Blog: The Status of the Family in Mauritius
We have always thought of the family as the prime engine of social organisation and the spearhead of progress or degradation. The importance of the family is corollary to the sacred status given to marriage and the view that the child is, above all, one who perpetuates the name of the family. The wear and tear of institutions, the erosion of the primal meaning of social values, the dereliction of seriousness of social practices have caused a rebellion against these very values that were hallowed at a certain time but have become constraining with time.
Technology is the most dangerous threat to the possibility of integrating the family. It has scattered the family across generational lines, disturbed the strength of thought as a unifying base, shaped conflictual approaches to life, divided life into equally valid polarities. The criterion of right and wrong has evaporated to such an extent that the old and the young fight on parallel lines. Technology has given the young an edge over the old. The world of today gives precedence to those who master practical skills even if they lack a thought-base. Too often the family is subjected to dominating needs. The members become tools of extraneous factors, like wealth, fame, success, victory or defeat. The family loses its essential value and raison d’etre and becomes subservient to factors that have no intrinsic link with the family. Our own Ministry lacks a structure for the management of the family. It is more reactive than proactive. It should inspire by its ideals. It cannot be a sitting duck and wait for abuse to justify its presence. It cannot be content with a calendar of activities of leisure on beaches or in parks to justify itself. Not enough thought has been given to what justifies a Ministry responsible for the family for a Minister to invent an agenda for State intervention. What is this Ministry’s responsibility at a time when government is taking a bold decision of legalising abortion in certain conditions? Apart from enforcement is there any action done to attenuate the incidence of family violence?
Have we studied the impact of our primary education system on the family? Is anybody studying the impact of lottery games on cohesion in the family? We seem to be content with figures describing our access to goods in the market to express our sense of personal fulfillment. The family does need a Ministry to look after itself. The Ministry still needs a philosophical base.