Live-In Relationship In A Marriage-Centric India

Posted on April 2, 2012 in Society

By Madhur Gupta:

Widow Remarriage is a taboo in our culture, so are divorces and same is the case with live-in relationship. It has always been in Indian culture to act in an orthodox manner and to be rigid and unaccepting when it comes to new concepts. But, breaking free from the rustic chains of this so called “dharma” has also very much been present in this same culture.

The era was all about fun and frolic, the colourful 60s, when the concept of live-in relationships started its treacherous journey through the Indian culture. The wave to break free from all the norms made people search for a novice concept of commitment as marriage seemed to be no less than a burden. The commitment-phobic generation came out with live-in relationships, borrowed from our western neighbors.

60 years hence, this concept still stands on extremely shaky grounds. Not only is this a matter of great concern in the middle class a stratum of the Indian society but it also is not a cup of tea for the high classes as well. Unaccepted by the masses, where does this concept stand? Is it possible in our culture?

Well, for many it might not be, but for the Supreme Court of India, with a three judge bench, came out with a historic judgement, declaring that live-in relationships are no more an offence in India. For Supreme Court now the definition of live-in relationships is ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. This judgement has come out as a boon for couples who do not feel they are ready for marriage or do not believe in the institution of marriage.

However, a serious question arises in front of us- How far can this new concept go in a land of brutal honour killings and sexual harassments? Can this judgement be misused? How can it protect the couples who are opting for this from the wrath of the society?

The only answer to this is that whenever a revolution takes place, it brings with itself a plethora of troubles and hindrances, but eventually old norms deteriorate and give way to new. This is the rule of nature and live-in relationships might be in its nascent stage now but it may find acceptance someday in our Indian culture.