I saw this article in the Daily. It was about a Supreme court referral to the house of legislature to consider enacting a law on live-in-relationships while pronouncing a judgement in a case regarding the same. A full page was devoted to this social issue in the paper. There were some four different related articles too apart from the main one, which discusses the issue, whereas other articles are some case studies and interviews of people having live-in-relationships.
I am of the opinion that live-in-relationships should be seen with equal respect and regard as marriage by the society.
There were times during my younger days in the sixties through seventies when this kind of relationship was practically not there across all Indian societies. There sure, were illegal relationships, which the concerned societies condemned with utmost contempt. Yet extra-marital relationships were not uncommon. A good friend of mine, a respected public loss assessor (surveyor) by profession was a bachelor having one such relationship with a widow, that too of a different religion and he had to keep it secret for over 20 years when he finally had a legal marriage. Except a few close friends like me, the woman was looked upon as a concubine. Today this very word concubine is perhaps forgotten by the society!
When live-in-relationships came to be around one and a half decade ago, most of the people kept this relationship a secret, for, the society though would not go tooth and nail in condemning, it complained of such relationships as aping the west. Slowly the attitude has changed towards this kind of relationship between man and woman, as it has become more common in metropolis and not rare in town and even rural localities. Most of these relationships end up in marriages, but continuing to live together for years on end without opting for marriage is not rare.
I personally feel live-in-relationships should be legalised. At present it is recognised only in domestic Violence Act. In my opinion, there is more mutual understanding and responsibilities in live-in-relationships than in marriages. During my times in late sixties and early seventies our elders would show us 2 or 3 to half a dozen and more photographs of prospective brides and grooms to select, when we attained marriageable age. Our elders would tell us all the prospectives are good natured and coming from good families. And the most important issue in a marriage those days was caste! When once the bride or groom was selected by seeing photographs, a 'girl seeing' (interview) programme would take place only after the horoscopes of bride and groom were matched! And some families like mine, there would be strict instructions to the boy, that there would absolutely be no chance to reject after seeing the girl!! It was considered as a blot on the girl by the mindless society if a girl was rejected after the 'seeing' programme. Not that there were no love marriages, but the society would not accept such marriages or at the most if under heavy pressure from influential parties, the society would reluctantly accept and there would be the usual function with pomp and show. There were many runaway legal marriages too, some never returning to their native place. But society would not take it lightly for years on end.
Contrast all this with today's live-in-relationships. Society should not only accept change but also encourage change for the good. After all "Satyam vada; Dharmam chara" (Truth is permanent; way of life is changing), isn't it?