|The Tamil classics lay great stress on
the duty of conserving the affection of relatives and dependants. It is deemed a moral
obligation to keep them well-fed and clothed out of one's wealth, a system that the Indian
social reformers of the nineteenth century thought was responsible for blocking individual
enterprise and the progress of the country.
Individualism with competition as the socio-economic basis
of life was neither rejected nor entirely accepted in Indian culture. The man and all his
relatives formed a unit, and all such units together formed society. The members of a unit
shared among themselves equally. Each was expected to toil also under the chief's
instructions and moral influence, up to the measure of his capacity. He had the right to
be maintained in equal status with every one else in that group irrespective of the
measure of his ability to contribute to its wealth.