Premarital relationships have become more of a rule than an exception among the youth of urban India. Abstinence is no more an unsaid regulation; in fact it is now a choice. The fundamental ideological conflict on the issue is because of its different legal and social status. Legally as per the recent judgment by the Madras high court, a couple in a premarital relationship is treated as married in the eyes of the court. Socially however, most Indians cannot envisage a relationship between a man and a woman outside of marriage and continue to perceive cohabitation as an act of immorality which they think goes against “Indian Values”.
In my opinion, today’s youth are in the process of embracing their freedom and are consciously on guard against anything that they perceive may clip their wings. Marriage to most of, especially the women is the metaphorical chain that will bind them to the ground and prevent them from reaching the heights they strive to attain. The inherent contrast between our values and our independence paint an exceedingly colourful picture in the form of this issue.
I am in no way justifying the casual misuse of sex or diminishing its far-fetched ramifications. If two consenting adults who are not married but are firmly in love with each other, have taken all the necessary precautions to avoid potential ill effects, realize fully what they are doing and have thought rationally about their actions then who on earth has the right to say that premarital sex is “bad”. We cannot brand sex as good or bad but we must also point out that it is a big step and not to be taken lightly.
As far as the social apprehensions of going against Indian values are concerned, I would like to remind these moral policemen that as mythology would have it, Krishna and Radha had a deep bond of love without entering the institution of marriage. The point to note though is that their relationship was accepted even in those times and is surprisingly accepted even today by the same group that preaches about the immorality of premarital relationships. I cannot help but notice the gross contradiction here.
Sure, premarital sexual relations have increased the transmission of HIV-AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and the incidence of unwanted pregnancies but the solution to these problems lie in safer sex rather than absolute abstinence.
A premarital relationship should be seen as a prelude to a long lasting marriage or for that matter, if it works a “forever” bond. It helps give an insight to two young individuals about the inner workings of a one of the most intense relationships of humankind. With the rate of divorces and broken marriages skyrocketing in the country the concept of premarital relationships increase the chances of stability and sense of responsibility among individuals.
In the end, I believe that if the government comes out with laws to protect the interests of and regulates premarital relationships then it will ultimately enhance social acceptability. In turn a social order would be established where those youth who want to can explore their relationships, strengthen their commitment and strive for solid long lasting relationships.\