By Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Family is the most important social institution that helps a lot in shaping the personality of an individual. Without family, it is quite impossible that a true personality is made. The family has a long history. That is why its importance has never been underestimated. After wandering for thousands of years, a man settled at a particular place and began to live a social life. He began to recognize other persons like him. He made relations with different people and among themselves (his father, mother, sister, brother). Slowly and steadily, they began to know the importance of living together. With this recognition, came the concept of family.
Family totally was a new experience for him. He now began to feel secure among his family members. His emotional maturity began to develop. He began to love human beings. In this way, the glorious revolution came in the society when the foundation of the family was laid.
Now, all the fears were the things of the past. There was something to look at in the times of despair. There was no aloneness. There was sharing and caring. So, a different mindset was prepared for future generations. The man kept embarking on this path for quite a long time. But suddenly this journey came to halt. The family system lost its way somewhere.
If we want to know the causes of this degradation, the first cause that comes in our minds is that it is a mad race for materialism that has made it possible. The lust for money has made it possible that a person only is about money.
Moreover, the joint family system came to a stop. It was not like a bolt from the blue. It was the rot of many decades that came to the surface. There are many causes responsible for this. This bond of love and care should not have broken. But the reality is that it has broken into innumerable pieces. So, let us know about some basic causes.
If we want to know the causes of this degradation, the first cause that comes in our minds is that it is a mad race for materialism that has made it possible. The lust for money has made it possible that a person only is about money. In the past, a single-member used to earn while others used to be depended upon him or her. But in the present times when the conditions become awry, the members who don’t earn are looked down upon. They are humiliated.
Let us hope that the family system in particular and the joint family system, in general, is revived. We are social human beings. We should live side by side. Living in a community is beneficial. I am ready to love my joint family.
They, if being intellectually efficient, are sidelined because they don’t have money in their pockets. In this way, the bond of love and affection becomes the soft target of materialism. The result is that the happy-living families are disintegrated into a number of nuclear families, with no sign of being a family. The second cause responsible for this is that imitation has become the order of the day. We look at others and follow them blindly. In movies and dramas, we come across people abandoning the joint families and preferring to live in nuclear families. In this way, the structure of the joint families crumbles every day.
The third cause responsible for this is the modern age. The modern age has provided us with every comfort. Diseases are cured but it has given rise to a different type of division of labour. Now, both father and a mother go to work. Children are sent to schools. The new lifestyle has become common everywhere. In this way, a nuclear family is preferred over a joint family.
The fourth cause responsible for this is that old people are understood as a useless burden. They are only fed and washed. In this way, the joint family systems are broken into many nuclear families. The old parents, who have nurtured their children in the best possible manner, are thrown out to others’ hands. In our village, a mother has become a burden for two sons. She has been living with her daughter for two years. It is a collective shame for us. She says,
“I did what I could for my children, particularly the two sons. Now, they don’t want me. They call me a useless burden. My basic needs are unfulfilled. I crave for my sons’ faces. They hardly come to me. They want me to die. I am fed up with this life. I want to die. I cannot tolerate this humiliation.” The fifth cause responsible for this is that we have no counsellors who can teach those persons who always are ready to live in a nuclear family. If they had been here, I think the situation would not have come to such impasse.
At the time of intense conflicts in a family, anger and revenge prevail. After some time, there only is regret. At this situation, expert counsellors can prove fruitful. They can advise them that it is bad to split into a number of families, for petty things or issues. The sixth and the last cause responsible for this according to my opinion is that we have lost touch with the actual world. As we have not been able to understand the real motive of life, we feel suffocated. We are misfits in society. The result is that we don’t want anyone to come near to us. We want to live in isolation. In this manner, the whole concept of family has come to standstill. Let us hope that the family system in particular and the joint family system, in general, is revived. We are social human beings. We should live side by side. Living in a community is beneficial. I am ready to love my joint family. I feel secure. I love my family members. I go through ups and downs of life. But I still am hopeful in a joint family.