‘This is not America’, court tells married man in live-in relationship.

So this 22 year old young woman has started living with her sister’s husband (25), a father of two. The couple asked the court to protect them, because even though the wife is fine with their ‘friendship-agreement‘, the rest of the family isn’t. The Jeeja-Saali feel their lives are threatened.

Justice Hema Kohli pulled up the woman and the 25-year-old married man, saying, “This is not America. You have no right under the Hindu Marriage Act to marry twice. Anyway, the boy has his wife and she is alive and with two kids to look after…”

This kind of relationship is not new in India. I have blogged about a 15 year old who was reported ‘kidnapped’. She was found in another part of the city with her sister’s husband, 25.

The sister’s husband – the son in law, in Indian culture, is a very important family member. This man visited their house often and was treated with deference. He could beat his wife and his sister in law and control their lives because each felt the only way to save their ‘honor’ was to stay married or to get married to this man. The young sister in law felt she was unlikely to find a husband (even if this man ‘allowed‘ it) because she was ‘tainted‘. And Indian girls are raised to believe that Getting Married and Staying Married was their goal in life. So could the girl be blamed for thinking her happiness depended on this abusive, irresponsible, dishonest and married-man? If he didn’t marry her, she would be told, ‘Ab tu kaheen ki naheen rahi‘ (you are doomed now).

We have Bollywood songs (and I am sure folk songs also) describing the relationship between Jeeja-Sali. Often the son in law of the house is the only male, the young sisters in law have ever interacted with and they have grown up hearing jokes like ‘saali to aadhi gharwali‘ (a sister in law is half a wife). Also a ‘Happily Married Daughter’ is a status symbol in India, so even if the sister in law is very young (say 13 or 14) and even if she seems confused (flattered, even attracted, ashamed and guilty) with such attentions in an otherwise segregated society, the elders tend to ignore the child-abuse (that is what it is).

Most importantly, for a live-in relationship to be legally a Live-in Relationship, both, the man and his partner are required to be unmarried. A married man cannot have a ‘Live-In’ relationship.

In ‘My Feudal Lord’ a Pakistani wife, Tehmina Durrani describes the relationship between her sister, a 13 year old Aadila and her middle aged, violent and abusive husband. I blogged about another young girl, related to my maid, in Delhi. [Linked above] Such cases are not uncommon this side.

I have not heard of such cases happening in America. Are married American men permitted to marry twice? Do American wives get bullied into saying they are fine with their husbands ‘friendship-agreements’ with their sisters? Do young American girls feel they must marry the first man they ever find attractive, even if he is abusive and married?

I think the definition of a Live-in Relationship needs to made clearer to such couples. It definitely is not another name for polygamy. [Linked above]

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70 thoughts on “‘This is not America’, court tells married man in live-in relationship.

  1. Honestly dont know what the judge meant by that derogatory remark on Americans.

    No country,America or otherwise would allow a married man to live in with another woman…not even the Islamic countries (where multiple simultaneous marriages are allowed) would.

    that man and in this case even the girl should be behind bars for carrying on this illicit relationship….cause thats what it is…jija saali relation not withstanding. And i strongly believe the court should pull up the wife also strongly for going along with this nonsense.

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    • I think the court meant that the couple wanted a Live in Relationship, which the court probably felt is socially acceptable in America (and the west) but it wanted to make it clear that this kind of relationship is not a Live in Relationship, both the partners need to be unmarried to be in a legally acceptable Live in Relationship, even in India.

      I also think the couple probably thought they were in a Live in Relationship and had a right to ask for protection. A lot of confusion still exists about Live in Relationships.

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    • It’s not illegal for two adults to live together when they both choose to do so. I don’t know the specifics of this particular case, but imagine a separated couple who are unable to get a divorce for whatever reason. People have the right to live their lives the way they want as long as they harm no one.

      And you’re wrong when you say that such a relationship is illegal in the US. It’s not illegal in any western nation. Adultery isn’t a crime in the US or Europe. It’s a shame that it’s a crime in India. What happens in the person lives of people has nothing to do with the government.

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      • @ How do we know

        Yes, he really did say that. I am assuming that you support labeling adultery as a crime, which leads us to an important question: What gives you (or the government babus who draft these nonsensical laws) the right to decide what adults should or should not be doing with their private lives?

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      • Sorry, but these kinds of “sister wives” relationships are illegal in many states here in US.
        While there is no denying the fact that courts should not interfere in what happens between two consenting adults, it often does when such deeds interfere with rights if a third person – here the first wife. It does not matter that the first wife is agreeable to such an arrangement. Who knows how her consent was obtained anyway? Psychological coercion is very real.

        As a matter of public policy the courts can enjoin such relationships. However, something to keep in mind is that courts often may not bother to prosecute such offenses.

