People in Pakistan are greatly trilingual and most people living here are Muslims. They respect their customs and traditions and closely follow family values. Most people are living as joint family systems along with their kinsmen, with exceptions choosing the nuclear way of life. Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections. In anthropology the kinship system includes people related both by descent and marriage, while usage in biology includes descent and mating. Human kinship relations through marriage are commonly called “affinity” in contrast to “descent” (also called “consanguinity”), although the two may overlap in marriages among those of common descent. Kinship is one of the most basic principles for organizing individuals into social groups, roles, categories, and genealogy. Family relations can be represented concretely (mother, brother, grandfather) or abstractly after degrees of relationship.
The Western model of a nuclear family consists of a couple and its children. The nuclear family is ego-centered and impermanent, while descent groups are permanent (lasting beyond the lifespan of individual constituents) and reckoned according to a single ancestor. The family and kinship system will vary in every country, depending upon their culture and style of living. The social life of Pakistan revolves around family and kin. The family is the base of social organization, individually providing the members with unique identity and protection. An individual rarely lives apart from his relatives; even male urban migrants usually live with relatives or friends of kin. Children live with their parents until marriage, and sons often stay with their parents after marriage, forming a joint family. The joint family system is very common in Pakistan. It usually comprises of a father, mother, children, and the father’s parents. They all live together in the same family unit. However, quarrels, particularly among the women (mother-in-law and daughters-in-law), can lead to the premature dissolution of a joint household.
The leading male of the house will play a significant role with respect to the well-being of his family unit. They take the responsibility to guard their grandparents. Even more impressive is how the younger generation respects their elders. However in recent years, urbanization has had a major influence on the existing family system. The nation is involved in a fundamental process of social change. This will result in the social family units to drift apart. This is will become more and more common with time. The biggest city of Pakistan, that is, Karachi has observed the most avid impingement of urbanization. When considering the elder people in Pakistan, they usually stick with their offspring or grandchildren to get a complete support and care. They rely and depend on their people to get their assistance and support in all aspects such as physical, social and financial wellbeing. Giving physical and emotional support is quite usual in joint family system. It has been declared that urbanization will probably dilapidate and crumble the family care to their elder people.
Moreover, urbanization will also drop-off the care of the growing children with their elders. This family system is undergoing a radical change with greater influence of media and education but people of Pakistan do not feel this change a good one. Because while living in a joint family system a lot of emotional attachments enhanced and they feel that by separating in neutral family system their relations will be damaged and family ties will be weakened. Lot of research has been done in this regard in Pakistan. Researchers highlighted various issues at household level which create disturbance and unrest in the society. Joint family system is basically a form of organization. In this organization there are defined norms and values to follow strictly by all the members. All the members have their defined tasks and responsibilities to perform.
There is equal share of each and every member of the family in the available resources in the form of money, food and other requirements. If all the requirements and regulation of this organization fulfill impartially then it is the most successful system but unfortunately this not happens. Definitely it is impossible for any human being to stick with defined strict norms and values even in his/her own home where he/she wants to take rest and live freely according to his own will after completion of his/her office duties which are in current era are as much tough and busy. This living style of joint families effects badly the socio-economic development of Pakistan by increasing poverty in various ways. In a joint family systems now lot of crisis emerge on the issues like distribution of household tasks, allocation of financial responsibilities among different members, division of resources in the form of food and money.
Arranged marriage is most commonly followed in Pakistan. In this type of marriage, the wedding will be fixed with the close wish and liking of the bride and groom’s families. So, the whole family will be involved in all the wedding arrangement of the couples. Marriage in Pakistan is considered to be the customary standard and livelihood of adults. Here marriage is never expressed as a close relationship between the bride and the groom, but it is dearly conceived as a good understanding between those families. This is the reason most of the marriages are obviously arranged by the wishes of the parents. For several hundred years, arranged marriages are conceived to be the constitutional and inherent character of the Pakistan social group. Moreover, it is quite common for individual to fix their marriage by their family members and elders. Generally, arranged marriage is organized by both the families on looking at their family background, potentials, social status, caste, wealth and lot more. Usually, marriage in Pakistan is arranged between the expanded family members like cousins or relatives.
It is really a difficult task for people to make their choice of marriage successful. The traditional and culture passionate Pakistani people, particularly residing in rural areas will never accept the love marriage system and most cases they will break the relationship between them and the pairs. Moreover, the married pairs will be locked in jail, as they wed-locked with the opposition of their parents and relatives. Where as in some other cases, the girl or the boy will be imbibed and buried on the grounds, because of marrying someone without the approval and acceptance of their parents and relatives. Love marriage in Pakistan is really very difficult to happen, as people here will stick with the tradition and culture. It is really a tough situation to marry the person of your choice in Pakistan. Though the commandment and law grants the women to join her hands with her choice of person, the parents and relatives of both bride and groom will never accept the wedding.
Moreover, people will conceive their marriage as the dishonor to their family and religious customs. At cases, the girl will be killed by her people and in some cases her partner will also be murdered. For all these reasons, most of the marriage in Pakistan will be arranged marriage. The wedding will be decided by both parents and relatives. Wedding that gets arranged by the parents and people will be performed as a grand celebration depending upon their ability and potentials. However nowadays love marriages are being gradually accepted by the current society. Family dynamics and marriage rules in the Pakistani urban society faced several changes after the partition. Historically, marriages had been ‘conventionally arranged’ in the Indo-Pak society. First cousin marriage, watta satta had always been preferred when looking for a suitable marriage partner. In recent years, a new middle-class has emerged in the bigger cities as more and better job opportunities are available for young professionals and university graduates.
