How should India save its family values?

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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A lot of people on this forum as well as others form part of RW and most of us agree on individual freedom. But individual freedom extracts its cost and probably India would not like to repeat the mistakes of other developed nations if possible. Going down the path of brash individualism and consumerism, the west is suffering from the problems like small birth rates, divorce, single parents etc. A lot of money in the economy goes into wasteful expenditures of sorting out family feuds.

The way I see the problems with loss of family values:
- High divorce rates
- Low birth rates
- Single parent households leading to adverse effect on kids
- Expenditure on wasteful activities to settle family feuds
- Low savings rate because each individual takes care of himself

I am not sure the list is exhaustive. But there are many problems with this lifestyle. Also, going down this path and subverting family values, allows govt. to walk into our living rooms through various policies in the garb of supporting single women or kids. This forces govt. to become more socialist and engage in even more wasteful expenditures and more taxation. Thus people start voting again through their stomach rather than their heads.

So the question is- how can India defend its family values and still be individualistic? How can we manage a healthy RW and at the same time stay close to our cultural ethos?

I will quote below a discussion between @Bangalorean and me on another thread to give you a flavour of the problem. We want to reconcile free market system and still have a moralistic society.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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As I said, I don't know.

Having grandparents as part of our family is one solutions. Both parents will go to work but grandparents will still be a check on kids as they would still need a room to do stuff. And then you can have all the morality talk backing this infrastructural nightmare instead of explicitly promoting "My choice" style videos by Padukones.
Coincidentally, I have heard from 3 different sets of "grandmothers" in the last 3 months, how they felt insulted and angry when they were in the US with their son. They complained of being treated like an "Ayah" or "free maid".

And with nuclear families today, how is this going to pan out?I don't think this is a practical solution.
Protecting the joint family structure is one way to keep our values alive. It also makes economic sense because young can save more if they have family inheritance and do not need to take loan for everything.

I totally understand how some young people treat their parents and specially those who live abroad and only call their parents when they are having a new baby.

But just because some people complained does not mean we should let go our joint family system. Going from nuclear to single mothers do not take that long.
Let's take a small survey with a small sample size. How many people in urban areas do you know of, who live in joint families? Not talking about rural areas of course. I am talking of people in the new economy - IT, ITeS, finance and banking, etc.

Do you, for example, stay in a joint family? IIRC you are an NRI. If you are unmarried, you will probably marry eventually and take your wife to France. When you do your return to India, you will get a job in Mumbai or Chennai, let's say. The interesting question is, will your parents be willing to be uprooted from their current location/lifestyle and live with you in a crammed matchbox like apartment in Central Mumbai? Will THEY be willing to let go of their circle of friends and relatives and acquaintances and shift lock, stock and barrel to an unknown place with an unknown language?

I want to consider whether it is really practical. Today, jobs are in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, etc. Will the masses of Indian youth be able to stay behind in their villages?

I am not just trying to argue for the sake of it. I am trying to find a practical way forward - as I mentioned, a sort of roadmap/manifest for the RW.
I know many north Indians who live in Bangalore but can easily find a job in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. I know many who have shifted just to be close to their families. I know many who took their mother or father with them when one of their parent died. Not all but a lot of people shift their jobs to a different city to try and be close to their family.

What we need is good infrastructure and transport facilities and a lot of people would not live in crammed up places but can easily live in Agra and go to Delhi for work. And that is one other reason why we should have world class infrastructure.

But coming back to your question. Most IT people are not doing cutting-edge work and can work in different cities. The top management and creamy layers will have to move around for more opportunities but most other people can find a job in the next big city. For ex. north Indians can choose between Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur etc. Now, tell me does it really make sense for a guy earning 4-5lakh rupees in a shitty IT firm to live in Bangalore while he can find a similar job in Delhi? The point is how much weight we give to family ties while our children are growing up. Most of them are not going to work in top-end frequently mobile jobs. Majority of jobs are going to be mundane and can be carried out in any city. So, question is should we put weight on family ties such that kids go back to work in Delhi or close to their home-town? If you ask me about the survey, I have no clue. But in terms of feasibility- it is feasible. Also, except some top end cities and top-end jobs, I do not see a lot of movement even among Europeans. Most people prefer to live in their country, eat their food and speak their language. And top managers go around different countries and cities.