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  2. In the article it clearly states that the wife and children were deserted. I dont understand how can the wife be fine with her husband and her sister living together. I think the couple has made up that bit to make their case stronger,IHM. On one side we hear stories where wives thrash up cheating husbands and on the other we have stories like this where the man is claiming his wife is ‘ok’ with his live-in relationship. Really there’s seriously something wrong somewhere.

    In my opinion the wife should file for divorce and claim damages from the husband for treating her and her children so shabbily. The couple should be arrested for their illicit relationship and not protected.

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    • In ‘MY Feudal Lord’ Tehmina Durrani explains how she was thrashed and persuaded to go meet her husband’s girl friend. If the wife is threatened with divorce, she might fear her children having no support and also fears for herself. In cultures that look at any break up of marriage as a woman’s fault, this is not surprising.

      From what I have heard most fathers get away with paying no child support (in India) and some even remarry after leaving their children with their wife’s families – take a look at this case on TBG’s blog. Fathers must be made to pay – preferably a lump sum, so that they do not have to be chased every month for every penny.

      From what I can sense, this couple will continue to live together on and off, and the wife will continue to tolerate it all, and the family will tell her she should be glad “her marriage is saved”!! :roll: …and that the ‘other woman’ has no respect in the society – no one will be happy, not even the man. But I do agree with you, the wife should take one courageous step and take this man to court and make sure he is jailed and she has child-support and maintenance. A few such examples will do a lot of good to the society.

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      • The judge was absolutely wrong in painting “American” life in negative light. In the US, child support is mandatory, enforceable by arrest warrants that may lead to jail time if not complied. The law here is very fair regardless how individuals choose to live their life.

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    • Deeps I don’t know if what am saying is gonna be a shocker :roll: but there are instances where the wife is a willing partner in such relationships. In the beginning this had me worried and sick to my stomach but like IHM said sometimes the way the girls are brought up in a particular family has to do with the way they accept and tolerate all these :sad:

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  3. The statement of court is quite confusing and this is certainly not the responsibility of court …. things should be made clear .

    When people start defining relationships for their own convenience , it gets complicated …probably the court meant and pointed out about the confused meaning of modernity , due to which people complicate their lives and think they are being modern and since everything is acceptable in America ( so these confused people think )…. so it should be so in their lives too.

    Still it is duty of the court to make the issue clear apart from delivering justice ….

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    • This couple has somehow got the idea that legalization of Live in Relationships means married men and women can now legally live with other partners outside their marriages. I hope the court let them know that is not allowed in India or in America. I had read a post expressing concern that legalising Live in Relationships might result in such relationships being used in lieu of multiple relationships or Polygamy, because couples in Live in Relationships have the right to Palimony (like alimony in marriage) also. But since Live in Relationships are only permitted to unmarried couples – they don’t replace Polygamy. If at all they might empower the woman. No in law problems, no dowry, no serious social restriction from walking out and the same right to child support and maintenance as in legal marriages. Domestic Violence Act also includes Live in Relationships.

      I wish it was possible for the court to ask the man to pay maintenance to his wife, but there is little chance that she will leave him, even after this proof of irresponsibility and shamelessness.

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      • The thing is women themselves are not ” jaagoing ” ( jaago graahak jaago ) a little awareness and clarity could do wonders .
        Misinterpreting the laws and the ‘norms’ is making life worse for so many in such situations.

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  4. My take- Simply what feminists say– we should not be judgemental — we should not judge. Both are majors. So now what do you do? what’s right for the goose is also right for the gander.

    Me – One of them is married. He needs a divorce before he can be in another legally acceptable relationship. He also needs to pay maintenance. He is under the impression that his wife’s acceptance is all that is needed, he is wrong, the law is aware of how such acceptance is got.

    As for America, I say IHM update yourself a bit, since the West is some kind of utopia for many Indian stupid feminists. US- nearly one in two marriages end in divorce.

    Me – Divorce should not be seen as a dirty word KC. Abusive or unhappy marriages are terrible for all involved, divorce is a better option.
    ‘Stupid feminists’ have a right to like a place where staying unmarried, being a single mother, having daughters, being divorced or widowed is not looked down upon. And for hundreds of other such reasons.

    Rising rates of illegitimacy and social dysfunction, rising rates of herpes.

    Me – Illegitimacy? You mean kids born to single parents (mothers)? – I feel that is what we need here, acceptance of single parenthood, so that children can have safer, peaceful homes… and so that no woman gets married (sometimes even to her rapist!) just because she has no choice – only because she needs a name for her child’s father or to show the society she is not single.
    I am sure no man would want such a marriage either.

    The rate of herpes is increasing among teenagers. May be these are just malaises of post-industrial societies.

