VELLORE: Balwanth Jagdale’s joint family here must be an eye-opener for the people of this State, on the occasion of International Day of Families observed on Thursday. While most of the families were splitting and getting into smaller nuclear structures these days, Balwanth is going strong with a joint family comprising six families of his two brothers and three sons. Altogether 23 members (six women, eight men and 9 children) are living together as a standing testimony to ‘joy and power of living together.’
Fifty-seven-year-old Balwanth, a school dropout and a native of Sangli district in Maharashtra, came to Vellore in 1970s in search of job. He worked in a small gold and silver refinery here and later owned a similar shop himself in Vellore. Later he introduced machines to perform the refinery job and introduced precision testing of bullion, for the first time in the fort city. “The secret of success of my business venture is the joint family structure,” Balwanth declared adding, “Happiness is the source of growth and development of all kinds.” His three sons and two brothers are also helping him in the business that is growing up in a big way.
His wife Kamla said, the house had a single kitchen and food was prepared at home by all the women jointly. The women shared the household work and contrary to the belief that more people in a family resulted in more work for women, “The work is divided and is less for us,” she added. The sons shared the work of their fathers in the business and all decisions were taken jointly without giving room for suspicion or disagreement, said Balwanth’s son Deepak.
Initially, the family had some difficulty in getting the sons married as the prospective brides’ families were scared of the huge joint family. They feared that their daughters would have a tough time managing so many people. ‘But we did succeed in getting good daughters-in law, who could appreciate the power of being together and today their families are spreading the message of joint families,” said Kamla.
The biggest benefactors are the children, who love the company of elders, said another son, Santhosh. They also learn the art of living together and they grow with the concept of flexibility, compatibility and sacrifice. They also advocate the advantage of joint family system among their friends, he added.
“We want our family to be a role model for Vellore and we want people to visit us and learn how joint family system could change their attitude and the perspective of life,” Balwanth said. He also contributes regularly for a Marathi weekly Vajradhari, on family values.