Now coming to my family and parents, although it is not the best way to make arguments. I do not want to live abroad or raise my kids here. I will move to Delhi at some point because it is closest to my village. Hopefully, the infrastructure would be good enough by then to let me commute to work from my village.

I think it is possible but as long as kids grow up not thinking that their parents are a burden. And specially after one parent dies, the probability of the other parent living with you goes up. We just need to sensitize people to not throw them in old-age homes.
@Sakal Gharelu Ustad

Ok, whose parents do a couple stay with? The man's or the woman's?
We stick to patriarchal model so that people do not get confused. The guy takes care of his parents by default. In case girl's parents do not have any other child or any other problem and the guy's parents have an option- then girl's parents stay with the couple.

If you bring in too much equality debate here, it is just going to screw up things and confuse people.
This has nothing to do with equality or feminism. I am just analyzing it dispassionately.

Well, then we are dis incentivizing girl children, if you look at it logically. Humans are rational creatures. And the fact that girls are killed off has a perfectly rational and logical explanation behind it. If the couple cannot count on a child to take care of them and support them after they grow older, why would they have such a child? "Not my problem" is the tendency of most humans.

In such a model, there is definitely going to be a gender skew, as we are witnessing in parts of the country. This is pure market economics in its most raw form.
You are right on the incentive part. That is why we need a deeper debate to fine-tune things.

But I think gender skew is more for mid-income families and castes with high dowry. If the parents are rich enough to afford their old-age pension, living with their son is a social choice and not completely financial choice. This is a very special north indian phenomenon, while parents living with their son is practised all over India.

So, I think it can be taken care of.
I think saving the joint family system is the right way to go ahead. But now the question is how do we ensure that such joint families come out as a natural choice.
 

Srinivas_K

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1) We need to spread awareness and also teach the stories of Puranas and other stories which teach the family values.

2) Plus Indian family has to adopt to the changes happening in this modern era and has to retain its flavor.

3) Elders and their wisdom needs to be respected.

4) People should be aware of side affects of living in isolated families like mental stress, depression etc..etc.., and should know that the remedy is to have a good family system which will take care of issues related to people of all ages.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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1) We need to spread awareness and also teach the stories of Puranas and other stories which teach the family values.

2) Plus Indian family has to adopt to the changes happening in this modern era and has to retain its flavor.

3) Elders and their wisdom needs to be respected.

4) People should be aware of side affects of living in isolated families like mental stress, depression etc..etc.., and should know that the remedy is to have a good family system which will take care of issues related to people of all ages.
There are also a lot of old people who do not want to live with their young because they think it infringes on their freedom to watch crappy TV all the time.

I think the naked consumerism on both ends can hurt. But question is how do we make people take this cultural angle into their decision making?
 

Srinivas_K

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There are also a lot of old people who do not want to live with their young because they think it infringes on their freedom to watch crappy TV all the time.

I think the naked consumerism on both ends can hurt. But question is how do we make people take this cultural angle into their decision making?
Japan is an example, they have made tremendous progress yet they retained their culture and family values.

TV programs, social networking and other media can help in this regard.

Plus the Govt. has to make sure there is no large scale migration so that people of Villages stay in their own places and achieve economic progress. This way we can reduce the crowd in cities and retain our traditions and culture.

Simply put the progress has to be made in villages and villages should contribute more to our GDP, this also helps in reducing pollution.
 

Bangalorean

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Good thread SGU. But to get a good foundation for the discussion, can we define what family values precisely mean? What do we understand by this term? Can we agree on a standard definition acceptable to all parties?

Once we have this base, it will be easier to discuss steps that we need to take to save/retain the said family values.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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Japan is an example, they have made tremendous progress yet they retained their culture and family values.

TV programs, social networking and other media can help in this regard.

Plus the Govt. has to make sure there is no large scale migration so that people of Villages stay in their own places and achieve economic progress. This way we can reduce the crowd in cities and retain our traditions and culture.

Simply put the progress has to be made in villages and villages should contribute more to our GDP, this also helps in reducing pollution.
Japan looks good from outside. But they are facing similar problems. Herbivore men and not enough kids.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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Good thread SGU. But to get a good foundation for the discussion, can we define what family values precisely mean? What do we understand by this term? Can we agree on a standard definition acceptable to all parties?

Once we have this base, it will be easier to discuss steps that we need to take to save/retain the said family values.
I agree. I just outlined the problems with strict individuality. I will try to outline core family values that we should uphold.