    Me – About premarital sex in India – read this again, http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/teenage-pregnancies-%e2%80%93-not-our-culture%e2%80%a6/

    But then certainly it is not utopia. Read up polyamory in the US.

    Me – No place is a utopia, just some are more livable and less prejudiced than others.

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    • Can a married woman lawfully live with her lover against the will of her husband? The Rajasthan High Court says “yes”. In a judgment that has messed up values and ethics related to the sacred institution of marriage, the Hon’ble court allowed a married woman, Manju, to live with her lover, Suresh. “It is improper to pass an order to hand over any unwilling married woman to her husband with whom she does not want to stay,” said justices GS Mishra and KC Sharma. The court also said that nobody should consider an adult woman as a consumer product.

      While dismissing a habeas corpus petition filed by Manju’s husband, the court came down hard on the misuse of habeas corpus petitions by people who want to thrust their will upon adult women without their consent. The court said the husband was free to approach the family court for divorce.

      Commenting on the judgment, senior Supreme Court advocate and noted women’s rights activist Indira Jaising said, “Though it sounds strange, I am in complete agreement with the high court. At the end of the day an adult woman has a right to decide whom she wants to live with. She can’t be forced to go with her husband against her will,” Jaising said.
      (Rajasthan High Court judgement, 2008, most probably in November).

      I would like feminists to consider the above case, since the man, the poor husband has been affected. A simple question — What was the fault of the husband?
      I have stopped giving a shit about feminism or female supremacism. Both sides have to treat each other with respect — both man and woman. Equality means equality or it means nothing. No whining when the going gets tough. No man up then. Live you choices and accept — accept –accept the consequences. Do not blame others.

      Me – Just one point – KC this needs to be seen without prejudices against feminism and female or male supremacy etc. The playing field is not level. But I feel it was okay for this man to have … ‘whined’ just because the going got tough. He can’t be blamed, he has seen men making such demands for generations and generally their demands are granted without much questioning. It must be tough to deal with a wife having a will of her own.

      This is nothing personal about anyone. My respects for you. KC.

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      • I agree with the court. No one should be able to force and adult man or woman to live with another person. Married or not.

        This is a step backwards by the high court. I’m sure if appealed the SC will see to it that the two individuals are left alone.

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        • Bhagwad the man and the sister in law asked the court for ‘protection’. Also the man doesn’t plan to seek divorce – he wants the wife and kids and also have this ‘friendship agreement’, and the fact is he will probably do exactly that.

          Why do I see this as wrong? Because the wife has no real choice here. She doesn’t have the options he does. Unlike in the West, single women in India face a lot of challenges and there is very little chance that the man will pay child support if she decides to leave him.

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      • So do you think KC that the husband would have been happy if he had succeeded in forcing the wife to live with him? The biggest hurt must have come from the fact that he found he could not force his will upon her. He (seeing his demand in the petition, one senses) could have been led to believe, he owned his wife and she must ‘obey’ all his commands. It was unfair to the man no doubt to find she actually had a will of her own and that she could fight for what she thought made her happier.

        If he was hurt because he cared to spend his life with her, not because he owned her, he would not have ‘abused the habeas corpus petition because such petitions were generally filed when somebody is actually missing‘.

        Secondly, men in India are not told ‘ab tum kaheen ke naheen rahe‘ when their wives ‘abandon’ them. He can marry again, sadly even without a divorce. She – if the roles are reversed, she would have been told to keep him happy, save her marriage, live with the knowledge that he had another relationship(s). This is common in India – all parts of India. Chinna Vidu and extra marital relationships where men support a second partner are not unheard of.

        Unfortunately even today our traditional social norms favour men. In their day to day life being left by the wife affects men less than it does a woman.
        The man probably did not live in the wife’s house (i.e. unlike most Indian wives), he probably lived with his family. He was probably the bread winner. There is a big chance of a girl having been forced to marry against her will, like in this case, she knew Suresh from before she was married. And marriages (mainly for women) are forever in India. Men including him, are not condemned to stay unmarried if they are divorced or widowed or simply ‘left’, they can remarry easily.

        KC this needs to be seen without prejudices against feminism and female or male supremacy etc. The playing field is not level. But I feel it was okay for this man to have, what you call, ‘whined’ just because the going got tough. He can’t be blamed, he has seen men making such demands for generations and generally their demands are granted without much questioning. It must be tough to deal with her having a will of her own.

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      • @kc,

        You said: …I would like feminists to consider the above case, since the man, the poor husband has been affected. A simple question — What was the fault of the husband?…

        It was exactly the same fault that was of women for whom Restitution of Conjugal Rights (Act XV of 1877, Schedule II, Article 35) was instituted. It is available to both parties. Women used to beget spousal and child support from husbands who had abandoned the marital family and taken another woman or made another family.

