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Of ‘Indecent’ Live-In Relations, Materialistic Marriages And The Know-It-All Society

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By Priyanka Chakrabarty:

Let us begin by doing a very simple analysis of what constitutes the society. The basic elements are men and women. They get married, procreate, have a family and live happily ever after. Well, ideally it is that easy. But then one fine day, we human beings became aware of concepts of superiority and inferiority. It was immediately declared that men are superior and women took what was left, that is inferiority.

With this social system in place, evolution continued. Then we landed in the 21st century and all of a sudden we all wanted to be “modern”. One day while reading the newspaper, I came across an incident which proves how “modern” we are. In Bangalore, men and women who are in live in relations pretend to be married so that they can get quick accommodation. After a while, the woman starts to believe that she actually has a future with the man, till he leaves and never comes back. It is to be found later that he is already married to a woman chosen by his parents.

live in

As a result of this incident some “experts” said that girls need proper guidance. Strict rules and regulations must be imposed with regards to the exposure a girl is getting. After reading this I wanted to give a standing ovation to the individual for coming up with such an appropriate solution for the problem at hand. So basically the solution is that if you have a problem just don’t allow the female counterpart to breathe and everything will be fine.

Live in relations in our country are immediately put under the label of “indecent”. Why? Because for a change, two people had the courage to stand up for what they believed in and acted the way they considered to be appropriate without carrying out any activities which adversely affects the masses. In short, they chose the path to happiness. The girls in this case would be immediately called “maryadaheen” and “charitraheen” while the men may get away with something like “Bachoon se kabhi kabhi galti ho jati hain. Par beta aisa phir kabhi mat karna” (Kids make mistakes sometimes but son do not do it again). So now they either give in to the societal pressure and marry or they break up.

Many arrange marriages are a system of absolute mockery in our country. Based on materialism, they make us want to believe that all that glisters is indeed gold. The matrimonial sites are a classic example where a man is looking for tall, slim, fair, convent educated, knows how to cook and sing girl. On the other hand a woman is looking for a man having a higher end five digit salary, owns property, good looking is not a compulsory criteria but an added bonus. Marriages are indeed made in heaven.

Sometimes I wonder if we are living in an ideal society. Because living in such a place absolutely requires no effort on our part. We do not have to think, because we must act according to predetermined standards. We do not have to be rational because reasoning is prohibited. We just have to act and live by the societal norms which are not difficult to follow considering we have the entire society handholding us. Life is just so much easier and effortless that it makes you want to sing:

“Haste Haste
Kat Jaye Raste
Duniya Yuhi Chalti Rahe
Kushi Mile ya Gaam
Badlenge Naa Hum
Duniya Chahe Badalti Rahe”

You must be to comment.
  1. Raj

    Wow what a complete no-brainer line that men are superior and women took whatever was left. Far more men get killed defending and building the society yet they are the superior ones!
    Anyway coming to marriage, I believe that the system of marriage must be abolished. If people want to enter a legal binding contract over how they will co-habit and share their wealth, they can do at their own expense and call it a marriage. The Govt. as such should make no law either encouraging or discouraging the voluntary association of adults. There should be absolutely no laws regarding marriage, divorces, alimony etc. and certainly no benefits doled out to married couples. Regarding children, that can be decided by guardianship laws, which can exist without the need of marriage. (Sushmita Sen is a single mother, she is bound by law to take care of her kid despite her not being married. She can treat her kid in no worse way than a married couple can treat their kids.)

    1. Krishna Prasanth

      Your comments sadly enough are again so idealistic and bereft from reality that they hold water. You want to abolish marriage in a country with a 70% Hindu population?Sad that you don’t see sentiments being hurt, social backlash, don’t see culture and tradition being compromised. Abolishing won’t stop people from sticking to their traditions all the same.Then what about the injustices meted out by men within this construct? The most awesome part is there should no laws on marriages, divorce and alimony. You have never seen the patriarchy manifest it self in it’s most ruthless from in the rural areas where men marry as many women as they want, with as many divorces leaving women and their children hapless with nothing to live on. Moreover, how are women meant to divorce men if law doesn’t come to their rescue. Patriarchy will perpetuate itself. Law ensures that there are grounds on which women can take divorce, which of course won’t exist anymore in your model.Women will be doomed to stay in a marriage as long as husbands want and leave when husbands want, with no benefits in either situation.

    2. Raj

      I don’t want to abolish marriage, I just want it to be made a personal matter and not a Govt. matter. People should be allowed to have their own mutual agreeable rules of marriage. Someone might want a Hindu marriage, some one might want a gay marriage.The basic rule of law will reign supreme in any case and individuals will be protected in any case, married or not. People will still be free to get married, who is stopping them? Who’s sentiments am I hurting? Isn’t this a good thing that every Hindu can get married however he or she wants, gays can get married etc.

      And once again stop blaming patriarchy, stop blaming men for everything. It’s common refrain that sexist opportunists use to malign a whole gender
      Sadly it is you who are chauvinistic because you assume that women can’t get jobs nor can they raise kids on their own. A woman doesn’t need a man to support her, that’s a regressive idea. A woman can and must support herself in the exact same way a man can and must support himself.

