Discuss the structural and functional changes of the Indian joint family system.
According to Iravati Karve, a traditional Indian joint family is described as a group of people living under a common roof, who eat food cooked in a common hearth, who hold property in common, who participate in common worship and are related to each other by some particular type of kinship. Urbanization and industrialization have led to the breaking of the joint family.
Structural and functional changes in the Indian joint family are as follows :
Smaller family sizes: The traditional large-sized joint family which was also a socio-economic unit, has been replaced by small-sized nuclear families.
Change in the relationship between man and woman: Women are no longer considered as inferior to men, but they enjoy equal status. They are no longer subjected to drudgery and slavery as in the past and have equal say in all matters.
Laxity in sexual relationships: The traditional rigid rule regarding sexual relationships are no longer valid. This is the main reason behind cases of illegitimate relationships and extramarital affairs coming up.
Economic independence of women: Women are no longer confined to the four walls of a house, but rather they are working shoulder to shoulder with men.
Neo-Local Residence: As a result of industrialization and urbanization more and more younger married couples set up their residence in the place of their work. A neo-local residence is, therefore, coming to existence more and more.
Functional Jointness: The married sons who have set independent households continue to maintain their connection with their joint families in their native places. Some of them continue to fulfill their obligations to their parents and siblings. But the ties between the neo-local residence and distance kin are very weak.
Legal reforms: Legal reforms that have taken place have helped to bring in changes in the attitude of the larger society towards the women and their treatment in the private as well as in the public sphere.