        Often married women troubled with domestic violence and neglect sought shelter with her parents, some sympathetic relative or neighbour to prevent others from helping a woman in need the male advocates of great Indian family tradition brought in Restitution of Conjugal Rights (Act XV of 1877, Schedule II, Article 34) only available to husband claiming the society of his wife, namely, recovering his wife from a person harbouring her with ill intent. This meant extended family (parenusbat ok, but an aunt not ok) could not help the victim or could be sent to jail. If the husband was to hide or live with someone else and abandon the wife and kids, the wife could do nothing about getting the harborer a jail time or asking for damages.
        For more refer Padma Anagol’s work. DG has given the link numerous times on this blog now do your home work :)

        Now coming to the case you mentioned, though I do not have the case file in front of me but have studied many such cases so here is the skinny:

        The definition of adultery in section 497IPC is “sexual intercourse by a man with a woman whom he knows and has reason to believe to be the wife of another man without consent or connivance of that man is guilty of offence of adultery not rape.”

        This means a man owns his wife sexually and his consent is necessary to gain sexual access to her. As if wife was a piece of meat a man can decide to share with another or can fight the other for transgressing his property rights, her agency stands nil. Thus in literal legal sense she has to be kidnapped and harbored against will on her she is not capable of making any choice. That is what they do with minors, missing minors are recovered/rescued and handed over to the guardians, the same rules are applied to adult women.

        If the husband was okay with the arrangement like the wife in the jija sali case then there was no problem. He was not in agreement with the woman and her decision so he knocked the doors of court and courts asked him to file for divorce as the marriage was over. Same will apply to the wife of this jija in question, cut your losses, get child support and move on… but the social consequences of spousal abandonment are different for men and women in India.

        There are numerous cases known to most of us in our communities where a man is married and has another family with a woman not married to him. Both lawfully wedded wife and families are cognizant of this arrangement. Often times wives refuse to release the husband through divorce and the second woman lives like a mistress with no legal status and rights. Now with PWDVA 2005, these women have protection against domestic/financial violence from their partners. Supreme Court of India has ruled that the children of non marital union have right to acquired property of their biological father.

        http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/illegitimate-children-not-entitled-to-ancestral-property-sc-28037

        You said: …I have stopped giving a shit about feminism or female supremacism…

        Good for you.

        When did feminism talk about female supermacy? Feminism has time again shown that patriarchy is the culprit that is oppressing both men and women, yes more oppressing to women. @IHM has done some posts on it refer them. Equality means equality is true in theory or real life implications it needs level playing filed. Take away all social stigma off the single women and sexual assault on all women then we’ll talk equality…

        Rest, it easy to blame feminism and west for every thing wrong in the house.
        By the way, who owns feminism?? Is their a particular person or text that you can quote or you are just relying on the hearsay…

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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  5. Generally with live in relationships the couples aren’t married, but they are committed. At least that’s how they’re defined here in America. Sometimes it’s referred to as cohabitation. And no, such cases like that don’t really happen here.

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    • That is how it is described in India also Renkiss – at least legally and mostly socially also. But it is a recent (and much needed) recognition, by the court. Now some people, like this couple have got this idea that this applies to married couples too.

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  6. In the US, only the Mormons (not all) have multiple wives but they are technically not legal although in Utah, where the Mormon church is based, nothing much is done or said about these relationships…

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    • Yes, I have read about the Mormons too, but Sraboney the Mormons are not an example of how typically Indians see the bad, bad ‘American Culture’. I won’t be surprised if they even find some support here :roll:

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    • @ Pooja –

      Indians are extremely racist Pooja. We hear endlessly about our superior culture and about the loose and available white woman.
      We don’t count the killings and suicides by pregnant teenagers who are victims of sexual abuse, ignorance about contraception or lack of sex education. I blogged about it here, ‘Teenage pregnancy, not our culture’

      Our idea of a good society is where the personal lives of female citizens can be controlled by every neighbourhood aunty and uncle, and every uncle’s grandad’s brother’s first cousin’ s sister in law etc.

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      • @IHM
        “Indians are extremely racist Pooja. We hear endlessly about our superior culture and about the loose and available white woman.”

        Its more of a form of cultural supremacist mentality that people from all races suffer and less of racism.

        This emerges when we judge a foreign culture from the point of view of our own culture and its prejudices and women are a primary “yardstick” while judging cultures

        For example , ignorant western view of muslim men is that they are all wife-beaters …..and the view of muslim women is that they are all oppressed…

        Lastly , a westerner believes that there might be flaws in western society but in the final analysis their culture is the BEST……same mentality can be seen in muslims…….and same is true for hindus.

