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Of Love, Live In Relationships And The ‘Bharatiya Parampara’ !

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By Rahul Muralidharan:

Radha: Hey Anu, that Sanjay and Pinky in your apartment, very nice couple na?

Lakshmi: Aiyyo, Radha! They are not married, just living together!

Radha: Narayana! Eeshwara! Cheee! What do you mean living together?

Lakshmi: They live in the same house like husband and wife, but not married. It’s called live in relationship or something. They were playing some court judgment on news the other day . Sigh! All western culture spoiling our society

Radha: Aiyyo Raama Seriously ya… Our society is going to dogs. All westernization!


The recent Madras HC judgment on live in relationships has got the Radhas and Lakshmis of our society talking about a much tabooed topic “Live in Relationships”. The concept is alien to our “Bharatiya Parampara” though such relationships are becoming increasingly popular in metropolitan cities. Simply put , a live in relationship is a mutual agreement between two partners who agree to stay with each other without marriage. They live together as a couple to check their compatibility and if they don’t get along they separate. There are lot of proponents of live in relationships who say that this arrangement helps them bond with their partner without any societal bonds. It is like a trial run before taking the ultimate plunge into marriage. Both the partners will be able to understand how living with each other can be and help the relationship blossom without any diktats. In the worst case , if things don’t work out , the option of parting ways without any legal or social tangles is also open. Sounds convenient ? Right ?

Well , things aren’t always as perfect as they seem . There is a flip side to this as well. The absence of any social responsibility leads to some people misusing the relationship and frequently switching partners. This can lead to cases of emotional trauma and suicide. Remember Jiah Khan? She committed suicide after her live in partner Suraj Pancholi “cheated” on her. Getting into a relationship without any commitments can be a double edged sword. There is still a lot of social taboo associated with live in relationships. That makes daily life for a couple very difficult as they have to endure the gossips from their neighbors and reprimands from their families.

The social aspect notwithstanding , the legal aspect can’t be ignored. In India, there exists only one kind of legal relationship between a couple and that social union is termed as “Marriage”. Till recently, only the rights of married couples was recognized and established. A landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in 2010 opined that a man and woman living together without marriage cannot be construed as an offence. Since then, several judgments have been passed which confer rights to women and children in live in relationships at par with those in marriages. However, there are preventive measures only against physical violence. What remain outside the legal ambit are acts of emotional cruelty, like emotional blackmail or misuse of joint assets. These are risks that live-in couples often experience in India. On the legal front, there should be new laws pertaining to live in relationships. The live-in relationships should be presumed as permanent after a specific period of time. The children born out of such relationships should be guaranteed the rights of inheritance and succession

My take is that live in relationships are definitely here to stay. It is a matter of personal choice and does provide an opportunity for people to live under the same roof before tying the knot. At the same time, people should be aware of the risks and social taboo involved and take a call. Everyone has their own views and must take a decision rationally. In the words of King Khan “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist, so just keep walking…”.

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  1. nihalparashar

    Hey Rahul,
    Quick observations:
    1) Why only Lakshmis and Radhas talking about the tabooed topic and criticizing it? Many Narayanas and Venkatesas, Shahids, Asifs, Anikets and Nihals also talking about it.
    2) Its not ‘King Khan’ who spoke these words, but Nietzsche- just that your ‘King Khan’ did not credit the right person and added a ‘so just keep walking’ in the end 🙂

    1. Rahul

      Hi Nihal,
      I am not saying that guys don’t talk about issues or gossip 🙂 but I felt that the probability of such a conversation happening between Radhas and Lakshmis is more.
      I was not aware that Nietzsche said that statement . I stand corrected on that 🙂
      Thanks for letting me know 🙂


    2. Raj

      Actually young men in general would congratulate the guy on being able to convince his gf into a live-in relationship. The opposition is more against the woman in such cases.

  2. Trishla

    Just one thing that I want to add to your article, live in relationships areoften misconceived as relationships without a commitment. I am sorry but a monogamous arrangement between a Couple with or without marriage is a serious commitment. It is also a responsibility. People can often marry the wrong parter, fall in Love with the wrong person, end up being cheated or suffer, these facts have nothing to do with if the coupe, in question is living in or are married. Although, there are laws to protect your rights if your relationship is legally accepted and defined, but at times such definitions aggravate your plight, for example we have no laws against marital rapes… Legally speaking, yes, perhaps we need more laws to protect people within live in relationships. But please do not misconstrue live in relationships as relationships without responsibilities, or where people are not really committed to each other…..

    1. Raj

      I think Govt. should keep out of marriage completely. Why should I, a bachelor, have lesser rights than a married man?
      And regarding marital rape, I believe rape laws must be amended and made “sexual assault” laws and every individual within or without a relationship must be protected. Especially male victims should be protected against sexual assault by female perpetrators rape since our laws don’t cover that

  3. Rihaan Patel

    Who is right, who is wrong.. lets not go into that. You shared your view. Here is mine.

    Bhartiya Parampara is not bad, but it is people who misinterpret Bhartiya parampara. Live in Relationship is right.. bt pls dont use Bhartiya Parampara in the synonyms of bad thing. I live with Dignity with my Bhartiya Parampara.. difference is I interpret it in the context of humanity. And bad people don’t have name. They exist in all society and in all religion.

  4. Abhishek P

    “Radha: Aiyyo Raama Seriously ya”
    No body talks like this, nobody.

    these things just shows your “indian inferiority complex”, that you are suffering from white mans baggage. when people constantly compares themselves with west (read white skin) and wants to be like them in every way possible, even to the point of ridiculing your own culture just trying to “fit-in”, shows the self hate and complex.

