The Family in Global Transition

By Gordon L. Anderson | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
THE HINDU FAMILY: CONSTRAINTS OF THE PAST, STRAINS OF THE PRESENT

Sushil Panjabi

The Hindu family today is a collage of contrasting and conflicting images embossed on the canvass of a tension ridden society. The post-independence strains of a technological onslaught, cross-cultural currents and communal discord, and of the more recent media explosion of the nineties have all drawn up against traditional Hindu value systems to give rise to these tensions. In fact, the contemporary realities of a multireligious and multicultural Indian society in transition are such that they completely undermine the monolithic notion of an unvariegated Hindu family.

The approach to the Hindu family in this paper is not based on any particular "ism" or ideology, but is an attempt to understand it as a signifier of a particular social order with a certain ideal, in the context of its own religio-philosophical and social setting.

Deeply entrenched in a tardily changing social matrix in the midst of globalization and the information explosion, the Hindu family faces the challenge of retaining its specific cultural identity even as it participates in the process of a contemporary homogenizing globalization. On the one hand the tyrannical backward pull of the samskaras (early impressions/realization of past perceptions), impedes this onward march; and on the

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