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        • What is wrong is wrong no matter which culture it ‘belongs to’. Human rights should be respected by all cultures. And women’s rights are Human Rights.

          So,

          1. Wife beating remains wrong no matter where it happens. If a culture tries to call it a ‘family matter’ (e.g. http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/an-ordinary-fight-with-wife/ ) one would hesitate to take their opinion on women’s rights and their idea of what is what is a ‘characterless or loose woman’ too seriously.

          2. If the same culture also claims that they think women in some other cultures are ‘loose and available’, then shameful statistics of sexual crimes against sanskari, cultured women who follow their own cultures makes one wonder if they are only pretending to suffer from “a form of cultural supremacist mentality”, so that these women don’t notice the hypocrisy?

          3. What makes the Western cultures think they are superior? Just because they don’t abort their daughters or condemn them for being in love, raped, abused or divorced? Or just because they allow women to be able to marry, divorce, love, live, raise children even if they don’t follow expected cultural norms? Or because when they talk of ‘teenage pregnancy’ they are also thinking of the welfare of the mother and the child?

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      • “What is wrong is wrong no matter which culture it ‘belongs to’. Human rights should be respected by all cultures. And women’s rights are Human Rights. ”

        Absolute and total agreement with you. 100% agree.

        You initially wrote:
        “We hear endlessly about our superior culture and about the loose and available white woman.”

        The point is BOTH wesrterners and Indians/Muslims think similarly.
        “our superior culture” mentality exists EVERYWHERE not just in India.
        Thats why I wrote:

        “ignorant western view of muslim men is that they are all wife-beaters …..and the view of muslim women is that they are all oppressed…”

        This is nothing but ridiculous to even think that most muslim men beat their wives . Its also nothing but absurd to think that most western women are “loose and characterless”

        This is not racism. This is a universal human nature of considering one’s own tribe/culture as being BETTER compared to others.

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  7. I was with u all the way on the much abused jija-saali relationship and also wondering why the Judge felt the need to drag in America in this particular context. But I dont know what u are hinting at when u asked those certain questions as to wether certain such things happen in America…..to answer a few…

    1. Hillary Clinton did say it was ok and forgave Bill’s hanky panky in the oval office
    2. AMerican women and men have extramarital affairs while being married.
    3. American women probably have the most plastic surgery in the world in a struggle to remain young and attractive to the opposite sex.
    4. They do have a very high percentage of teenage pregnancy
    5. They have shows on national television in whcih a woman makes more than 6-7 men undergo DNA tests to ascertain the paternity of her child
    6. The teenagers in school feel obliged to give oral sex to the boys in schools if they want to be popular and “fit in” (good schools and good families)
    7. In the US serial killers commiting horrendous crimes amongst women is probably the highest in the world!
    8 Women are trafficked from poorer nations and abused in American homes…they do not run away for the same reasons of honor and the Americans have been known to exploit it

    There is much more and I felt I had to say this that women being abused openly and not so obviously happens EVERYWHERE!!! America is no utopia@ Hence comaprison are unnecessary!

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    • @ Chrysalis –

      But I dont know what u are hinting at when u asked those certain questions as to wether certain such things happen in America…..to answer a few…

      Me – I had asked these three questions,
      Are married American men permitted to marry twice?
      - Because the judge reminded the married man this was not America (and so he couldn’t marry twice?).
      Do American wives get bullied into saying they are fine with their husbands ‘friendship-agreements’ with their sisters?
      - Because this married man said his wife had accepted this relationship and the judge said this was not America.
      Do young American girls feel they must marry the first man they ever find attractive, even if he is abusive and married?
      -I described (and linked to) another jeeja-salee case and wondered if that too would be seen as American influence on Indian youth.

      Loving our country and respecting our culture to me means accepting that we face challenges, major challenges, socially. There are countries where women are worse off -like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and there are countries where women have worked very hard and fought to make their lives better. India can learn from both.

      Let me try to discuss some of the points you made.

      1. Hillary Clinton did say it was ok and forgave Bill’s hanky panky in the oval office

      Me – Chrysalis, Hillary Clinton did not agree for the husband to continue to have an affair while she was married to him. Indian women are known to live with cheating husbands and care for their unfaithful husband’s parents. They are bitter but they don’t feel they can walk out.

      2. AMerican women and men have extramarital affairs while being married.

      Me – True. But here a majority of women feel they don’t have the option of walking out of such marriages, because being a divorced/single woman is more difficult in India.

      3. American women probably have the most plastic surgery in the world in a struggle to remain young and attractive to the opposite sex.

      Me – Such pressures are sad. Indian men and women generally seem to accept aging more easily.

