View Full Version : கூட்டுக் குடும்பம்?

08-23-2004, 09:56 PM
A tradition of many nations
yet practised only by a few these days.

A concept which probably evolved by necessity as well as deep love for ones blood relations, now abandonned by all except by a few countries on the Indian Subcontinent as well as a few in the Far East.

Is it too outdated for the new generations?
Or should we continue with it and try to pas it on to the future generations?
(Nintendo and beyond :ahha: )

To live "En Famille"...
surrounded by the old and the youngs of one's family...

would you choose to live like that if given the option

pls tell us why...it would make life so much more interesting than yes or no :sm03:


PS: don't actually know if the correct phrase and the correct spelling was used.
please do ask for clarification if need be :ee:
and please do correct me if need be :ee:
thanx :b:

08-23-2004, 10:09 PM
பாஸ் பண்ணிட்டீங ்கோ, ப்ளூ.. :P No spelling mistakes whatsoever.. :clap:

No would be the answer. Why would come some time soon.. :P Don't know if that would make anyone's life more interesting.. :P


08-23-2004, 10:16 PM
:sm03: thank you, thank you guru v :sm03:
Vasan ...it sure would make life interesting ..trust me :wink:

haven't personally experienced the whole "en famille" situation for longer than 6-10 hours max :ee:
so can't say much abt it :wink:

but as the cost of childcare keeps rising....I did propose it to my parents :ahha:
shan't tell you their answer to that wonderful suggestion of mine though :oops:

so what do you ppl think ... do your parents and other family members think along the same line as you?


08-24-2004, 12:52 AM
hey blue........ennoda answerum no to joint family........

according to me no one will have the freedom to express there views ......may be when there is a head then definitely things will happen according to his wishes ...and no one in the family will have the freedom to take decision against him..........

and also there may be a lot many problems financial wise which makes joint family a hectic one....

08-24-2004, 01:26 AM
hmm surprised to see no's ...

I am a very big fan of a joint family.. The fun and joy is there at all times... You might probably end up loosing some fun but thats the spirit of living together.. lose some and gain some.... Also, I will not name financial/child care as reasons to go in for a joint family but they are just some +ve outcomes....

Again, I have not been in a joint family but I am very positive about a joint family..

08-24-2004, 01:27 AM
A few reasons for saying NO to the admirable concept of kUttuk kutumpam - joint family.

1) Its outdated. Long ago when girls move into grooms family and adopts her life to fit into that family, and imbibe, inherit, get inducted into everything that is of that family it was ok. No girl would sacrifice, her independence, freedom, etc now. The 'current' concept of a family, which is supposed to have equal rights and responsibities between man and woman (and not man and wife.. :wink:), does not really permit anything other than 'nuclear' family. Women do not have to, or intend to 'obey' their husbands, much less their parents. Women in very other aspect work and are equal to men. Why then should they move into husband's family and 'lose' their identity?

2) If promoted as the only 'true' model of a family, that puts strain on every one. Imagine, all 3 brothers and their kids and wife and mom and dad living together, and all the guys and girls working and... whew.. !! Do you really expect every one to be working like 10 miles from home.. (my mom would so love it, but it is not possible, nor is welcome!). Its not because thats unwelcome, but career possibilities and opportunities are simply non existent. Why should you waste all the talent for some vague notion of what a family should be?

3) Those were the days, when a girls parents cannot live with her or be dependent on her. Joint families are supposed to be like that. Not any more. Its flat out crazy in my opinion. Girls are as much a part of their family as boys are theirs. Each must take care, love and honor their parents. This arbitrary choice of taking care of or living with guys family is just NOT right. (Unless every parent in the world has exactly even number of boys and girls and so on.. !.. even then, it simply discards the issue of choice ! WOuld you rather be with a son who insults you, and avoid the daughter who adores you, simply because she is a girls?! Even in utopia such choices are simply not correct.)

4) Grand parents make admirable baby sitters - but should they be one?! Aren't we assuming that parents may have to give up their careers just because their sons have kids? If my mom is a VP of a company, and I am just a programer, and have a baby, should my mom resign her job and be a baby sitter for my brat? Just ridiculous example, I know, but still, if joint family is the ULTIMATE example of what a family should be, shouldn't such a thing be obvious?

