It was an era of glorified exaltation when there had been existing joint families in our society and members would love to do work together in order to prove the unity for well-being. Such amazing care and love was idiosyncratically preserved within these families. Nuclear families had not much influence by making strong base and people were not in support of promoting this ideology for the family divisions. Members were so kind and hard working to earn their livelihoods. Unity and a peaceful atmosphere were found across the joint families. There was no space even for minor conflicts which occurred among the members as the role played by elders.
Coordination was more emphasized by elders in strengthening the gaps for avoiding frequent conflicts. Family secrets were protected from disclosing. Father and mother-in- laws were highly respected by daughter-in-laws. Family bond was entwined in such a way that nobody got broken apart from it. Modesty and courtesy were common to see in women. They covered their heads with a scarf when they went outside. They had no any other intention like wearing expensive dresses and jewelers. Likewise, men did not wear fashionable clothes. It was a simple life followed by all equally. With this, they earned high status with relatives and neighbors. A high level of family understanding was observed in men and women that prevented them from absurd arguments. Marriage functions were not performed extravagantly but were taken so simply. Orders were given by head for any work obeyed by all the members. There was no pressure on family members for doing any work.
Children were enjoying life in joint families as they had been treated as sons and daughters. Moral lessons were given to children to attain some decency and were also made to learn the Quran in young age. Children were taught school subjects jointly by their elders and uncles mostly took this job seriously to help them in teaching. It was the care taken for them about studies in joint families. What an environment in which these children had been nurtured! They were so fortunate to get knowledge in different subjects at home and competed with one another for winning the small prizes. Children would love to open books after having dinner. They knew that elders would come to ask questions and scold if not answer any. It was so wonderful time when children relished having lunch and dinner together on big plates (Treem) made of copper metals. Respected elders had full authority to do the yearly budgeting. They were considered like finance ministers who had to manage incomes and expenses. Everything was kept at normal and stable. A Top-down approach was set up to manage things properly. By making any plan for future, suggestions were put forward in meetings by all and the final decision was solely taken by the head.
Grandmothers’ role was so beautiful. They usually told Kashmir’s past history to grandchildren and also enlightened them by introducing of Kashmiri great Sufi saints. It was a great pleasure for them to receive diverse knowledge. Additionally, they were told life of Kashmiri’s people in terms of social, economic and cultural by sharing past events. Elders always prayed for their health and prosperity. It was usually seen on their lips by giving blessings to their grandchildren. Let’s reconnect our past family ethos back for living together. It is our ethical responsibility to make the people aware about family values and bonding. There is no progress in bifurcated families but seeing conflicts only. Joint families are truly based on values and principles and that is why they have been showing good progress in achieving the targets. Promoting love and unity in families that will definitely show us the right path towards successful homes.
The writer is a teacher by profession