In the past, the insistence of religious institutes on the family discipline, its conception of nature and purpose of marriage, the doctrine of subordination of women, all worked to make the patriarchal family a close knit corporate body. But new cultural conditions that have arisen on the wake of individualism have led to the decline of these authoritarian modes of the feudal patriarchal family. The father is no longer considered to be the patriarch, the father or husband is becoming more and more constitutional monarch, not an absolute one in the family situation.
There are no words for brothers and sisters in the Dravidian languages. However, there are words for ‘younger’ and ‘older’ brothers and sisters. A number of terms are used in common for (1) father and elder brother (Anna, Ayya), (2) mother and elder sister, (3) younger brother and son (Pirkal), and (4) younger sister and daughter (Pinnawal). These terms denote respectability to the elders and not to the actual blood relationships. The point of reference is the ego – and the persons older and younger than the ego are ranked based on their age.