The term family has these not-so-fascinating meanings: 1) A social group made up of parents and their children; 2) A group of people who come from the same ancestor; 3) A group of people living together: household; 4) A group of things sharing certain characteristics. The second meaning may rattle many when told the ape is that same ancestor. Scholars are fond of quoting the phrase The world is a family, drawn from a verse of Maha Upanishad, its Sanskrit script engraved in the entrance hall of the nation’s Parliament. The other often expressed opinion in public domain that the country is a unique example of Unity in Diversity triggers thoughts on whether a) The 700-plus crore people residing in 200 countries on planet earth conform to the concept of a family and b) The goings on both in the nation’s Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of its 36 States and Union Territories represent unity amidst the many sides to diversity of the profiles of the country’s law-makers. If the hyper-active personnel of the media choose to ignore these goings on, one may feel happy with the stupor that not only the world is a family but also that the country personifies unity in diversity.
Inter-country and intra-country scenarios in our times, with the incumbent heads of different countries fuming with distasteful speeches in the General Assembly of the United Nations only shatter whatever hopes of tranquillity on Earth one wishes to experience. The conduct of 130 crore people of the land is equally cause for dismay.
In the context of the meaning of joint family changing to mean the twosome team of husband and wife, particularly in urban spaces in our times and given their volatile relationship turning sour, it is far-fetched to think of the nation’s mass as one family, not to speak of the mass of humankind across the planet. If only the now-gone several hundred kings and rulers of smaller territories of the past in the land had conducted themselves as one family, the history of India would have been vastly different. Despite the monumental work of Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950) of bringing the then rulers under one rule conforming to democratic system of government, the land’s diaspora has got into loggerheads not only among themselves but also with the successive governments.
Unlike it happened in the past when aliens exploited the disunity in the subcontinent, the country may not witness a foreign rule in a political sense. However, the country and its people will do well to mend their unedifying ways and live like one family. Many may dismiss the wish as a pipe dream.