5) There should be time and opportunities for men and women to grow up, make their own mistakes and become Men and Women. We can't all be babies all the time, requiring mom and dad for every little thing. We need parents and their guidance, and we need to be sons and daughters too, but gotta also be responsible adults and people with their own perspectives and understanding of life.

6) Dude.. even if I want to have a joint family, its not possible. Not geographically possible for ever. Short periods of mom and dad living with me (notice that, it is NOT me, living with them, but them living with me.. :wink:) is possible and taken for granted, but it is impossible on so many levels for good.. Perhaps possible with my parents or my wifes parents but, then my siblings and my wife's siblings can't have parents living with them... Too very complicated, as to be near impossible. And instead of wallowing in guilt that we missed on the 'the only possible and happy way to live' as a family, its much better for socio-psychological reasons to be deal with the best possible scenario and live with out misery.

Want few more reasons? I can give, but, I need a cup of nicely flavored coffee.. The kinda thingy the StarBucks call as Grande Cappucino.. :P :P (Did you think of any other coffee? :wink: !!)


08-24-2004, 01:31 AM
Oii.. RK,

Vote podunga sir.. :P :P Nallaa parththu podunga, Florida kanakkaa ethaavathu aayidappoguthu.. :wink:


08-24-2004, 03:29 AM

You did touch upon a topic that has kindled spirits of Vasan vaathiyar. He has gone great extents to make it look like something to be outlawed. As much as I share some of the points made by him, I also feel it is something that still works for some and no reason to pull out a string of reasons to demonize it.

True, with the professional world, it is increasingly difficult for the siblings to get jobs in the same place. But it is very much possible with families engaged in trade. Many of my gujarati friends live in such an environment. Their hospitality is unmatched with anyother friends I ever had. It is a quality shared by their children too. They are boisterous, hyperactive and very communicative. I have not seen that is some of the children in nucleus families. That is a major plus point I would say for joint families. It is an investment for the future and even if it means making a few adjustments here and there, it might be worth it.

The other thing I see is, the business acumen passes on generation after generation. Take the trading community in Tamilnadu. They help each other as a family and community and feeling proud. I have personally seen it.

I dont understand the concept of independence and obeying. Listening and doing what the other person does not necessarily mean giving up independence. We do that with room mates and dont complain that it stifles our independence. Between husband and wife and elders also doing that does not mean giving away one's independence. It is a choice every one makes. Wrong choices cause heartache for everyone.

So my decision on this would be, not to cast a vote that it should be outlawed. It is an excellent tradition. Whether to follow it or not is one's own choice, but I would recommend any one reading this not to look at this through the prism of "Stifling independence/not getting to live one's own life".


08-24-2004, 02:01 PM
b4 I start rambling I thought it might be a good idea to clarify one itsy bitsy thing :wink:
I was joking when I mentioned childcare as a valid reason for joint families.... :ahha:
according to the traditions of my parents' native village, daughters generally tend to remain with their parents :wink:
I don't know why but neither of my parents seem to be keen on the whole idea :evil: hence why the argument of rising childcare cost :ee: (it was an really stupid joke gone bad :oops: wasn't supposed to be taken seriously ... like anyone would seriously ask their parents to give up work to look after their brats :Ksp: )

Although for generations my family has lived as joint families, it started to break down in the last century when the young professionals family members had to move out to Colombo or other cities to pursue they career. They still tried to maintain a semblence of it till the civil unrest, at which point the Diaspora took over :ahha:
The closest experience I had of joint families were through stories of long ago...and also after visiting some friends in India.
It was amazing ...at lunch the whole family, I mean evryone...daughters, sons, in-laws, uncles, aunts ...the whole lot came together ... such a lovely sight. I agree I just experienced a couple hours of the whole "joint family" thing and saw none of the disadvantages or the discords, etc

But it certainly did affect me and my siblings in such a way that we started to yearn for such a close knit family.
It isn't very nice to have to trek half way up the country or the planet to meet your grandparents or uncles :Ksp:

I agree that it isn't a practical Idea at all since obviously as professionals we will have to move to wherever the work is.

the whole wonderful experience of having the elder generations within the same roof as the younger ones..and that whole sense of belonging to a large family...would that not make up for some loss of freedom
some of you make it sound tyranical....can't be that bad :00:

of course we need to make our own mistakes ...and we shall be allowed to make them and learn from them ...but is it so bad to have the guidance of our elders?