      4. They do have a very high percentage of teenage pregnancy

      Me – I have blogged about this Chrysalis – in India a pregnant teenager must either abandon her baby, or take her own life or be thrown out of her house, while the father of this child has no responsibility. Even if the pregnancy is a result of abuse, ignorance or rape, the mother is blamed. Read about this case in Faridabad. ‘If she was born somewhere else’
      And then about Karishma whose mother died while she was being born on the road side.

      I know of men in America who have to pay child support – even though they were not married to the mother. I don’t know of even one such Indian man.

      Also, in India, a teenage pregnancy is not counted as Teenage Pregnancy if the teenager was married at the time – even if she was married to someone twice her age, and against her wishes, or to prevent her from marrying someone of her choice.

      When we talk about teenage marriages here, we are counting only unmarried teenage pregnancies, so the concern is the morals of the teenager, not her health and welfare, or the child’s health and future.

      5. They have shows on national television in whcih a woman makes more than 6-7 men undergo DNA tests to ascertain the paternity of her child
      Me – In India such a situation would mean the women can expect, to commit suicide, social ostracism, or honor killing.

      6. The teenagers in school feel obliged to give oral sex to the boys in schools if they want to be popular and “fit in” (good schools and good families)

      Me – Women face such pressures in all cultures. To accept a problem and spread awareness about it is required. American teenagers are openly counseled not to give in to such pressures to ‘fit in’. In India married women (includes teenagers ) are blamed if their husbands cheat on them. Even today, socially, marital rape is not seen as a crime. They are not given the choices an unmarried American girl has – to walk away the moment she realises she needs to have a choice in how (and if) she saves a relationship or a marriage.

      7. In the US serial killers commiting horrendous crimes amongst women is probably the highest in the world!

      Me – Not sure if the crimes or more or are they reported better. In India it’s not the middle class but the slum dwellers, families of migrant labours and street children, who face the worst of such crimes. Nobody cares what happens to them. Bodies are found in tanks, rivers, half buried and found by stray dogs, or in public toilets etc.

      8 Women are trafficked from poorer nations and abused in American homes…they do not run away for the same reasons of honor and the Americans have been known to exploit it

      Me – We know this kind of exploitation happens in India, those from smaller, poorer parts are exploited.

      There is much more and I felt I had to say this that women being abused openly and not so obviously happens EVERYWHERE!!! America is no utopia@ Hence comaprison are unnecessary!

      Me – I agree that no place is a Utopia, but comparisons might help is see how different life is or can be. Or even shouldn’t be.
      A lot of Indians do seem concerned about the American influence on the moral values of an average Indian woman and on the Indian youth.

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    • I would like to answer several of the questions you raised.

      1. Hillary Clinton did say it was ok and forgave Bill’s hanky panky in the oval office

      She never said it was okay, yes she did forgive him. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean their behavior was okay.

      2. AMerican women and men have extramarital affairs while being married.

      And this does’t happen in India? Or any other part of the world for that matter.

      3. American women probably have the most plastic surgery in the world in a struggle to remain young and attractive to the opposite sex.

      There are pressures to look a certain way here, but not everyone gets plastic for that reason. Besides, why is skin lightening so popular in India? Beauty standards exist everywhere.

      4. They do have a very high percentage of teenage pregnancy</blockquote?
      While this is true, the teenage pregnancy has actually decreased over the past decade.

      6. The teenagers in school feel obliged to give oral sex to the boys in schools if they want to be popular and “fit in” (good schools and good families)

      I have to agree with IHM on this one. Women and teen girls in many countries are pressured to give any kind of sex. It’s either about pressure or that it’s the woman’s ‘duty’ to be sexually available to her husband. To me this is just more evidence that many societies view women as just people to give men pleasure.

      8 Women are trafficked from poorer nations and abused in American homes…they do not run away for the same reasons of honor and the Americans have been known to exploit it

      The last time I heard India also has it’s own human trafficking problem. Or bride trafficking? Yes that happens here in America and it’s, but it’s not the only country where this problem exists.

      Here’s a blog from an activist in India who is working to combat the problem.
      Bring To An End

      And I agree with IHM, no place is a utopia. In fact, I don’t see anywhere where anyone even suggested that America was a utopia.

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  8. Great to know how America’s reputation precedes us! You can’t marry twice here either :) Hilarious, it’s like anything bad can just be called “American.”

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    • And actually, I think this is one of the ways that freedom here is very valuable. Even if we falter a lot in our marriages, I’m very happy with have so much choice. A woman does not have to put up with anything she doesn’t want to. I have never heard of sisters sharing a man here, but if it were to happen, the wife would have plenty of recourse to say she didn’t want it happening.

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  9. Our judges also represent our society. Some parts fair and some parts ignorant and judgmental. Why bring in America at all?! Just figure this case out, dude and keep your personal stuff out!

