Strong family ties and social interdependence have always been the essence of Indian families. Most Indians take pride and nurture their family life to a great extent. However the recent socio-political and economic changes have had a huge impact on individuals and families. The Indian joint family system that was prevalent a few years back has lost its hold. Though most families have a nuclear set up most educated and modern families have still maintained the intrinsic values of family life in India.
Family ties are important to Indians. Arranged marriages within the caste system are still prevalent all over the country. The traditional role of a man to support the family financially and the conventional role of a woman to look after the house can be seen in rural landscape. Working women which are now a norm in urban India are expected to fulfill domestic responsibilities and pitch in financially if they can.
An Indian family generally consists of a man, his wife, their children, the husband’s parents and unmarried sisters, if any. The man mostly makes his parents live with him and looks after them. The family system is given a lot of importance in the country and has worked more often than not. Till date most Indian marriages are arranged and held within the community. Generally, the parents of the prospective spouses get together either through a common relative or through a matchmaker. Most Indians get together with their family and celebrate Indian festivals like diwali, holi, navratri with great enthusiasm and joy.
Most Indian families are conservative and prefer sons over their daughters. They believe that sons will earn money for the family and support their parents when they grow old. Despite this belief Indian family life has its own merits. Within a family there is emotional security and co-operation that makes life a lot simpler.
However, the downside of having a strong family life is that individual freedom gets restrained. Most couples feel that with parents living with them they have very little privacy and space. With economic independence and the trend of aping the West the Indian family is being exposed to fast paced lifestyles that are taxing and breaking the social institution of joint family. Indian families and their mental set up are unprepared to confront the competitive and challenging world of today. Most young Indians face a dilemma when exposed to a new pattern of living and a different set of values in comparison with those which they have seen and witnessed all these years.
The rigid Indian family system is imbibed in the culture of India and though changes are taking place, they are happening at a slow pace. It will require many decades for Indians to change their living patterns.