I might not be that clear because some family values are outcomes as well as choice. I will still list them out without any order of significance:

- Joint family system
- Low divorce rates
- Enough kids like 2-3 (not like today's middle class which is rich but can still afford only 1 kid)
- Bringing kids up to respect their culture and family and protecting them from vulgarity
- Traditional role for women? (I am not sure here how or if we should achieve it because a guy cannot bear a child and a career minded woman would not have 3 kids, which would technically take away roughly 6 years of her life.)
 
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Mad Indian

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Traditional role for women? (I am not sure here how or if we should achieve it because a guy cannot bear a child and a career minded woman would not have 3 kids, which would technically take away roughly 6 years of her life.)
This is a ridiculously easy problem to solve if only Indians took to their culture . Husband and wife work and bring in money. Gran parents, live with them and will take care of the children. Win win for everyone.


But it needs- both sons and their parents to have less ego and less obsession with freedom , and have more love for having more family members with them.
For instance, I have already demanded that my parents should live with me(even if they have to sacrifice their career/practice) when I start earning and have a family . my parents have promised to stay with me but I don't know how many parents are like that, nor do I know how many sons will be like me. And of course, it depends on my wife too, but I would make sure to get a wife who shares this idea.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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This is a ridiculously easy problem to solve if only Indians took to their culture . Husband and wife work and bring in money. Gran parents, live with them and will take care of the children. Win win for everyone.


But it needs- both sons and their parents to have less ego and less obsession with freedom , and have more love for having more family members with them.
For instance, I have already demanded that my parents should live with me(even if they have to sacrifice their career/practice) when I start earning and have a family . my parents have promised to stay with me but I don't know how many parents are like that, nor do I know how many sons will be like me. And of course, it depends on my wife too, but I would make sure to get a wife who shares this idea.
Actually that is true. Having 4 people to take care of kids is definitely much easier than 2 people. Also, it can free up the least efficient person from engaging in economic activity due to higher return on kids in future!!!
 

Screambowl

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boys should take sanyas girls should become devdasia ...

BC jab family hi nahi hogi toh jhand hilega koi? :p no problems at all .. :D
 

Sylex21

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Honestly trying to police things like family composition and divorces can get really tricky, with too many things falling under loopholes or causing the state to act too harshly and come across like some sort of totalitarian dictatorship.

I think the solution is relatively simple. There should be massive incentives to get married and stay married, through tax reductions, and various other benefits that would strong encourage keeping the family together, without outright forcing it.

While we're at it, we might want to give some benefits for inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, as well as having between 2-4 kids, no more either.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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Honestly trying to police things like family composition and divorces can get really tricky, with too many things falling under loopholes or causing the state to act too harshly and come across like some sort of totalitarian dictatorship.

I think the solution is relatively simple. There should be massive incentives to get married and stay married, through tax reductions, and various other benefits that would strong encourage keeping the family together, without outright forcing it.

While we're at it, we might want to give some benefits for inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, as well as having between 2-4 kids, no more either.
No one is trying to police things here. We do not want govt. to come and interfere in our living rooms and that is why we need to protect family values.

We are talking of a social norm, which encourages people to live as part of a family. Unlike western countries, where divorce is common we do not want to make it common in India. And one way of accomplishing it to have social norms which do not accept easy divorces. There would always be a minority of cases where divorce might be the solution but we do not want those figures to touch 50%.

But govt. laws play an important role in giving incentives. And so we do not want laws which goes against the family structure and encourage divorces.

@Mad Indian @Bangalorean - We can actually give tax breaks to families which live and take care of their parents. This would further encourage people to live in joint families.
 

DingDong

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Like all Human Institutions Family composition is influenced by Economics. India's Joint Family System was suitable for Agrarian Economy. It may not be practical to continue with such a system which is not compatible with current realities.

I agree that Elders' wisdom needs to be respected, all cultures from around the world respect "experience" and "wisdom" which can only be earned through passage of time. Indian culture is not something unique in that respect. But we must certainly not allow this "respect" to give birth to "kangaroo courts".

Our culture has a downside, it is based on "shame", just like other Asian cultures including China and Japan, it forces the youth to win approval of significant people, particularly elders. Indian system hates "failures", doesn't believe in a "second chance". This culture doesn't encourage innovation.

