Joint family in India is characterised as an extended kingroup by? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Joint family in India


Question: Joint family in India is characterised as an extended kingroup by?

  1. A.R. Desai
  2. K.M. Kapadia
  3. Irawati Karve 
  4. A.D. Ross

Answer: (3)

The question in the MA CUET exam focuses on the characteristics of the joint family system in India and asks for the scholar who characterized it as an extended kingroup. The correct answer is (c) Irawati Karve. To comprehensively explain this answer, we need to delve into the significance of the joint family system in India, its types, and the insights provided by Irawati Karve on this social structure.

The joint family holds a central place in the social organization of Hindu society and is considered a fundamental institution. K. M. Panikkar rightly emphasizes that the caste system, the village community, and the joint family system form the foundational pillars of the Indian social system. According to Mandelbaum, the classical form of the family in India is represented by the joint family, and it has been an ideal family structure for Hindus since the time of Manu.

In the context of the Hindu joint family, there are two primary types: the matrilocal joint family and the patrilocal joint family. The matrilocal joint family is observed among the Nayars of Kerala, while the patrilocal joint family is more prevalent among the rest of the Hindu community. The focus, however, generally tends to be on the patrilocal joint family when discussing the Hindu joint family system.

Irawati Karve, a notable Indian anthropologist, provides a comprehensive definition of the joint family. According to her, a joint family is “a group of people who generally live under one roof, who eat food cooked at one hearth, who hold property in common and who participate in common family worship and are related to each other as some particular type of kindred.” This definition encapsulates the key features that characterize a joint family in the Indian context.

The joint family system is marked by shared residence, common cooking arrangements, communal ownership of property, and participation in collective family rituals and worship. The significance of shared residence is particularly noteworthy, as family members, including different generations, live together under one roof, fostering strong bonds and a sense of unity.

Henry Maine, another influential scholar in the study of family and kinship, offers his perspective on the Hindu joint family. According to Maine, “The Hindu joint family is a group consisting of known ancestors and adopted sons and relatives related to these sons through marriage.” Maine’s definition underscores the inclusivity of the joint family, extending beyond biological ties to include adopted members and relatives linked through marriage.

The term “extended kingroup” refers to a social unit that goes beyond the nuclear family and incorporates a broader set of relatives. In the context of the joint family in India, the extended kingroup concept is aptly applied, considering the inclusion of not only direct descendants but also adopted sons and relatives connected through marital bonds.

The joint family, as characterized by Irawati Karve and explained by Henry Maine, plays a crucial role in shaping social relations, economic activities, and cultural practices within Hindu society. The communal living and shared responsibilities contribute to a sense of collective identity and mutual support. The joint family system serves as an essential support structure, especially in a cultural context where familial ties are highly valued.

Furthermore, the joint family system is not static; it has evolved and adapted over time. While the traditional joint family structure is still prevalent in many parts of India, urbanization, changing economic patterns, and societal shifts have led to variations in family arrangements. Nuclear families are increasingly becoming common, especially in urban areas, but the influence of the joint family ethos continues to shape social norms and values.

In conclusion, the answer to the question identifies Irawati Karve as the scholar who characterized the joint family in India as an extended kingroup. The joint family, with its shared residence, communal living, and inclusive approach to kinship, remains a foundational institution in Hindu society. Irawati Karve’s definition, along with insights from other scholars like Henry Maine, provides a nuanced understanding of the complexity and significance of the joint family system in the Indian social context.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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