled, helps during times of unemployment, and provides security and a sense of support and togetherness.
Many types of research claim that the importance they place on the joint family system is the reason why Indians are proving to be a prosperous lot around the world. Working together to solve a problem faced by one or more members of the joint family works wonders in keeping one tension-free, happy, and content even in today’s highly competitive environment.
In a particular professional field, an Indian may be a top corporate executive, a great sportsperson, a movie actor, and so on, but all of these accomplishments are relegated to the backseat when at home. Socialisation is the process of becoming an acceptable member of society. It is frequently stated that “home” is the first school, and the mother is the first teacher.
A child learns norms such as cleanliness, eating habits, and so on from his family members. Values are instilled in a person by his family. Individuals’ values can be defined as strongly held beliefs. Family instils values such as respect for elders, helping children, love and affection for one another, and so on.
A person’s personality is heavily influenced by his or her family. Individual behaviour reflects their personality. For example, overindulging children may cause them to be stubborn and egoistic. If, on the other hand, family members show concern for others, a child learns this behaviour and displays it in his behaviour.
Another important value that is emphasized is prayer. Every action is an offering, and this bhava or attitude enables us to do things in a spirit of supplication to the almighty while also maintaining a degree of detachment from everything because we believe the Lord is the real doer and we are merely his instruments.
These are the values that our forefathers passed down to us in order for us to live stress-free lives. Even mundane daily activities like cooking and eating are sanctified when we do them with surrender. There are slokas for every action, such as bathing, cooking, eating, and so on. Our lives eventually become a beautiful offering.
It’s time to reflect and reconsider that money, power, and fame cannot guarantee you peace, happiness, and a joyful social life, but the proven great Bharatiya culture and family system can.
Writer – Pankaj Jagannath Jayswal