      Both men and women can “marry” how many ever times they want. So what? Who are you to judge these individuals? Is it any of your business? If you want to stick to one wife or one husband, who is stopping you? How does their marriage hurt your marriage? Do gays getting married hurt your straight marriage?

      Now coming to kids, don’t have kids if aren’t prepared to take care of them. Your kids are your kids, your job to take care of them, not the society’s and not the Govt.s I am also pro-abortion choice, so women need not have kids even if their contraception fails.

      Regarding divorces, who is stopping the woman from leaving the man? Already the law takes care of threats and coercion and illegal confinement for married and non-married individuals. She can just leave him. Obviously the question comes of the property. I believe the property division issue should be sorted out before getting married. I oppose this idea that the married woman must get half the man’s property upon divorce. Let her earn her living just like everyone else does.

      You are suggesting that I am abolishing marriages and then saying how will divorce happen. Without marriage, divorce is an irrelevant concept.

      Regarding idealistic, well giving woman and black the right to vote was very idealistic too. But not any more. I too hope that individualism will triumph over tribalism.

  2. Avik

    Pipe down a little. No man gets away with a pat in the back anymore. Women and men are in this equally and society looks at them equally. If your experience of society has shown you the male centric face, just remember that it is how you have experienced or seen it. In my experience which includes several friends both women and men, it is the women that get far more advantages and privileges than men. And if matrimonial is a way to see the picture of Indian women, let me make it clear for you that it is the women (mothers generally) of the male that goes around making the matrimonial advertisements. So technically it’s women begetting women. So leave men out of it. When mother and wife fight it is the man ewho takes the brunt of it. Since ages it has always been the women who were the brains behind all men’s operations (read mother, wife, sister) so don’t blame men for what women have stereotyped them to be. Also, if you are so eager to blame the society for being male centric then atleast 49% of your society (considering the bad sex ratio of Indian population) is women and they are to be blamed too. Remember this that it was always men who wanted to bring equality into the equation. It’s the women who did not want that. The was always the mother of the son that used to make the wife perform Sati. It was the mother (along with an aloof father) of the son who spoils a child whether it be a woman or man. So chill a bit and know that what society is now is equally because of women whether you live in a male centric society or not. It is the women who go around talking about stuff like this with other women and spread bad news/rumors/masala to other people. Men on the other hand get to hear from their mother or wife or sister.

    1. Raj

      I think you are generalizing too much. You are portraying men as innocent fools and women a scheming witches. There are bad people on both sides

  3. Shanthi Cheriyan

    More than who gets greater percent of the blame it is about why blame at all? Why does the society still consider the live-in relations as taboo? A guy and girl is accepted as a couple only if they take vow and get into an agreement to live together as husband and wife in front of hundred people. In a country where the number of divorces is increasing every day, it’s not like this agreement or people can hold them together if they decide to end the marriage. So what makes marriage different from a live-in relationship?

    1. Raj

      Agreed, the society and the Govt. has no business poking their nose in what other people are doing voluntarily as long as they aren’t harming anybody. There is no difference between the 2, except the Govt. subsidizes and legislates marriages.

    2. shershah

      This is a true example of selfishness at its best , I am asking you suppose a girl is in live in relationship , its obvious she would tend to reject the grooms being searched by her parents , parents are living in a society and they are answerable to the society as men r social animals,so what ll the poor parents reply to the society and how ll they introduce her partner ,look ! my daughter is a concubine of this man! i am asking you the nomenclature of this live in partner . And suppose your live in partner leave you after using you then again you become a burden for your own family ,so are you hell bent to destroy your family?

    3. Raj

      Is the girl some cow that her owners have to sell her off to some cowherd to take care of her? She can earn her money and live her life single. It is sad that you think that women are not humans. Why don’t you go and sell some lions?

    4. shersah

      I am sure you dont have daughter or sisters and you r a womanizer you have nothing to do with the liberty of woman you just want to satisfy your lust we r in neo liberalism era wherein we like organised retail chain but unorganized and disheveled society ,dont you think girls should also shoulder responsibility towards their parents .If law has given all the right to a girl like a son if a son can look after their parents why should girls shun their responsibilities ,because they are girls ,people abuse some one calling the name of someones daughter or sister and these shameless woman are helping their f*****s in abusing his father and brothers that too practically ,they are surely prostitutes.Because only prostitute can tolerate someone abusing their family,.Law says ;without solemnization no marriage is valid ,so if her partner marries someone according to his prevalent rituals his earlier relationship would be considered void .In this situation suppose woman is not working again she ll return to her parents and her parents ll become a pariah in the society as he alone cant change the society so for whole life because of her irresponsible decision her father brother have to hang his head in shame and they ll be finished for whole life cuz a person without self respect and dignity cant be successful in life ,and because of these prostitutes d whole family is destroyed ……… .

