According to Wikipedia, “Cohabitation is an arrangement where two or more people are not married but live together. They often involve a romantic or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis.’’
It is an arrangement where two adults live together with each other’s consent.
Now, why am I writing the definition of live-in relationships all of a sudden?
I chose to write this description because recently the Rajasthan Human Rights Commission (RHRC) has proved my perspective towards Indian society wrong.
Before their historic action of pleading to the state government to enact a law against live-in relationships just to protect the dignity of women, I used to think, at least urban Indians are well aware of the meaning of live-in relationships.
According to the commission, this kind of relationship should be prohibited because it hampers the respect of women and in such relationships women are treated as nothing but ‘concubines’.
It is important to note that, this statement was given by the chief of RHRC Mahesh Chandra Sharma who made headlines before by stating,
“Peacock is a Brahmachari and it does not have sex with a female peacock. The peahen gets pregnant drinking the tears of the peacock. Even Lord Krishna carried the feather of a peacock on his head.”
Retired Justice Sharma quoted various decisions of the Supreme Court on live-in relationships and said, women need to stay away from such relationships as it is “against their human rights”.
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Wah Sharma Ji! Wah! Kya sahi farmaya apne…
Despite having a lot of misconceptions about live-in relationships, people in our country are gradually opening to the idea of couples living together without getting married.
The Supreme Court too has come up with distinct definitions for domestic cohabitations which now allows unmarried couples to stay together if both of them are of legal age to marry.
The court even has given rights to people to seek maintenance from their partners and protect children born out of such relationships who have stayed long in such relationships.
However, all these did not affect the Rajasthan Human Rights Commission at all. So, in the name of securing the right of women, they are emphasising on the idea of bringing a law against live-in relationships.
As a woman of 21st-century, I feel I have the leverage of being in a relationship as per my wish. Be it marriage or a live-in relationship or any other relationship, I have the right to choose any relationship that is suitable for me. Women who choose to be in live-in relationship, they do it mindfully and their choices do not make them ‘concubines’. It is unfortunate that despite being the Chief of RHRC, Mahesh Chandra Sharma could not understand it.
I believe, the commission is still not over with their patriarchal hangover, so it is difficult for them to realise, even women can opt for such relationships and choose not to feel sorry about it as live-in relationships are not forced and definitely do not cause harm to anyone’s dignity.
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