Live-in relationship

Updated - November 18, 2016 10:59 pm IST

Published - March 30, 2010 10:38 pm IST

The ongoing debate in these columns on live-in relationships following the Supreme Court's remarks on the subject reminds me of the controversial views expressed by Bertrand Russell on the subject nearly a century ago. In his book Marriage and Morals (1929), Russell advocated “trial marriage” or “companionate marriage,” whereby young people could live together without getting married. Russell's outspoken views drew the ire of puritans. He was described as “a desiccated, divorced and decadent advocate of sexual promiscuity who has betrayed his mind and conscience.” In 1940, his appointment as Professor of Philosophy at the City College, New York, was revoked. While people's lifestyle has changed a lot since then, the views of puritan moralists remain stronger than ever.

G. Radhakrishnan,


Live-in relationships are opposed to Indian culture. Having said this, there is absolutely no justification in attracting judicial intervention in such private matters as long as they do not interfere with the freedom of others. The best thing to do is to leave the matter to the conscience of individuals. At the same time, it is not proper to cite mythology while dealing with human behaviour.

K.S. Mani,


The major accounts of Sri Krishna's life — the Mahabharata , the Harivamsha, the Bhagavata Mahapurana and the Vishnu Purana — make no mention of Radha at all. The Brahmavaivarta Purana which is said to have evolved between the 7th and 15th Century refers to goddesses Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati and Radha as having come out of the primal soul.

Historically, the cult of Krishna-Radha worship received an impetus after Jayadeva wrote the Gita Govinda in Sanskrit. The theme was further taken up by Vidyapati and Anand Badu Chandidasa in the 15th century. Another 15th century lyrical work on the Krishna-Radha relationship was written by Bilvamangala of the Vishnuswami sect. Narasimha Mehta, a Gujarati Vaishnava saint, versified the theme but not without giving it a spiritual touch. Religious symbolism cannot be viewed in mundane terms.

Satish K. Kapoor,


Not for nothing was marriage formalised in our tradition. Marriage leads to a bonding between a man and woman and this ensures security for children. Let us also caution the protagonists of live-in relationships that parting of ways, for one reason or the other, will leave behind deep scars of being used and rejected. Progenies of such relationships will also end up as misfits in society.

Raju Umamaheswar,


Gita Govinda is not an epic by any stretch of imagination. Raasa mandala and raasa leela are symbolic terms. The judiciary should not comment on sensitive matters.

R.A.S. Sastry,


There is no logic in the Supreme Court's reference to Radha and Krishna. There are various instances in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata like Sita harana by Ravana, gambling by Sakuni and so on. Can they be cited in different contexts?

Tuwaram Dutta,


The debate on the morality of sexual preferences, homosexuality, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, live-in relationships, etc., will never end. There is nothing good or bad about these things. Each individual is free to pursue his or her preferences.

However, let us remember that society needs family in some form and in functioning order. To optimise the proper functioning of this legal and social institution, we may have to make sacrifices and control our preferences.

N. Murugesh Maniam,


If pre-marital sex is legal, the philosophical significance of our culture stands defeated. We have been following some norms in order to maintain a social balance.

Rushikesha Behera,


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