Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Brothers and Sisters in India: A Study of Urban Adult Siblings

Article excerpt

Ramu,GN. BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN INDIA: A STUDY OF URBAN ADULT SIBLINGS. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Buffalo, London, Hard Cover, 269 pages, ISBN-13:978-0-8020-9077-5, ISBN-10:0-8020-9077-X

Prof. G.N.Ramu's timely study, "Brothers and Sisters in India" about interactions in the families in an urban setting is a most interesting book with a strikingly attractive cover of two young siblings. It is not easy to draw conclusions from findings of research in one city of India which may be applicable to other urban families in other states with different languages and cultures. The author is careful about making comparisons with the rest of India. The author should be commented for providing valuable insights about gradual adaptation of families to urban life with increasing democratic values. Some of the comments made by the respondents about sibling relationships reminded me of observations I made in my study of families in Kerala State with high level of urbanization. Present author has the advantage that Mysore is his home State where he has already done number of studies giving him excellent insight in pursuing an intensive research of urban families in Mysore city. This city is one of the very few cities in India which has maintained much of the traditional life styles while increasingly adapting to many aspects of urban living.

The introductory chapter has adequate review of literature of studies in West and in India. There is a good discussion urban adult sibling relationship in India followed by conceptual and theoretical considerations. On page 39, there is a brief and informative section about objectives of the study. The main sections of the book are chapters 2 to 5 followed by a short chapter of conclusions.

With regard to methodology, there is a comprehensive interview schedule; the study was limited to some of the siblings in one family living geographically close to each other. One might argue about only limited number of siblings in one family in the study. It is also difficult to understand the reasons for limiting the research to Hindus excluding other religious groups as mentioned on page, 47. In the urban setting of this study with 50% of women being illiterate could affect the validity of observations in a dynamic urban community.

Chapter 3 is the most interesting and informative one discussing fraternal relationships. While most of the siblings in a family tried to maintain frequent contacts they were not able to do so to physical distance limiting regular face to face contacts. Cell phones have become very useful to most urban residents for communication. E-mail is useful for the educated respondents. The ideal of maintaining close contact with siblings may not be possible if the women in the family find it inconvenient to provide hospitality to too many frequent visitors. …

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