Yes many of my Guji friends live in joint families too..although it is becoming more and more difficult for them to carry on doing so due to different careers chosen by the newer generations. (not everyone wants to remain in the export import or cash and carry industries :ahha: )
the ones who chose to carry on with the family business are able to remain, while the others unfortunately had to leave the nest.

wishing on a dream....

08-26-2004, 12:14 AM
these days even elderly parents are staying alone...
leave alone brothers staying together :think:

nice arguments all of you. but i am still leaning towards No !
just for the simple fact that wud make life far better in this fast age
unneccessary ego clashes averted !

remember visu movie samsaram minsaram :ahha:

09-02-2004, 08:51 PM
Well ... I guess it isn't for everybody ...

I don't remember the movie Victor :ahha: might be 'cause I never saw it :ee:

but lets face it, Joint Family life has received such a bad publicity it might never recover again.... you just have to peek for 5 mins at various Tamil serials and it would be enough to put you off the idea for good.

everyone has ego..but a little give and take and compromise is all that is needed
to carry on a lovely tradition

I don't get why ppl always mention brothers...what happens to the sisters...I was sort of leaning towards all siblings living together :think:


09-02-2004, 09:05 PM
Blotus vantha vudan super topic....

I wud say yes. thou its practically difficult. i wud opt for it.

We lived as a joint family, my happy days were those. Once we split due to variuos reasons (transfer, education, job offer) i missed all of them as i was the only kid in the whole family and they all missed me too.
I cant express it in words its a feeling.If u had lived in a joint family.U know what is love???
i will add more....

09-02-2004, 09:18 PM
As regards my customary practise to talk sense & only sense & no non-sense about the topic, here is my 2 million dollar worth of view. :ee:

The family in India, including Tamil Nadu, is largely patrilineal, in which the core of the family is the male and the women are brought as brides into the family. Amongst the higher castes, extended joint families of several generations prevail, but this is less typical amongst the poorer people who lack the physical resources to maintain extended kinship structures. Life in joint families is highly segregated between men and women. A wife has little contact with her husband but spends a great deal of time with other women. The tasks of running the household are shared between the women with the youngest bride shouldering the heaviest burden. The older women are given the role of controlling the younger women and enforcing the qualities of docility, obedience and submission. But nuclear families tend to bring little change in social relations - the overall influence of the joint family remains, but without the emotional support and companionship of other women which life in a joint family provides. As a result, women can face increased isolation in a nuclear family situation.

but alternatively, in more cases Kootu kudumbam (not kuttu kudumbam) is prone to failure if everyone as part of that kudumbham dont understand the value of sacrifice as it is on these values such a kootu kudumbam is built upon. In any kootu kudumbam there will always be a bali kada(scape goat??) who will have to undergo a lot of sacrifice while there will be altleast one person who enjoys unfairly & undeservingly without much effort on their part. In thani kudumbham it is not so.

But of course no problem if you sacrifice for kootu kudumbam.. but you shouldnt marry in that case. The scape goat not only makes his life hell, bt also his family's life hell.
Mr and Mrs scape goat's heads always get rolled however nice they are. The others in the family never understand the sacrifices made.. etc. etc.. and one fine day, Mr. scape goat will burst out in anger.. .. all the other family members will blame Mrs. Scape goat to ahve broken the family..

then everybody will talk, "kootu kudumbam concept ippo ellam sethu pochu.."

Enna porutha varaikkum, I support joint families in the north..There there is no rich son, poor son.. All of them do the same business. Equal space for each family in the home. Sundays - mattum common samaiyal erst of the days thani thani samaiyal.

Elders dont interfere with the family affairs, except helping in decision making of youngsters...

This concept is nice, instead of living under the same koorai... they are separate... but still attached to each other. I like this concept.

but controversely, This itself defeats the meaning of kootu kudumbam.

I have seen atleast 3 or 4 families who were doing fine as long their parents were alive. Once one of the parent dies the family pichufies because they could not digest the other member to head the dicision board.

It all depends on the family members and the new members who joined them.

But Why are we so desperate to live under the same koorai? Is it hygenic?? Do we have enough space in our house to accomodate so many people??

Those days, sons, used to get jobs in the same place/hometown.. so there was no need to look for another place to live.. hence everybody had to live under the same koorai.. ippo ellam mari pochu. Niraiya opportunities irukku, for taht we have to travel a lot.. so concept of joint family canot be applied tot hepresent world widely..

