UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS SYLLABUS
PAPER-II – INDIAN SOCIETY : STRUCTURE AND CHANGE – Part B – Social Structure
(v) Systems of Kinship in India:
(a) Lineage and descent in India.
(b) Types of kinship systems.
(c) Family and marriage in India.
(d) Household dimensions of the family.
(e) Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour.
- Traditionally, family system in India has been understood in terms of joint family system. In various religious scriptures, family and marriage is considered essential for fulfillment of
- It is considered as one of the stages of life – viz – Grihastha Ashrama – where procreation and sexual gratification are considered as essential functions.
- Indological view of the Hindu family is property holding and shraadh performing unit.
IS JOINT FAMILY THE MOST COMMON TYPE ?
- The biggest difference in family organisation is based upon caste, occupation and economic status. The large undivided joint households were usually found among the wealthy upper castes, who found it useful to stay together in a large household with supportive resources like a large house and many servants. It was functional for the management of large estates and businesses.
- On the contrary the lower castes and poorer sections of the people rarely have enough resources to form joint households. Also their meagre earnings do not permit the setting up of larger units. If the family lives at subsistence level the daily earnings or food does not permit any accumulation or cannot be shared among large number of members, it is each to his own in such a situation. Similar situation is found among the tribal populations where the joint household is almost unknown. Thus the projection of the majority of families in India being joint is only a upper caste, class and an ideal depiction.
- Joint family is also seen in terms of desirability and undesirability. It is viewed as desirable as it provides economic security, provides economic placement, provides social security, helps in upbringing of children, sharing of burden, provides emotional support, provides status to individual in a traditional society, acts as a unit of economic activity and consumption, performs socialization function, performs religious rites and rituals and so on. However, it is also accused of killing individual’s initiative, promoting patriarchy, making members docile, hinders mobility and so on.
HOUSEHOLD DIMENSION OF FAMILY
- The basic household in India is called a ‘chullah’ or ghar.
- In the formation of the simple household, the terms “children”, “father” and “mother” also include all step children and adopted children, step mothers and adoptive mothers and step father and adoptive fathers so that in reality a simple family may at times be a ‘compound family’.
- The actual power structure of the household may also vary. Thus widowed mothers may play a considerable significant role in the affairs of their sons even though by the rules of patriliny the son inherits the father’s status. Similarly the role of women as wives and daughters may also be significant in certain situations.
- The increasing commercialization of the economy and the development of the infrastructure of the modern state have introduced a significant change in the family structure in India.
- India’s fertility rate has fallen, and couples have begun to bear children at a later age. At the same time, life expectancy has increased, resulting in more elderly people who need care. All of these changes are taking place in the context of increased urbanization, which is separating children from elders and contributing disintegration of family-based support systems..
- A substantial increase in the proportions never married, among both males and females, at young ages, has been noted in many countries.
- A considerable proportion of unions are disrupted suddenly for reasons such as desertion, separation or divorce.
- Parsons argues that modern industrial society has led to the growth of what he calls “isolated nuclear family”. This family is structurally isolated as it does not form an integral part of the wider kinship group.
- Modernity is witnessing the emergence of same-sex couples (LGBT relationship), cohabitation or live-in relations, single-parent households, a large chunk of divorced living alone or with their children.