This changing Pakistani urban society opens many research questions. Parents have a number of choices available for the education of their children and can often select from a long list of both public and private school districts, which leads to the potential for better education. It is also worth noting that urban areas offer residents the possibility to choose from a range of employment options at any number of companies or organizations. As they have more opportunities to enhance the quality of their education, they may be more liberal. Thus, they have a greater understanding of justice and fairness and hence religion. An example could be the dowry system in marriages. Urban families follow the dowry system in a relatively lesser scale.
The urban middle class has now begun to look for marriage partners who are similar in terms of the upbringing and socio-cultural backgrounds and not just belonging to the same family. The quality of life in urban areas is similar to that in rural areas in that both involve a high degree of socialization, even if on a cursory level. Where they differ most noticeably is in the availability of choices and diversity. In theory, members of a biradari (kin) are co residents of a single village. In some areas, however, land fragmentation and generations of out-migration have led to the dispersal of many members of the biradari among various villages, regions, and cities. Patrilineal kin continue to maintain ties with their natal village and enjoy the legal right of first refusal in any biradari land sale. Members of a biradari celebrate the major life events together. Patrilineal kin are expected to contribute food and to help with guests in the ceremonies accompanying birth, marriage, death, and major religious holidays.
The biradari has traditionally served as a combined mutual aid society and welfare agency, arranging loans to members, assisting in finding employment, and contributing to the dowries of poorer families. There is considerable pressure for patrilineal kin to maintain good relations with one another. Biradari members who quarrel will try to resolve their differences before major social occasions so that the patrilineage can present a united front to the village. People with sons and daughters of marriageable age keenly feel the necessity to maintain good relations because a person whose family is at odds with his or her biradari is considered a poor marriage prospect. With a strong kinship system and a following of traditional values, life could be made a lot easier. It has scientifically been proven that villagers are a lot more helpful and into pro-social behavior as they are more closely knit. The education factor as discussed before plays a major role. There is no good quality rural education available.
However non formal schools have begun to play a dramatic role in educating those who have long been ignored, that is, the country’s rural and poor. The only option children have is to gain basic literacy skills. Some people inherit lands and businesses, while others still have to work hard for it. People from rural areas migrate to the city in search for a better education, and a better job, and a better life. This growing trend of migration is because people are gradually becoming materialistic. During the last few years there have been continuous reports that indicate that violence among our youth is growing day by day. Large section of this problem is associated to the budding influence of media and other means of technology. Today the world is moving fast and to cope with this condition we have also accelerated our pace towards progress. But ironically, this is done at the cost of our social and family structure. In terms of family values and Kinship, this is where we stand with the rest of the world. Kinship and family values, much adhered to in Pakistani culture and the eastern world as a whole has lost its prominence in the western world.
They see our values as old fashioned and vintage. The first part of my essay was comparing and contrasting urban and rural systems within Pakistan and discussing the idiosyncratic differences experienced nationally. I now propose to take this essay on a new route. I would like to conflate urban and rural systems within Pakistan and compare it with the western system of “Do unto others as others do unto you”. I reach a conclusion that our (Pakistani) values and traditions though inferior in some aspects to western culture, is on an aggregate level far superior and conducive to progress. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss why then aren’t we progressing faster than western economies. I am personally of the opinion that lack of sound religious understanding is the crux of Pakistan’s underlying deep issues. It is true; the system of family businesses being passed down generations is from an economic point of view extremely inefficient and from my understanding of things can lead to a case of moral hazard.
It also has an economic cost in that some people join the family business even though they might have been better off doing something else. I believe western culture triumphs ours in this aspect. The developed world has made progress because on average relatively many more specialize in the field they are most efficient in. This is also a key distinction between urban and rural areas within Pakistan. The big urban companies aren’t abiding to this family heirloom system and hence rapid progress in some sectors of the country is being witnessed. How did our kinship and strong family bond system develop? The answer comes when on thinks about the evolution of fairness norms.
Looking back at our history, we were a few thousand years ago a hunter-gatherer society, foragers. Reciprocal altruism and food insurance kept people together in groups. A classic example to understand this point comes from the vampire bats. A vampire bat successful in collecting blood shares with hungry bats in an attempt to hedge its risk of one day starving to death. Similarly, hunter-gatherers worked in similar fashion together to give themselves the best chance of survival. This system of living worked for our ancestors not because people at the time flipped a coin to determine how to live, but because evolution saw this method as the most efficient.
I am thus convinced that in today’s modern world, this system is still by far the best. Some changes need to be made however. Us Pakistanis need to maintain this kinship culture and at the same time import all the positive attributes from western society of which the most important is education. Like Professor Binmore (London School of Economics) would say, both forms of society within Pakistan share a common deep structure; fairness and justice towards each other. Differences remain in terms of the level of education.
http://www.articlesbase.com/culture-articles/influence-of-joint-family-system-on-socioeconomic-development-of-pakistan-1807621.html#ixzz14K5R7qtH http://asian-women-magazine.com/families/arranged-love marriages.php http://cis.sagepub.com/content/7/1/81.extracthttp://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Karachi/30-Dec-2008/Family-system-collapsing-in-our-society http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinship
http://ezinearticles.com/?Family-System-in-Pakistan&id=1025541 http://www.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/pakistan/SOCIETY.html http://www.haqeeqat.org/2010/05/18/influence-of-joint-family-system-on-socio-economic-development-of-pakistan/ Binmore, K. 2003. Nature Justice.
[ 1 ]. Moral hazard is when a person can be negligent over his responsibilities due to the thought of being bailed out by others when in trouble.