  4. Baldeep Grewal

    The article is engaging and well written. A little less negativism would have been welcome. As for the debate between live-in relationships and marriage this issue cannot be summed up in a 1000 words or even 10,000 words. Its not just about the kind of morality one follows (traditional, instinctive or reflective) people need to be mature and to an extent, cautious while choosing the kind of relationships they engage in. Its a bad, broken world and people lie which is sad. In the incident that you mentioned the problem was not that the couple was in a live-in relationship. The issue was that the woman had been blindly trustworthy of her partner’s background and the man had been reckless and greedy. Trust is not a thing to be played with. The reason they were not married was because the man could not legally have entered into another marriage. History shows that when the society changed the family structure immediately reflected that change. For example: after capitalism took hold in the West in the post War era the concept of the nuclear family emerged. In India, the social change is slow and the structures of households reflect that. If we are to make live-in relationships acceptable, such relationships should be felt needful in light of a drastic social change. Till then we continue to walk in millennium cities with medieval mindsets.

  5. Saumya Sahni

    I so damn swear by whatever that has been expressed. Patriarchy and modernity exist in a strange land called India. We are regressive. We are just covering ourselves under the veils pf pseudo- modernism.

  6. Krishna Prasanth

    It’s true that the way people prescribe solutions to issues are often anti-women, especially in rural India or families which are yet to offload patriarchal perceptions. But calling the Indian marriage system a mockery because people pursue materialistic goals when choosing their partner is kind of frivolous. When boys and girls look for boyfriends and girlfriends to have live-in relationships with, it’s the same priorities. Boys look ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy’ girls while girls look for rich guys who are tall, broad etc etc. These so called materialistic goals are but natural instincts and desires; the human mind certainly has certain inbuilt preferences. Ofcourse every boy and girl doesn’t get the ideally desired person, and people do find love in such people over time but expecting that these natural desires should somehow be restricted and not be expressed is not just. Every person, irrespective of his/her culture, pursues similar desires(in most cases) in this regard and has the right to express and pursue his/her desires. Hence, blaming Indians doesn’t make sense. Women are as demanding as men are in this regard, so it’s both the genders who suffer and reap the benefits.

    1. Raj

      Why call it patriarchy when both men and women are affected. I agree with the rest; people should have the right to associate for whatever reasons they wish including materialistic ones.

    2. Krishna Prasanth

      I talked of anti-women solution to issues being meted out by families which yet live with a patriarchal mindset. This was with respect to the idea of live-in relationships and how some narrow-minded patriarchal people ascribe restrictions on women as solutions to the so called issue.This comment has nothing to do with people posting advertisements for marriages as all these people posting ads aren’t necessarily patriarchal. Moreover,the above article takes a jibe at Indian marriage outside the context of patriarchy. So the first line and the rest of the article are actually on two separate issues. I guess that wasn’t clear.

    3. Raj

      I am against the use of the word patriarchy since it unfairly blames the entire male gender as being oppressive, whereas it is just a few members who have the power. In our society far more men than women get killed and injured building and defending the society, so I would hardly call it patriarchal. This word subverts the whole discussion and attempts to play gender politics. We are all individuals and must be treated as such. Gender is largely irrelevant, whether of the perpetrator or of the victim.
      The word that you’d want to use is regressive, traditional or tribal.

      The rest of your points that you made, and this article raises, I am in agreement

  7. Aditi Thakker

    Why does it matter what the society has to say? Live-in relationships are legal, and if any children are born out of such relationships, their guardianship is taken care of too. What does society have to do with what you do in your personal life?

    In your example about the live-in couple of Bangalore, I think you are misusing the word ‘modern’. The girl in this relationship was a bit too stupid to have taken for granted that her live-in partner will marry her or want a future with her. Unless they expressly discussed a future, its just a relationship. Also, there are just as many women leaving their partners for a future with someone else. Works both ways.

    A lot of what you are ‘allowed’ to do, depends on what you really want to, and are capable of doing. Nobody but yourself can stop you from doing anything.

    1. Raj

      Well put

  8. Rajaram

    The society we are living in, is far from ideal, where live-in relationships invite dirty looks. It’s true that we are social animals, but living our life solely for the society is pointless, which is status quo.

  9. Harshita Srivastava

    I wouldn’t comment much over here, mainly ’cause a lot has been said and discussed on the write-up as well as comments. All I wish to see is a solution for a discussion that has for long undertaken the hues of argument.

  10. Nirbhay Gupta

    I am not against the concept of live-in relationship but this is a new concept to our society( I might be wrong..). Live-in’s are more prominent in metro cities, since nowadays parents are giving girls more independence than earlier so they are also getting equal opportunities to work and make their careers. Having a career and being independent is important factor for a women’s confidence. With that freedom choosing your life partner in this patriarchal society is itself a feat. But girls have to be a little careful…I have a girlfriend and I would want to be with her in a live-in, but she has upper hand in the decision..her decision matters, she should trust me before she even takes it. I have a sister ..if she falls in love with some one, its totally okay.The decision is totally hers to go into live-in but I would wish that she discusses with some-one who can give some good advice. We are in a society where a girl’s chastity is very important to her( we are modern adopting a lot from west but our roots stem from the culture in which we were brought up.) so these betrayals might become a stigma in her own mind. We all are living in the fast lane. Life is it full, but be careful.

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