Changing Family Patterns In Modernized India

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There was a saying by Anita Baker that one leaves their home to seek one’s fortune and when they get it, they go home and share it with their family.

The institution of family is given the utmost importance in a country such as India. The continuous developments in its structure due to the gradual revolutionary changes in Indian socio, economic, political and cultural environment have remained the focus. We are always updated on the modernized family situations through folk culture, songs and mainly modern cinema.

The families we see today have passed through many structural changes. In the earlier days, extended families were a common site. Gradually, this horizon of acceptance extended to nuclear families. According to a renowned sociologist Talcott Parsons, the formation of nuclear families was highly influenced by industrialization and urbanization that followed after. This was mainly a European analysis. 

In India, industrialization was not followed by urbanization. Therefore, both these revolutionary changes developed separately. However, the causes of the formation of nuclear families remain the same in India as well. As a result of urbanization and industrialization, people moved out of the rural areas in search of job opportunities so as to maintain financial stability. This led to the separation of extended families and also led to lesser children in households. As extended families comprised of more than two generations living under the same roof, financial responsibilities thickened.

After a detailed look, we find that family planning is one of the main causes behind the rapid evolution of families. Parents nowadays keep a strict check on the number of children they plan on conceiving. They decide to have children according to their income and standards of living. Lesser children imply that they could pay more attention to their growth in different fields such education, extracurricular activities, emotional quotient etc and hence they choose that path. Overpopulation is a major concern; however it is not taken into account whiling conceiving in a society like ours. 

Again, there has been a change in the graph of ages that is found suitable for entering into the sacrament of the institution of marriage. This specially takes place in the economically upper sections of the population. In fact, the entire theme of family planning is popular within these sections. People from these sections are becoming more and more career-oriented and only decide to marry once they are considered to be settled. The trend of late marriages is also highly contributing to lower rates of fertility and hence lower number of children.

Apart from these two types (extended and nuclear) families, there are more types of families that are coming into the light since nearly the past decade. One new type of family to be seen nowadays is a single-parent family. These families defy the normative gender roles and have successfully come up displaying as much warmth and love as any family with two parents could show. However, they have to face a lot of backfire as this sort is usually the product of avoidance of remarriages due to the fear of having to introduce one’s child to a stranger or merely unprotected sex. 

Some other forms of family are families without children, same-sex parents having children through adoption or surrogacy. Both of these sorts of families are gaining prevalence mostly in the west. But, we could hope for India to be warming up to these ideas soon. Families constituting bachelors, unmarried and married couples with pets are other forms being welcomed with warmth in our hearts. Animals are lovely to have around in the family and are capable of giving as much love as humans and even more. When every entrusting human turns their back around on us, these beautiful creatures hold onto our hands and share our sorrows with them. 

Ultimately, we can confidently say that whatever kind of family we are in; the only category to call it a family is if it is a place of love and support. Our family should be the place where the acts of kindness and care begin. Following a terrible day; when everything reaches a conclusion; we are continually looking towards the family as a last spot of solace. Families are there to help us and help us without being critical.

Written by - Srishti Garg

Edited by – Daity Talukdar 

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