On are choosing to live in extended families.”

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Last updated: June 22, 2019

On 16thJuly 2017 your newspaper published an article about ‘why joint families aremoving back in urban India’. In your article, it is portrayed that urbanization and modernization do not break up thejoint family, nor is the joint family the inevitable form everywhere and I reallyliked your article and I believe it is an eye opener, however I would like toadd a few things to it.  The first fact thatenlightens me the most is that “Recently released government data reveals that even asfamilies are increasingly fragmenting in rural areas, more people in cities arechoosing to live in extended families.” The fact that rural India is startingto grow nuclear is claimed by many websites and articles and accordingto the 2001 census, out of 19.

31 crore rural households, 9.98 crore or 51.7%were nuclear households. In the 2011 census, the share grew to 52.1% — 12.97crore nuclear out of 24.88 crore households.

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Secondly, the fact that “Between 2001 and 2011, jointfamilies in urban India grew 29%, whereas in rural areas they rose only 2%.” isvery eye opening and shows that urban people are starting to learn thetogetherness and happiness of living in a joint family. Iagree with you because between2001 and 2011, the percentage of nuclear families as a percentage of allfamilies actually declined slightly, from 70.34% to 70.11%.

The number ofnuclear families increased in absolute terms, from 135 million in 2001 to 172million in 2011, but at a slower pace than the overall population.Thirdly the fact that “support needsfor the elderly and for children, and the need to share resources, urbanfamilies are stretching, joining and evolving.” is true because the love ofgrandparents, the mischief’s done with uncles, the food of all aunts and thebest part, the culture you gain by living in a joint family is something whichyou cannot gain from anywhere. Also, we have always learned many moralvalues in our schools, like “sharing is caring”, “health is wealth” and “thefamily that sits together, eats together and pray’s together is a happyfamily”, however we never came to knew what there meaning is, but by living ina joint family, people learn a lot of moral values and ethics.

The fourth fact that amuses me is “the fact that more women work outside thehome and children need looking after, the vulnerability of the elderly, themutual support offered by a big family are all reasons to stay together in thecity”. Working mothers are the ones whogo out of the house for the idea of earning income and also maintain householderrands. The trend of being a homemaker is now changing with the change andneed of the time. Every single woman at home prefers to work in order tobalance the financial and the other basic needs of the family. In thesesituations, a joint family gives the most support to these mothers.

The final fact “many workers alsomigrate in pairs, says Irudaya Rajan, demographer and associate professor atthe Centre for Development Studies.” is very interesting as internal migrants represented 30percent of India’s population in 2001. But this number is misleadingly large:two-thirds were migrants within districts, and more than half were womenmigrating for marriage. This clearly means that more and more women are movingfrom rural to urban to make families and livelihoods and therefore clearlymeans marrying into families which are joint and turning them into much morelarger families and keep increasing the giant family tree.

However,there are many drawbacks of a joint family, as you stated, “There aredisadvantages, like the greater need to adjust or the absence of freedom (likejust walking out to get dinner outside, without a stated reason),” .Very muchtrue, Somefamily members don’t feel secure in a joint family as all members canshare all the resources & sometimes personal things, so here someonedoesn’t have the privacy to something. This may lead to separation from theirparents. Also, living in a joint family,you may have lack of leadership and decision making qualities as head ofthe family will decide and does all the important decisions. So there is veryless scope of development of individual leadership and decision makingqualities.

At the end I would like to share a quote, “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happynow. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in thefuture. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’sat work or with your family.

Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”- EarlNightingale.

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