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Joint family system – a dying tradition

Updated on August 30, 2016

Shahida Sarwat is from Pakistan married to my friend Syed Fozial from Mumbai India. Shahida Sarwat – Shahida Bhabhi use to write a regular column ‘from Shahida’s Diary’ in our Newsletter “The Desert Times”.

Currently she is living in Malaysia with hubby Fozial and two sons.

By: Shahida Sarwat

The joint family system is a system in which all the family members live under one roof. Living in a joint family can be a great fun if all the members work with mutual understanding and cooperation. There is no doubt in the fact that nothing is better than one’s own family, to provide emotional satisfaction, love and happiness. But nowadays 80% of the people prefer nuclear family system. There are so many advantages of a joint family system, but on the other hand there are a few disadvantages too.

Shahida Sarwat with her hubby Syed Fozail
Shahida Sarwat with her hubby Syed Fozail | Source

Many Advantages of Joint Family System

First let us talk about the advantages. A newly married girl, who doesn’t know much about the household chores, will have her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law around her who can help her in learning the chores. As when my elder Bhabhi came to our home, at that time she did not know much about cooking. My mother trained her to become a very good cook. In the same way when a girl is bearing her first child, the joint family would be of great help both for the mother and the child. For growing children it is a best place, because these are so many people who can watch out their activities, similarly working mothers can get a lot of support if they are living in a joint family.

In Karachi when I was in my job, I came in contact with three married ladies. Two of them were leading nuclear family life while and the third one was living in a joint family. I never saw the first two ladies in a relaxed mood, all the time they were complaining about the negligence towards house and children. The financial matter also came up in the discussion, these two ladies always complaint about the difficulties they had to face in coping with the expenses despite both members were earning. The third lady on the other hand appeared to be relaxed without any financial or household tension. This was because she had people at home who were taking care of responsibilities. As per her statement her in-laws were cooperative and all the household chores are shared by different members with no one being over burdened.

The third lady on the other hand appeared to be relaxed without any financial or household tension. This was because she had people at home who were taking care of responsibilities.

Family Support

I have seen in Karachi many nuclear families living without any identity of their own, despite their hard work and efforts. The same I have observed in Bombay (now it is called Mumbai) also.

Great business tycoons like Ahmeds, Habibs, Tawakkal and Tabanis etc. of Pakistan have come up because of the backing of their families. All the members of the family like uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters-in-law work in group and handle the family business. The best advantage of a joint family is that one will have their elders with them who can guide and advise them with wise suggestions, as they are more experienced.

An extended family in Spain
An extended family in Spain | Source

Disadvantages of Joint Family System

There are some disadvantages too in the joint family system. The biggest one is that no one can get much privacy especially newly married couples feel disturbed in a joint family. The second one is that no one can get all the wishes fulfilled all the time. One has to learn to compromise with the other members. If there is no understanding among the members, there can be frequent quarrels. But the disadvantages as compared to advantages are few and can be rectified. So many problems of day-to-day life can be resolved if we live in a joint family, which functions smoothly. Here are some key words for a prosperous joint family: Cooperation, Common Goal, Obeying of opinion and suggestion of elders, sharing of responsibilities, nobody should be greedy and over-ambitious, equal treatment to all members, respect of elders.

Before I stopped my pen I must while that we should not copy the so called tradition free societies of the west instead of our joint family system – a symbol of our tradition and culture which teaches us to move along with our elders and youngsters.

A young girl meanders home at the hand of her grandmother. Although changing in urban areas, in rural India, the traditional multi-generational extended family still predominates.
A young girl meanders home at the hand of her grandmother. Although changing in urban areas, in rural India, the traditional multi-generational extended family still predominates. | Source

Which Family System do you live?

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