Seri, ippo ore oor-le velai kidaichi settle agirom-nu vechupome.. idam irunthaal, resources irunthaal.. ore kudumbamaay vazhalam. Provided everybody in the family is having the same aim of family unity.. Oruthar mattum kudumbathukku maaday uzhaipathum, matravar antha nizhalil vazhrathuthaan namma kootu kudumbathil nadakkirathu. This is unhealthy. Anbu paasam, can be alive within you wherever you go.. however far away you are from your family.. thats the speciality.. Ore idathil irunthuthaan athai kaamikkanumnu avasiyam illai.

I came to know from one of the friends Gujarathi family (my family friend is a Gujju).. that in Gujarath, joint family concept is very good. That there is no disparity in wealth etc between the sons. Mother and father graciosuly retire from family running and they pass on the duties to the daughters in law and sons. All sons deal in the same business... Money is equally distributed..

They live together if the house is verrrry big.. Or they take different houses.. Sunday and festival days I guess they have a family get together.. etc.

Rich families have palatial bungalows (like the oens which come in hindi moveis) and in such cases, a lot of brothers stay in the same home..

When joint family concept understands the practical difficulties of life, I respect. If it requires you to sacrifice your career, dreams etc. for the sake of livign with your mother and father.. I dont respect it. becuase along with the son's life, teh wife's life is also ruined.

some of you may say,

Why are we so desperate to live under the same koorai?


Is it hygenic??

Usually Not.

By looking at one family...we can not base our judgements. Somebody can always show a happy Tamil joint family.

......becuase along with the son's life, teh wife's life is also ruined........
actually that is where the core of the issue is. In general men would not mind (if not desire) some kind of joint family than women. Becos of our patriarchal system. As far as your view of life being ruined. It is very relative. What to you might be a ruin, it might not be to others. Becos of the outlook and values each of us have.

Humans like many other animals, placed high values over groups/sects/family/tribe/clan in the initial days. As societies evolved individualism grew stronger in the West. We can say in US it rules. This has yet not taken over strongly in India. But Indians in the last fifty odd years have started receiving education, been travelling, seeing new cultures at a faster pace than in the way-back-days. But becos of the population and the diversity...we have a lot of clashes in opinions and views.

Cutting my lengthy speech short :-)....to you it might look......"EEEEEEEEewwwwwwww"...but to others it might not.

In addition, when we talk about joint-family system, we don't find much in the urban areas. The reasons are obvious.

In the eastern hemisphere, family still counts and is revered.

Also it would be nice to quantify the number of members when we talk about joint-family system.

Just parents?Brothers' families?Number of People? etcetra.. :wink:

09-02-2004, 09:20 PM
:ee: Mr Vampire ..."what is love" is another topic :ee:
course I have no idea what it means :Ksp: ...you think I would waste my time asking if I knew :wink: .... :oops: do not answer that one...that is a rhetorical question :ahha:

I think opinions may vary according to different experiences ... :think:


09-02-2004, 09:33 PM
having finally finished reading Cs' lengthy essay :ahha:

crikey !! :00:

but nowdays we are leaning more towards single child families...in which case it might be not as impractical as in previous generations, right?

I do object about the comment on hygiene though
as you pointed out, mainly families who are able to afford large houses live together...so with space and with the advanced state of affairs these days...that cannot possibly be a problem
Traditionally women may have been in charge of the household chores, etc...however traditions too evolve with time
these days the majority of women regardless of their marital status all work ...so I imagine that most chores and responsibilities are shared between both genders

the whole idea is still not "ewwww" :ahha:


09-03-2004, 01:15 AM
Also it would be nice to quantify the number of members when we talk about joint-family system.

Just parents?Brothers' families?Number of People? etcetra

well cs,
ofkose, brothers' families included.
that is how it was a few generations back.

if that is not possible atleast parents livin with one son's family
can be a joint family too ! :)

everyone has ego..but a little give and take and compromise is all that is needed
to carry on a lovely tradition

well if it was sucha lovely tradition, i think people wud not have
felt uncomfortable with it ...leading to the breaking of that system ! :?

09-03-2004, 11:31 AM
At the same time nuclear family will be sucessful only if there are sacrifises and understanding....