We are living in a society where live-in relationships are considered taboo. But how will you react if I tell you that there's another part of the same society who is following their 1000-year-old tradition of staying in the live-in relationship?
This shows that it isn't the culture or taboo, but it's us and our mentality towards the thing that makes the difference. This village is giving its people the right to choose, and the right to reject.
A 70-year-old getting married to his live-in-partner in front of his children, who are surprisingly also marrying their live-in partners. What would you call this? Let me tell you that this is not a western culture encouragement, it's the culture of Rajasthan's Garasia tribe, who have been following their ancestors.
This 1000-year-old tradition of Garasia tribe allows the people to choose their partner from the village and the tribe approves it. They are not forced to marry each other, but they can if they have enough money. Two days long fair called dapa ritual takes place in which the teens of the tribe choose their partner. They take their partner and elope only to return back as a couple.
The couple is then permitted to live together without getting married. The culture has one mandatory situation that they must have kids together. But if they are not able to have children, the partner is free to go and choose someone else.
When the couple returns from eloping, the boy's family has to pay a sum to the bride's family before they continue living together outside of marriage. The man's family also bears all the wedding expenses.
Another belief of their culture is that if a woman desires to live with a new live-in partner, the new man has to pay a higher price to woman's former partner.
It is believed that this culture of the village revolves around propositions of the right to choose and right to reject. The tribal people say they don't find the modern society's culture of marriage worthy as it comes with several impositions, especially on women.
The village is based on democracy, but marriage gives the superiority to the man. They believe both the genders should be given equal rights because that's what democracy demands.
Such communities offer a high status to its women. This is the reason for the low incidence of rape and dowry deaths at these places. The women here live fearlessly and free from any boundaries or pressure.
"The only change that has been made to the age old practice of dapa is that now the verbal agreements between the boy and the girl are being recorded on paper," said the head of Kotra, Gowri Devi.
"We had no idea that other people also live in this way but it is in our culture, and we have been doing it for thousands of years," said Nirmal Singh Garasia, the head of Jodiwad village.
In the country where the modern live-in couples are not trusted with house lease or rent rooms, stays a tradition where people believe in the rights to stay with a partner of your own choice. Can we say that this backward society has many things to teach to our modern world?
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