Ramlal Munda and Sehodari Devi resident of Ghaghra had been married for 22 years without marriage. Their children have grown up. Sahodari of Lohra Samaj did not get permission to marry Ramlal of Munda Samaj. They were excluded from the society. They would have been living together like husband and wife, but social acceptance was not found. People considered it as an illegal relationship. His son, Jiteshwar Munda, also started dating Aruna Munda. They were also in live in relationship for two years. They have a daughter, Romila. Life was going on but the relationship with society was not enough to get recognition.
55-year-old Ramlal Munda has been living with the 45-year-old Sohodari Devi for the last 22 years. Ramlal is tribal and Sohodari belongs to Lohra society. Ramlal used to live in Gamula along with Sahodari and both were not married. When people filed their objections against this relation, the two came to ghagra and started living. Both of them have a 21-year-old son, Jeeteshwar. Jiteshwar also fell in love with Aruna, 19, two years ago. So both of them started living together. Both of these also did not get married. They just stayed live-in partners.
Ramlal says that many times he tried to get married to sahodari, but the society did not get any support. Both of them were facing big relationship milestones. It was his dream to see Sohodari in a couple of weddings, which was completed after 22 years. His son, Jeeteshwar Munda, says that his parents never opposed the decision to stay with Aruna. But people of the society were hooked. Happiness came after Romika’s birth, but worry about her future increased. Aruna says that even if she was not married, she would stay with him as if she were her mother-in-law. But, now they will not have to listen to people’s talk of getting married.
When he got information about organizing the collective marriage ceremony, he made his registration in it. Seeing them, Ramlal and Sahodari also registered. On the part of the institution, marriage was done with Christian customs. In addition, home-made goods were provided to both couples. They were living an open relationship but now now their married life has started.
Interestingly, Ramlal’s 5-month-old granddaughter, Romika, also became a witness to her grandfather’s marriage. Due to collective marriage and courtesy of the institution provided.
How Live-in relationship started?
In the tribal society after marriage, there is a tradition of feasting the whole village. This is called chukua. Marriage is not considered complete if the event is not held. After giving a banquet to the entire society and getting married with this Tam-jhamam, then after the new couple, when they enter the house after marriage, they call it Dhukua. That is, the new couple got caught in the house.
But many people of the tribal community are stuck between these two rituals. Especially those people whose economic condition is not good. From here, an unnamed relationship is born which today’s world knows as live-in relationship. These hobbies may be filled for some people in cities.
But in the tribal society it is the poison of poverty and compulsion which has created this trend, which has been running for decades. Women and men live together, live like husband and wife, have children, they share family responsibilities. But there is no name for their relationship.
Live-in relationship law in India
According to the law, if you are an adult you can live in with another adult. In India, a person becomes an adult when s/he turns 18 years. Live-in relationships were declared as an acceptable custom in Indian society by the Supreme Court on July 23, 2015.
What happens to the child born out of a live-in Relationship?
The court has clarified that the kids conceived of guardians in a live-in relationship couldn’t be called illegitimate. Lawyer-activist Pyoli Swatija points out that if a child is born of live-in partners, then, unlike within a marriage, the mother is the natural guardian of the child. However, it also means that the father is not obliged to fulfill any responsibility related to the child. The Supreme Court held that a child born out of parents in a live-in may be allowed to inherit the property of the parents, if any, but doesn’t have any claim upon Hindu ancestral coparcenary property.