The Changing Lives & Relationships, Then & Now

The recent observations on Live-in Relationship and gay rights favored by the Supreme Court, the trails and tribulations of the working mothers and the neglecting aged people in recent times have been the topics of discussion by many people through the media. All these provide very interesting reading not only because of their topicality but also how our Indian population holds different views on life and relationships.

‘Changes are the permanent things in this world’ is the most accepted dictum. But the human relationship is something which has always been complex notwithstanding that many holds the view that love and affection were deeper in olden days than today.

I am also a senior citizen now and have experienced and witnessed the changes that are taking places in lifestyle and relationship around me. It is true with the economic independence the first causality was the joint family system. Leaving the in-laws and having nuclear family was considered once a taboo or rebellion; but today it is an accepted norm and many parents themselves set houses for their children once they get married with special care. Family dramas have been replaced by action movies and live-in relationships have been part of many of the Hindi movies released in recent times. In fact, nuclear families avoid the unwanted ruckus in the joint family and the maturity to accept the dignity and privacy and personal space has come to many now.

The Supreme Court and laws and the Constitution of India pose many morals and ethics, no doubt. Have they been strictly followed in the completely disorderly country like India? According to law murder, mayhem, adultery, bigamy, dowry, polygamy, misappropriation of public funds, bribery, arson, looting, treason, brothel, cheating, female foeticide and untouchability all come under criminal offences. Have we done away with all these in the last 60 years of our own democracy? Irrespective of the laws and punishment in a ‘really’ and ‘totally’ democratic country like India people continue to live the way they like.

Just because the Supreme Court favored Live-in Relationship and declared Homosexuality cannot be termed as crime, the society is not going to take a sea change. India’s cultural moorings and ethos have been ingrained in the blood of most of the Indians. If one looks at the percentage of live-in couple in the total populace of 1100 millions of Indians how many would be indulging in it or will try to take advantage of the statement of the Judges and start revolting to the parents on this issue? In India, honestly speaking, marriages are best business propositions than holy institutions for the men folk since they get money, free sex and a servant maid who can bring monthly income too in case she is employed. Similarly, we are not reading any same sex marriages or thousands of men and women coming out of the closet just the court approved gay and lesbian relationship. Inter caste and inter religious marriages were scorned at one point (even today in some places!) but the movies with this theme are still popular.

For the upstarts of the present society whose sons and daughters are earning in dollars and staying abroad this sort of live-in relationship is confined to the foreign land as long as it is not going to trouble them much. Only if it happens in India, the parents need to prepare themselves with answers for the nosey relations and the curious society they have around.

Regarding the grand parents to help the grand children and engaging them with tales and extra cultural activities, those days have gone long back. Even my grandma was a very docile, home loving and polite woman who knew nothing but to work from morning to evening. She was an illiterate and my advocate grandpa never bothered to educate her. She has been a slave to her husband and in-laws in her early life, then to her husband and in the last leg of her life to her sons and daughters. I am not ashamed to tell this but I know many grandmas were like her in my own family and relative circles.

It is true with single child syndrome, the uncles and aunties may not be there. But definitely the friends’ circle is large for most of the younger generation and they come and help them in difficult situations without hesitation. Relationship can be valued not based on blood but on the good nature and willingness of the persons to share the happiness or sorrow.

Laws in India are unfortunately used to punish only the timid, vulnerable and unwanted persons or to settle scores with those who try to fight the establishments. Otherwise, everything existed in all periods and will continue to exist. Similarly, women with native intelligence irrespective of education or employment have been courageous to face the society and fight for justice and those who lack self respect and courage still remain doormats for men notwithstanding their social status. I was surprised to learn that a popular writer in Tamil who seriously promoted the views on the uplift of women had to go through the ordeal of proving herself as the legal heir of her dead husband because she had no children and was unaware of the fact that the husband had not nominated her name during his life time. Ulitmately she had been cheated by her own kin and finally landed in a old age home with the help of some well wishers.

The present day society is mainly driven by media publicity and patronage. So they see to that no stone unturned to fan debate and counter arguments as much as possible. But the truth is man or woman lives the life they want, prefer and choose in India.       


More by :  G Swaminathan

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