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  10. Really, what kind of hotbed of crime does she imagine America to be? I have seen here that more men and women believe in the sanctity of marriage than India. And if there are problems, these are out in the open, not unacknowledged and suppressed as in India.
    Anyway, what I find ridiculous is the statement ” This is not America”. What does she imagine goes on in America? It is actually more conservative than India in some ways.

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  11. Absolutely not in the US. Polygamy is punishable by law in the US. I don’t think women in general in the US, will tolerate such “friendship-relationship” live-in agreement. Having said that, there are couples (married and non-married) who have “open relationship” which basically means they are allowed to see other people.

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  12. I’m quite surprised by the comments of the Delhi High court. It recently allowed a woman to live in with a married man by saying that a person has the right to live their life anyway they want. In fact, the woman had bluntly told the court “It’s my life.”

    This is what the court said:

    The girl is very well aware of this fact. She is above 18 years of age. She has chosen a path for herself of living with a married man. It is her own life and this court cannot tell her ‘you cannot choose a path of your own’

    I’m unable to square this with the observations made by the judge in this case which you’ve brought up.

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    • I have this case opened in a tab but haven’t read it yet, so I can only answer generally. So long as the woman is not asking him to support her or to stay married to her, I think she can choose not to live with him.

      Similarly if this man (Jeeja) wants a divorce, he should pay maintenance and child support. If he doesn’t want a divorce, which he probably won’t bother to – it’s simpler to stay married to one woman and have another one in a ‘friendship agreement’. Would you say this was fair to the wife?

      Traditionally it was okay for husbands to marry women ( women are given no choice ) and then leave them with their parents to take care of them, while they move to bigger cities and have other relationships or even another marriage. This is not uncommon. The woman cannot even dream of leaving him mostly even when she knows he has another partner. The husband and his family still control her life. In the past men had the right to demand that a married woman be sent to live with them – because once married she was literally their property. (Khushwant Singh tells the story of one such case in ‘Delhi’).

      Social conditions have to be taken into consideration, the field has to be level.
      Men are raised to be bread winners, women are raised to be dependent mothers and care givers etc. (I think that’s the root of some of the problems here).
      Women are made to leave their homes once married, while men continue to have a roof over their heads and support of their birth families.
      Women are not welcomed back home if they are ‘abandoned’ by their husbands, while women can’t ‘abandon’ the men, since they are made dependent on them.

      So if a woman asks a man to not live with another woman she is concerned about a lot more than his companionship. Her home (actually his family home), children, finances, her family (the in laws, with whom she probably lives) all depend upon the support of this man. Even when the couple lives in their own home, the dependence is still there.

      We even use terms like ‘abandoned’ or deserted’ or ‘chori hui‘ for women, not for men. The terms used for husbands are ‘swami’, ‘pati’ (owner), while patni translated means a slave or a chattel.

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  13. I think a divorce has to happen. The marriage has, in any case, lost its sanctity and has no trust. A proper maintenance and child support has to be put in place. Only then can the folk in the live-in continue with their lives as per their choice . ……

    I know, I know it is too much to expect … but this comes to close to my life – so it hurts

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  14. If husband wife and saali are fine with the arrangement then i dont see any problem. Its kind a ridiculous and childish to say that a man cant have more than 1 wife or a woman cant have more than 1 husbands.. its personal life of ppl they can do whatever they like..

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  15. Live in relationships in India are allowed as long as both persons involved are unmarried, above 18 and mentally fit. and even in America an adulterous relationship is NOT counted as a live in relationship. most states in America have declared that a purely sexual relationship can’t be protected under law anyway…

    In any case, to get legal protection in India, the two people concerned should be in a relationship for a long period AND hold themselves out as being akin to spouses. sleeping with someone who is married gets you no protection in law. as far as this abusive guy is concerned.. BOTH women can get him arrested AND make him pay compensation under the Domestic violence act 2005. all they ave to do is approach the nearest police station and the protection officer there will help them…

    Unfortunately, given the premium put on marriage in this society, the girl’s family might tell them to not complain..

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  16. What i read was that the judges asked the Counsel “Under which law is this “live in” sanctioned? Under which Law is this couple seeking protection?”

    I thought that was brilliant repartee on behalf of the judges.. because prima facie.. this is a case of adultery which is punishable by itself. To think that they should be bold enough to commit a known crime and then to go to the court for “protection” only means that they had a lawyer who was really desperate for some fees.. man.. i was so LOLing after reading this report..

    Was the wife OK? I think most of us can answer that reasonably easily – both men and women – will you be ok if, after 2 kids, your partner informs you that s/he is living with.. hold your breath.. your sibling ? See.. the answer is that easy.

