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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Italian Parents ask son to leave - is Indian son far behind ?

The Europe is culturally far different than India  (at least that is what it is perceived to be !)

The legal system of HUF – the Hindu Undivided Family is unique to India and its cultural heritage.  This arises out of the living in joint families.   A joint family is an extended family arrangement prevalent (or is it fast becoming was prevalent) especially in Indian villages – a system when many generations of a family lived under the same roof.  The male members of this Joint family were blood relations – the head of the family was the patriarch – the ‘karta’ whose descendents, their wives and children  were the other members of the family.  The head of the family generally took decisions on economic and social maters binding on all the members living in the household.  The wife of the patriarch generally controls the kitchen, child rearing and religious practices.   All income went to the common pool and all property was held jointly.  .

This successful arrangement provided kind of social security and convenience.  Some of the key aspects of the joint family are : the Head of the family takes all decisions;  all members live under one roof; all share the same kitchen; generations live together; income and expenditure in a common pool; common place of worship; no division of property until the death of kartha. 

That was when the family relations were held supreme – now how many of us live in joint family or atleast have parents living along with us ? 

The Europeans and other advanced countries had a different philosophy of family and living together.  It was mostly nuclear family of married couple living with their children.  From the middle of last century, things have changed a lot with regard to family size, age of marriage, marriage stability, birthrate, marital discords, live in relationships and more..  people tend to marry later and less frequently, have fewer children, divorce more often, cohabit, single parents et. al.  -  not to denounce but their way of life and philosophy towards life is far different ! 


Somewhere read that in Italy they have strong family relationships, live near the parental family, make daily phone calls to their parents and visit them weekly – and sons generally leave their home once they are in 20s.  There are newspaper reports that a  Venice court may be asked to issue a protection order for the parents.  An Italian couple have sought legal help to persuade their 41-year-old son to fly the nest, Italian media reported.  It is reported that Venetian parents have sought legal help as their son @ 41 has a job but refuses to leave home – wanting his clothes to be washed and meals prepared.  

It is stated that a legal notice was sent to the son, advising him to leave home in 6 days or face legal action.  If he does not leave, lawyers will ask a court in Venice to issue a protection order for the elderly parents against their son.  There are reports in a similar case, the parents changed the locks after the son left home for some other work. 


Most parents in joint family sacrifice and do all the work of their children including preparing meals, washing clothes and keeping the house tidy and clean.

That way the reported occurrence in Italy should sound strange…. But not to many living in the metropolitan cities of India (and in smaller cities also) – it now mostly nuclear families.  Married couple staying in apartments with their children, staying away from their parents, their siblings and other relatives.  Separated, single parents are also not unheard of. 

And there are many civil litigations on property – disputes amongst blood relatives, brothers & sisters, parents and their son / daughters… so nothing is new….. we are fast learning all the skills of Europe and other continents.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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