The first industrial revolution destroyed the joint family structure and gave way to nuclear family and when the world stands on the brink of the 21st century with hopes of another industrial revolution, even nuclear family structure appears to be heading for a collapse. 21st century would be the one with most complex, sophisticated differentiated and specialized society. It will be a century of fierce individualism, coupled with high degree of specialization and impersonal nature of work. People would be more concerned with earning their living and improving their career than anything else. Life would become more parasitic.
The situation is the same be it the developed countries of the west or the developing countries like India. The forces of industrialization, modernization and urbanization are together crushing family out of its life. Gone are the days of shared feelings, commonalty of interests and emotional bond that characterized family. Today a person neither appears to have time nor inclination to indulge in these luxuries. His only concern is to earn more and to build a better career for himself. The sense of individualism – individual autonomy, individual ego that makes him think of himself as being “above” others and more “important” than the others – has destroyed the very fabric of family that was based upon sharing and subservience.
Leave aside brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, man today doesn’t even have any time for his own children and his spouse. He comes late to his home, sleeps, wakes up early and goes to work again. The members of family become like aliens to each other who are just “existing” under one roof, not “living” in one home. This makes parents lose love and respect of their children. Deprived of love, care and affection of his parents, the child grows into an emotional vacuum and develops a destroyed personality. He takes to drugs and crime. The destruction of family life has also made the condition of old people worse. They lack security, care and affection that they need the most in the twilight of their life. Family that provides a safe and cozy shelter for them, today itself appears to be heading towards death. And with the forces of individualism and materialism only increasing in magnitude and ferocity, we can expect no respite for them in the 21st century.
If we do not take heed of the situation today, a time is going to come when people will forget all about sharing and giving and will remember only their life, career and money. We will have great strain on our social structure too. After all, family is a reflection of the society only. And if people are unable to live with their blood relations, not much can be expected of them for the society. So, f4actured family in the 21st century might even give rise to fractured society.
And if we want 21st century to be not just a century of technology but also a century of love and renewed friendship, we must work towards this goal from today. We may have changed our dwelling from dull caves to magnificent palaces, we may have changed our habits from eating raw flesh to sumptuous dishes, we may have changed our clothes from skin to silk robes, but unfortunately, in the process, we have lost our tender heart. This is too heavy a price to pay for development and modernization. It is not that development is not possible otherwise but it is only in this process that, we have lost our heart somewhere in between. Today the question is whether we can regain it? Yes, if we so desire, we can progress much more even without destroying our family. We only need to create a balance between our head and heart.