    * live-in doesnt even work in west, so how it will work in indian context.

    * if live-In relationship is not a western concept then what is it? martian concept. it came out based on “western needs” which i listed below.

    people supporting and people opposing should ask WHY live-in concept came into existence, what was the need. people live together in west because of multiple reasons, 3 biggest reasons are-

    1. to avoid the legal troubles in case of divorce
    2. in west a lot of people are non-religious atheists, so they dont want to have religious ceremony.
    3. 3rd reason to save on taxes because once married income of both couples are combined and high income group needs to pay high taxes.

    so what are the indian reasons ?

    1. Voice of reason

      @ Abhishek P – what do you mean by Indian reason, you do not need a reason for being in a live in, you love your partner and want to be with her/him and thats it. This article is actually about people like you who try to reason out even emotions. I know that most think that Live-in relations have no emotional base and it is all about having fun, but honestly you cant get anymore wrong than that. The fact of the matter is such relationships should not be tabooed , if a male and a female choose to live together, who is the society or any one in it to ask them why. Why should anyone ask for a reason.

      As for live-in relationships working or not working, dude i am sure ( actually not sure) that you are matured enough to understand that it completely depends on the couple in question and cannot be generalized. And honestly ending a relation is much better then suffering life long abuses and mental trauma ( goes for both men and women).

      Now on the origin of Live-in relations, why do we need to care where did live-in relationship originated from, as long as the couple or people in question are happy, it should not matter to anyone else .

      We live in a country where in you are expected to choose who will rule your country after 18 years of age but many a times not considered intelligent enough to choose your partners. I am not against our parampara or traditions, all i am saying is that beyond all traditions, cultural values and religious dogmas, sense and rationale should prevail. If a couple wants to Live-in they should be allowed to do so and the pseudo intellectuals should stop asking for a reason for the same

    2. Abhishek

      Your name of “Voice of reason” and you say you dont know the reason why you need to be in live-in? what you are going to answer to like your parents, whats the reason? to save Rs. 5000 on court fees for marriage or just want casual sex. ? real life is not bollywood movie that “oh we love each other thats enough”

      i have completed my education in abroad so i know what works and what doesnt, when it doesnt even work in west, how is it even going to work in india.

      whoes responsibility will be multiple kids from multiple father born out of live-in? because since then the boy would have left. girls responsibility only? and what kind of future will those kids have being dependent on single parent.

      and why is that in the indian context after few yrs of live-in the girls files rape charges, for “having sex on the promise of marriage.” is live-in some kind of temporary phase before marriage. just shown nakal main bhi akal chaihiye.

    3. sneha

      Lol. You’re funny.
      You’re the one compartmentalizing being Indian and then need a reason to prove that the topic in question is Indian. Live ins are NOT happening because of people’s nationality, it is because people love. Familiarise yourself with “collective consciousness” it I’d real. 🙂
      And even if it is a western concept, aren’t we global?

    4. Abhishek

      there are always two sides of a same thing, and that is not i am mordern, and you are backward. that is called For and Against. hehe 🙂 not me but the avg indian youth is making themselves as a single block, any anyone who agrees with them is modern and anyone who doenst agree with them is backward. more like suffering from colonial hangover. hehe 🙂

      “Live ins are NOT happening because of people’s nationality, it is because people love.”

      i never said nationalist. i said, live-in was a product of western needs (problem – solution) and that is why i asked for indian reasons.

      “And even if it is a western concept, aren’t we global?”

      would have looked better if a westerner have said that, it is like you gone to a party and chat for hours, clicked a few picture with a actor and then your start proclaiming that we are friends, the other person never said that. in the same way all this global citizen, 21th century youth are nothing but fascination. truth is 1$ = Rs.60, and trust is the energy consumption of 1 American = 8 Indians.

    5. himanshu

      Abhishek p ….a good one …..thanks for keeping an open mind……

    6. loveracism

      I am not saying wrong the social institution of marriage but whether there is need to spent so much time and money on just a simple ceremony of marriage along with dowry.Live in relationship is far better than costlier marriage.Another thing is that partners should understand each other before marriage, what if some misunderstanding will create after marriage, there will be no option other than divorce.There is no copy of western culture, but it is the need of today.Whether child is property of parents on whom they impose their wish.In live in relationship,when any one of the partner breach the trust,it is said to be rape because she/he promised to live together.
      Here in India law provides every one equal rights but society and religion stop to equates them.I thought, there must words used in any oath ceremony “I will obey the rules made by the religion not by law.”

  5. B

    Aren’t they considered permanent after 7 years?

  6. sneha

    Well written article except for one little truth that got ignored. Couples in live in relations don’t just check their compatibility and prepare to get married. There are people who don’t believe they need to get married to be able to share a lifetime.
    It isn’t a big deal that you left this out but this is how this little sect will get discriminated and alienated. An all encompassing view to matters as this is important.

  7. himanshu

    And the cycle goes on…..girls …men are using you as a sex object since a long time now and it is only in India that women were respected …..Go and search in history…..they will never understand that they are being used as sex objects in different way in the different place at the same time…..this live in is another way of luring women into sex ….make them pregnant or abort the child ….I any way they will suffer… go on girls sleep with different men ……you will find many ….waste your life and relax…….

  8. Rajiv

    “Radha: Narayana! Eeshwara! Cheee!
    Radha: Aiyyo Raama Seriously ya…”

    Why not “Astagfirullah, O Allah” or “Oh Jees” because there might me a threat of violence. what a moron.

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