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Joint Hindu Family Essay Examples

A joint family or undivided family is an extended family arrangement prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, consisting of many generations living in the same household, all bound by the common relationship.[1]

Family structure[edit]

Historically, for generations India had a prevailing tradition of the Joint Hindu Family or undivided family. The system is an extended family arrangement prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, consisting of many generations living in the same home, all bound by the common relationship. A patrimonial joint family consists of a man and his wife; their sons; their unmarried daughters, and so on up-to generations. Any number of these people may without impacting the legal existence of the family, be decreased.

The family is headed by a senior person called a 'Karta', usually the oldest male or female, who makes decisions on economic and social matters on behalf of the entire family. The patriarch's wife generally exerts control over the household and minor religious practices and often wields considerable influence in domestic matters. Family income flows into a common pool, from which resources are drawn to meet the needs of all members, which are regulated by the heads of the family. However, with urbanization and economic development, India has witnessed a break up of traditional joint family into more nuclear-like families, and the traditional joint family in India accounted for a small number of Indian households.

A Hindu undivided family or HUF is a legal term related to the Hindu Marriage Act. The female members are also given the right of share to the property in the HUF. The term finds reference in the provisions of the Income Tax Act, but the expression is not defined in the act. There are various aspects of Hindu law relevant for the purpose assessment of income of HUF with Hindu Succession Act 1956 and Income Tax Act 1961 and wealth in the status of HUF, as well as the impact of the provisions of Hindu Succession Act 1956 as amended by Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 relevant for the purpose of assessment of income and wealth in the status of HUF under the Income Tax Act 1961.

In the case of Surjit Lal Chhabra 101 ITR 776 SC, joint family and undivided family are synonymous: "A joint Hindu family consists of persons lineally descended from a common ancestor and includes their wives and unmarried daughters. The daughter, on marriage, ceases to be a member of her father's family and becomes a member of her husband's family."

In 2016, a judgment of the Delhi High Court ruled that the eldest female member of a Hindu Undivided Family can be its 'Karta' (manager).


Different relationships are addressed via different names. The nature of relationship also varies. Relations can be of equivalence, mutual respect or teasing in nature.

In joint families in northern and central India between a bride or sister-in-law and her younger brother-in-law, a joking or teasing relationship is common, and the relationship towards an older brother-in-law is that of respectfulness.

In a traditional joint Hindu family, there is a subservient relationship between the wives of the brothers: the patriarch's wife is addressed as "Badi Bhabhi" (in Hindi), meaning "eldest brother's wife." She is traditionally considered the mistress of the house and is in charge of running the household affairs and overseeing the servants (if any). The subsequent younger brothers' wives typically seek her advice and permission for any matters/decisions regarding the household and rearing of the children.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Donner, Henrike (2008), Domestic goddesses: maternity, globalization and middle-class identity in contemporary India, Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-7546-4942-3 
  • Michaels, Axel; Harshav, Barbara (2004), Hinduism: Past and Present (5th ed.), Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 111–131, ISBN 0-691-08953-1 
  1. ^Henry Orenstein and Michael Micklin. "The Hindu Joint Family: The Norms and the Numbers". Pacific Affairs. 39 (3/4): 314–325. JSTOR 2754275.  

A family when lives together with all family members up to 2nd generation like grand parents, parents, uncle, aunts and their children is called a joint family. The importance of joint family is understood by the Indians since time immemorial.

But while young people are going advanced with their lifestyles, they are shy away from living jointly with their parents and grandparents. These people are usually missed a lot of fun, caring, elder guidance from time to time which causes a lot of problems in the future like loneliness, frustrations, etc.

The importance and value of Joint Family is described below:

  1. In the joint family, all members are equally sharing all expenses, works and other things with the other members of the family so the burden of work will not be felt by any single person.
  2. All children get equal share of love, care, guidance and education by the elder grandparents so that they never miss anything in their whole life. Similarly they can also easily get help from their parents.
  3.  Small children will get teaching guidance from their uncle, aunts, and other family members. The sharing resources with the cousins and sisters help parents to decrease the expenses on their child.
  4. On the eve of big occasions like marriage, birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, etc., the work can easily be shared with all members so that the event will be successful. This will bring down the burden from the parents.

Joint family is better than nuclear family due to the above advantages. But young generations are moving to towns and metro cities for searching of jobs, and then they live there. Due to space crunch in their home, income level and other reasons they can’t live with their parents, grandparents, etc.

Category: Indian SocietyTagged With: Family System

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