oping with all problems - big and small on our own as we are unable to afford the privilegeof sharing and downloading worries on someone (other than spouse) whom we feel closeand connected to. This has led to increase in several problems in the society like depression,suicides and heart disorders due to highly stressed lives.
Missing out on celebrations and festivities that binds us to our culture and gives us a senseof being at home. This is more relevant to those living out of the country.
Having difficulty in passing on the cultural values to our children.
ultural values are learntand taught by seeing them in action.
Facing great difficulty in even passing on our own language to the next generation. (this ismore applicable for those who have moved out of the country.)
Islam and the Family System
Islam is the Final religion and has the most ideal Shari `ah (revealed law). An unbiased observer cannot help admiring the equilibrium which it has achieved balancing the demands of body andspirit, providing guidance concerning life in this world as well as teachings concerning life in thehereafter. It is the Leading Light which brightly illuminates every turning in the highway of human life. It is the Perfect Shari `ah which did not leave any human need uncared for. In so far as family-life goes, we see that Islam has unraveled every problem of the family system withsuch dexterity that one has to accept that it could not be solved in a better way.
In any family there are those persons without whom a family cannot be regarded as complete. Ahuman being is born of a father and a mother; the parents look after the child and bring it up.This child in turn attains maturity and is joined to a spouse in the golden link of matrimony.Then this couple start their own family. Thus we may say that the persons who form pillars of the family are father, mother, child, husband and wife.Some people need help in their domesticchores. Therefore, Islam has added the `servant' also in the list.
Joint Family and Separate Family Systems
According to sociologists, there are two types of family systems in the world: ³The Joint FamilySystem´ and ³The Separate Family System´.
Joint Family System:
This system implies that all members of a clan:- father, son, brother, sister, uncle, nephew etc.,live together. The in come of the individual is not treated as his personal property, rather it belongs to the family and the expenses of all members are met by that `family income.'
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- Status, issues and solutions
In Pakistan, the very first question that is raised after knowing that a girl is getting married is always, “Is she going to a joint family or a nuclear family system?”
Yes, because people in Pakistan consider this to be a really big issue not only for the husband and wife but also for their upcoming family and children.
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s the joint family system was considered better than an independent or a nuclear family system by the majority. But as the time changed, the new generation turned smart and grew up having the confidence that they are supposed to be independent and would not entertain anyone’s interference in their personal lives. Both the system either joint family or nuclear family have their benefits and flaws, but we are going to discuss what are the disadvantages in a joint family system when you are living in Pakistan.
Unlike the west, it has been a trend since forever in Pakistan for a girl to live with her parents-in-law after marriage. It’s not that the couples back in ‘80s always had a good experience of the joint family system, but it’s a fact that they were innocent and they valued their customs and respected their relationships more than their egos.
Disadvantages of joint family system in Pakistan
Nowadays couples desire to live their independent lives or at least they don’t feel like having too much interference from anyone be it parents or siblings. Some of the main reasons why a joint family system is not an option in Pakistan are:
Head of the family
In a joint family, there is always a head of the family who is considered to be the “Karta Dharta” of the family. You must share all the ups and downs of your life with him otherwise you’d be considered a rebel or a self-contained member of the family.
Sounds funny, right?
The parents or the head follow the old norms and customs while the younger members of the family want to live their lives according to the new century so here starts the so-called war between the “bahu” and the parents in law. As I mentioned today’s generation always prefers being independent and they do not want to consider anyone when it comes to their personal lives. The girl or the daughter-in-law deems to be under estimated while the parents who always have been considered the “monarch” of the family feels offended by the behavior of the new entry in the house.
Unfortunately, the most common lacking element in the joint family system is the privacy of the couple which irritates more than anything. The every single bit of your relationship is out in the open before your family.
The comparison game
You have kids studying in a government school or a middle-class school? Oh, well my kids are studying in the top school in the city!
Yes, this is what happens in a joint family. Starting from your dressing sense, and your living style to the way your kids talk, eat, sleep, study, etc!
Every single thing is compared to your sisters (Jethanis and Dewranis) which creates an inferiority complex in the parents and even in children.
I need to get all the attention of the family members especially the head of the family so I would be the only eye-candy of the family and no one else. This thought urges to plot conspiracies against the family members.
Well, I am not joking at all! There is always a villain character in the family whose primary focus is always to try and grab all the opportunity to torture and take advantage of another innocent member of the family.
It is sometimes emotionally draining as there are higher risks of getting involved in pointless arguments based on misinterpretation or envy amongst family members.
Conflict in opinions
Just because you are saying this, doesn’t mean I have to agree with it too. Right?
Every human being is free to have a personal opinion regarding any particular issue. But, if you are living in a joint family system you have to agree with the view of the senior members of the family otherwise it means you are the only apple of discord in the family.
The higher earning member of the family tends to have higher priority as compared to the one with the lower income which develops distance between the members and again the comparison and competition begins.
It’s my birthday party, and I am inviting my friends, but oh wait! If you are not inviting the in-laws of your phuppo, who are almost dead.
Here begins the brawl and your party are spoiled already.
The younger members of the family have to bear all the workload always because they must respect the senior members and stop arguing.
Not all the time but most of the time you are forced to live in a limited space in a joint family it may be a portion or even a single room which is quite irritating and feels like being isolated in your own home.
You always witness kitty fights in a joint family system. Taunting each other all day long and sometimes getting into some serious arguments and regretting being married to this family. Funny again?
(To be continued….)
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Waqas A Khan
Waqas A Khan is a PhD scholar and a Fellow of International Centre for Journalists in Washington, DC, USA. He can be reached on Twitter at: @wakhanlive, and on his website: www.khanwaqas.com