The world is a family
One is a relative, the other stranger,—Maha Upanishad
say the small minded.
The entire world is a family,
live the magnanimous.
lift up your mind, enjoy
the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.
“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”– the world is one family, says the Indian Scriptures. Some of the historians and commentators believe that the Gandhian vision of holistic development and respect for all forms of life; nonviolent conflict resolution embedded in the acceptance of nonviolence both as a creed and strategy; was an extension of the ancient Indian concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th May every year, proclaimed by the UN in 1993, reflects the importance the international community attaches to the families.
Development of any country is linked to the development of society and families. The family is the smallest building block of society and the most important and the foundation of society. Having strong familial bonds provides support and a safe environment that are necessary for an individual’s development. The most formative years of one’s lives are spent growing up with their families. Celebrating the family is an opportunity to dwell on the issues relating to the families and increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
This year it is the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action and comes at one of the most challenging global health and social crises. As the world is struggling to cope up with COVID-19 pandemic, arises an opportunity to rethink and transform the way the societies function to foster greater equality. COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus the importance of investing in social policies protecting the most vulnerable. It is the families who bear the brunt whenever crisis dawns, sheltering the members from harm, caring for the children and continuing their work responsibilities. How else we can understand the large number of migrant workers, making intense efforts to go back to their homes, being with the family being the driving force. Crisis is the time, you look to your family, bank on their support.
Often the family is appreciated but not given priority in developmental efforts. It is paramount that the stability of the communities largely depends on the strength of the family. The importance of investing in family-oriented policies for the achievement of specific targets under sustainable developmental goals is being stressed. The very achievement of development goals depends on how well families are empowered to contribute to the achievement of these goals.
Another important aspect of family life is the work-family balance, in pursuit of achieving materialistic benefits, many spend disproportionate time at work. Early burnouts, becoming directionless at a very young age, increase in the lifestyle-based diseases challenging the health care systems, are all being experienced by the societies. Many are searching to find ways of optimising work-family balance. Elder members in the family playing an important role in restoring the balance.
With the number of families where both the parents working is increasing and the contours of the family getting transformed. Newer support systems are being sought and emerging. Another big change emerging is the need to put in place support system to the elderly, with a good number of people pursuing their careers in far off places in search of greener pastures. Families around the world are changing, many becoming smaller and the number of single-parent households growing.
Family need not necessarily always be blood relations. The people in your lives and those who want you in theirs, the ones who accept you for who you are and the ones who love you no matter what.
Time to introspect, what family means to you, and how you can get close to the people you love. After all, no matter what, in the journey of one’s life, a family is family.
Toons by Reema Jaiswal and Taskeen Bhat
Logs by Kartikay Shukla and Sai Baba