In my opinion it is better to call it quits than continuing in a poisonous relationship. Such household cannot provide a better environment for kids than a "single parent" household. I have met several broken kids and youngsters in India who grew up witnessing domestic violence and what not, I have seen what they have become.

I agree with the points made to the effect that "isms" cannot be allowed to govern our family lives. Equality cannot be enforced, Nature favours "diversity", "harmony" and "sustainability" over "equality".

But, we cannot protect an archaic system, Human Nature and Economics will eventually prevail, all the effort will be wasted.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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Like all Human Institutions Family composition is influenced by Economics. India's Joint Family System was suitable for Agrarian Economy. It may not be practical to continue with such a system which is not compatible with current realities.

I agree that Elders' wisdom needs to be respected, all cultures from around the world respect "experience" and "wisdom" which can only be earned through passage of time. Indian culture is not something unique in that respect. But we must certainly not allow this "respect" to give birth to "kangaroo courts".

Our culture has a downside, it is based on "shame", just like other Asian cultures including China and Japan, it forces the youth to win approval of significant people, particularly elders. Indian system hates "failures", doesn't believe in a "second chance". This culture doesn't encourage innovation.

In my opinion it is better to call it quits than continuing in a poisonous relationship. Such household cannot provide a better environment for kids than a "single parent" household. I have met several broken kids and youngsters in India who grew up witnessing domestic violence and what not, I have seen what they have become.

I agree with the points made to the effect that "isms" cannot be allowed to govern our family lives. Equality cannot be enforced, Nature favours "diversity", "harmony" and "sustainability" over "equality".

But, we cannot protect an archaic system, Human Nature and Economics will eventually prevail, all the effort will be wasted.
So you are saying there is nothing standing between 1 kid and single mothers. In case India becomes rich, it will go down the drain like Japan and other European countries and have low fertility rates supported through pro-individual laws.
 

asingh10

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I wish there was a way to educate Indians about how White liberals have decimated Black community in America for votes. Black families survived centuries of slavery, generations of Jim Crow, but it was completely disintegrated in the wake of civil rights movement and "assimilation". 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. 14 million black babies aborted since 1974, that's feminism & "planned parenthood" for you. Look at any Black dominated city and its overflowing with crime. There was something called as "Black wall street" back in early 1900s, now these same enterprising people are completely dependent on welfare and affirmative action. Look at their numbers in the prison complex.

I feel like the same template is being used in India. Foreigners study us, make movies and documentaries about us, what is actually stopping us from doing the same ? Bollywood shows us how great progressivism is, we show them what progressive societies really look like.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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I wish there was a way to educate Indians about how White liberals have decimated Black community in America for votes. Black families survived centuries of slavery, generations of Jim Crow, but it was completely disintegrated in the wake of civil rights movement and "assimilation". 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. 14 million black babies aborted since 1974, that's feminism & "planned parenthood" for you. Look at any Black dominated city and its overflowing with crime. There was something called as "Black wall street" back in early 1900s, now these same enterprising people are completely dependent on welfare and affirmative action. Look at their numbers in the prison complex.

I feel like the same template is being used in India. Foreigners study us, make movies and documentaries about us, what is actually stopping us from doing the same ? Bollywood shows us how great progressivism is, we show them what progressive societies really look like.
They have decimated not just blacks, but are now decimating the whites as well.

Here @DingDong wants to believe that it is nature and economics playing the role. No, it is not just nature and economics but also social laws that are determining the outcome. If govt. withdraws the support for child care and pro-divorce laws and alimony, you will see women sticking to men to ensure benefit of their offspring and in turn sustain families.
 

prasadr14

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Abolish Caste system.
This single act will help Hindus progress, save family values, save ourselves and prosper.
 

Sakal Gharelu Ustad

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There is another economic logic to support family system- healthcare bills. Family is probably the middle path between choosing individual vs society based solutions.

- Family system can be a check and help as a preventive healthcare. For eg. One reason for the obesity problem in rich nations is because kids do not eat boring food at home but rather prefer fast-food.

- Care for old. Rather than forcing society to pay your old-age bills, people need to think of their old age themselves i.e. have kids who can take care of them. Right now healthcare bill is the biggest drain on Europeans, who are ready to take in refugees who can eventually pay taxes and support old Whites who did not have enough kids to support their healthcare system. If your family is supposed to pitch in for support during your old age, it is more likely for people to have kids.
 

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