    About the court in Rajasthan allowing an adult married woman to live with her lover.. the stand is the same – she needs to divorce her husband before starting a new life. Just like Sania Mirza’s current husband had to divorce Ayesha before marrying her.

    I think thats a fair ask.. let go of your current partner, pay alimony and child support, and sure.. go ahead, have a relationship.

    About the saali being co-erced into a relationship with her jeeja.. now thats an angle one hadnt considered at all..

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  17. Hi IHM,
    i agree with you that live in relationship is not a license for Polygamy.
    Now you are right in saying that mostly brother in law is the first man a young girl would have come in contact, but the sad part is that the person is treated like God. Personally i dont think any law based on religion should be even considered. Its not about what our religion permits us to do but what we can do openly even if we dont have a shield of religion. Are we saying – if i would have been a muslim and my husband married again for whatever reasons mentioned in quran it would have been ok with me. NO i dont think so and nobody else should/ Can decide on my behalf.

    me – I absolutely agree Purva. And if I am not mistaken, and all Islamic countries do not allow Polygamy.

    I think its the most lame excuse one can ever get. the person has to take a divorce, which is an uphill task even if both the parties agree.it takes long time to get through the same. Child support/ Society pressure there can be many reasons for a women to accept such a thing. it would be good if we can discuss what options a person has…
    Divorce is one but then we have security/ money/ Child education/ house… are there ways a person can get those as well or fight for those.

    Me – True. I agree. And I am sure the woman is not happy about this ‘friendship agreement’. I hope she finds the courage and support needed to fight this battle, made unequal by our social norms.

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  18. When the Judiciary system is making such comments.. without checking on the facts, they are forgetting that even the Americans can make such comments..!

    And the sad fact is that even if people are educated, in many matters they act like 15th century ppl, specially when it comes to marriage. I’m wondering hw the wife is OK with her sisters and hubby’s illegal relationship… atleast one of them should hav sme sense to look into the matter in a practical way.. or is it like the olden days that a married women hav to sacrifice everything (including the relation with husband). I think its high time school and colleges start educating students on sex and marriage related matters, coz talking abt thhis is still considered to be a taboo in india.. though the New India is used to all sort of films related to the same in Public display..

    me – Your last point: What we see in public display in films etc is often not how young people should learn about sex. Bollywood movies, including Amir Khan’s ’3 Idiots’ joke about a heinous crime like rape (balaatkar). The word rape is used when they mean to say sex and also used to imply that rape means the victim has lost her izzat or honor, and any hope for a decent life.

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  19. There is a high profile family with the same story
    Raja Reddy and his 2 wives who happen to be sisters

    http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/just-people/2009/04/14/about-raja-reddy-his-dance-and-two-wives/

    I can’t find another article on them which I had read sometime back …
    Summary – Raja was married to Elder sister .. Younger sister had a crush on Raja and wanted to marry him .. she asked permission from elder sister .. elder sister being career oriented sais she can share her husband – but not the stage and took promise from younger that she should never dance which the younger sister promised too …
    she married Raja .. and the family lived happliy ever after .. one husband .. 2 wives .. 2 daughters .. one big happy family …

    The first time I read about them – I was surprised and shocked … and the women involved are highly educated, financially independant, well travelled …
    We can say – to each his/her own and stop judging …

    but in matter like marriage – which is a social set up based on certain written and unwritten rules ..cases like this kind of sets an example for others …

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  20. Interesting that you blogged about this, while I was reading Majul Bajaj’s Come, before evening falls. It’s about the same thing, and the khap panchayats in the early 20th century. Just as relevant today. Very saddening.

    And we went to watch another famous threesome, Radha and Raja Reddy and the second wife Kowsalya Reddy. Read this about them http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/just-people/2009/04/14/about-raja-reddy-his-dance-and-two-wives/

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  21. Ha, ppl go2 court for weirdest reasons and hence receives sardonic replies. And by exposure and this judgment, maintenance literally goes for a toss too. Crpc 125 sec 4 clarifies – No wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance from her husband if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her, husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.

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    • Yes, maybe he is aware of this, and hopes to eventually get a divorce with ‘mutual consent’… but I doubt if the same wife will agree to divorce him. To saving this marriage is why she accepted this agreement.

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  22. Pingback: Decriminalizing Adultery

  23. i actually agree with the judge’s “This is not America” comment.
    The social conditions that are present in India are DIFFERENT from those in the west.
    As a general example , a twice divorced woman/man will find it very difficult to get married again in India UNLIKE the USA.

    Also i think some punishment must be there for adultery in India. There are many vulnerable women in this country…..”punishment for adultery” gives them some kind of protection.Not just women , even men needs to be protected.

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  24. Pingback: Anjali Gupta suicide. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  25. Pingback: An email : I feel I should never get married to him because nobody is anyway going to accept him. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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