Friday, September 3, 2010

Vasudevam Kutumbakam

The title of my blogpost means that whole world is a family.India is a country where family is the basic unit of a society .
The generation which was born just after Independence somehow lost its belief in the joint family system. I think this generation broke out of the system in the hope of immense freedom.
The one and only major gain that I see from the 'nuclear family' system is the opportunity it provides us to create an identity of our own - something we as human beings crave for and are born for.
On the loss side there are several –
• One is physically far removed from the family members and as a result can fall easy prey to various psycho somatic diseases such as depression, trauma etc.
• Stresses in bringing up one’s children only relying on child care centers.
• Coping with all problems - big and small on our own.
• Missing out on celebrations and festivities that binds us to our culture and gives us a sense of being at home. This is more relevant to those living out of the country.
• Having difficulty in passing on the cultural values to our children. Cultural values are learnt and taught by seeing them in action.
The Law in India, for tax purposes, has a more exacting name for 'joint families': the Hindu Undivided Family. The head of the family, called the karta, is whoever the eldest male member of the family is. All the brothers, their wives and their children live together. Sure, the sleeping quarters of the husband and the wife and their infants are usually separate but what distinguishes a "Hindu Undivided Family" is the common kitchen.
In a true joint family, the earnings of all members go into a common pool. And the Karta has sole authority over that earning. Sure, each family member can draw from the family's resources, but it is at the will of the "head of the family".
Living in a joint family should be fun as at least one third of the days in the year would be a "birthday feast" for someone or the other. Add to that the marriage anniversaries and the religious festivals and you've got a suitable occasion to celebrate life pretty much everyday!
Having said so much about the merits of a Joint family system it is wise to accept that it’s a bit difficult to sustain among such a motley crowd of people around you. To live life peacefully you have to sacrifice and compromise and adjust with people around you since “no man can live in an island journeying through life alone”. Besides I think sacrifice reaps rewards in much excess to what has been forgone. And adjustments are to be done even when you are living in a nuclear family setup .So here are some guidelines one can follow while living in a joint family setup.
Basic principles of living in a Joint family:
1. Every member sees that others get the best and most of resources. Each person himself asks for the least, and last.
2. All are willing to endure to relieve the others' burdens.
3. No one owns anything. Each is a trustee for the joint family, extended family, society and the nation.
4. Everyone's voice and opinion has value and importance.
5. Everyone's conduct is such that intentions can never be questioned. This includes honoring the traditions and fulfilling spoken and unspoken expectations of the extended family.

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