Cutting Chai: Ekaki Parivar (‘एकाकी परिवार’)

Yesterday, at a social event, I heard this term for the first time: ‘एकाकी परिवार’, (Ekaki parivar); during a discussion related to family size and number of children. A point that was being made that people who move away from traditional larger families for work, have fewer children because “एकाकी परिवार में मुश्किल होता है” (In small/unitary/nuclear families, it is hard to raise children). I was intrigued by the expression and decided to look it up. Here are all the different meanings of ekaki listed in the Hindi Khoj App: Lonely, loneliness, isolation, singleness, solitariness, a lone wolf! 😳
The association is significant but unsurprising. A nuclear family was argued as too isolated a setting for bringing up children, and thus, one child’s care was also a challenge, the person said. Despite all the difficulties, having many people around was argued as more favourable for raising children.
David Lancy argues the same point in Anthropology of Childhood saying that people have more children when they know that they will have others to support them in their care. My question is, wouldn’t that actually be a reason for having more children? But yes……..I suppose it’s not just having them, they have to be cared for as well. ☺️

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