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Defining relationships

Posted by Shreyans Jain Saturday, 6 December 2014 0 comments
In a nation where the act of consummating the institution of marriage is considered sacrosanct, the very mention of pre-marital sex while being in a live-in relationship as an alternative to marriage results in serious debates and even lead to agitations. Even though the Supreme Court has ruled that live-in relationships are a fundamental right of Indian citizens and are not per se illegal, any tinkering with the patriarchal family set-up is regarded as anti-family. Not only are such relationships seen as illegitimate and immoral but also an infamous product of western culture. It is a common perception among some orthodox Indian families that any form of relationship that involves any pre-marital sexual activity weakens the strong familial ties and encourage promiscuity.


What is conveniently ignored is the fact that there are different forms of co-habitation that provide an opportunity to both the partners to redefine their relationship and share powers and responsibilities equally. Such forms of relationships have the potential to check the climbing divorce rates. Often, relationships in which men tend to enslave women and condemn them to certain subordinate roles gives rise to mutual dissatisfaction and malevolence which ultimately culminates in either divorce or physical or psychological assault of one partner by the other. In other words, marriage becomes an exploitative tool in the institution of patriarchy with the female partner, in most cases, becoming an object of lust for her male counterpart.

In this ever evolving world, indulging in pre-marital sex while being in a live-in relationship is acquiring ever increasing significance. Individuals are entering into this form of relationship more out of conviction than for convenience as they feel liberated and are not bound by the compulsions of predefined marital roles. Many individuals may be ideologically opposed to the idea of letting the law dictate their personal lives, while many others may feel mauled by societal pressures and tribulations. This can, therefore, offer great respite to such individuals in pursuing a relationship of companionship unencumbered by the intrusion of property and inheritance wrangles.


Absence of legal sanctity, however, does not necessarily mean that indulging in pre-marital sex while being in an unnamed relationship with someone should be adopted as a way of life. The children born out of such relationships are the worst sufferers as they tend to have an uncertain future. Mutual conflicts, unwanted pregnancy and the lack of authority over the ‘virtual family’ often make this relationship a burden. The exploitation of women by their live-in partners cannot be ignored. It is then that consensual acts between the partners acquire forms of penal offences like rape, sexual exploitation et cetera. Moreover, relationships that do not necessarily encourage an individual to sustain a family may lead to degradation of moral values and Indian culture.

Choosing a way of life is certainly an individual’s own decision. But the choice should be made out of conviction and not merely for convenience. No form of relationship should become a means of satiating one’s carnal appetite.

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