FlippED is An ED Original Style wherein two bloggers come together to share their opposing or orthogonal perspectives on an interesting subject.
Traditionalist structuralism of monogamous marriage prevails over the Indian landscape. But with modernity has come change both in the matrimonial and sexual economy, people are expressing their internalized desires and are not compromising for the sake of anyone.
The concept of polygamous or as we may say open marriages gives the space for navigation of emotional and physical needs in more than one person. But does that mean that your love for the first person was never enough that you navigated your metaphysical needs in another person?
Are we moving towards a society where monogamous marriages cease to exist? The two sides of the debate are analysed by our bloggers, without further ado let’s dive into it!
Polygamy Always Existed
“Humans were never meant to be monogamous. There exists no concept such as monogamy in nature. It is a social construct.”
– Paroma Dey Sarkar
Marriage is a notion that holds different connotations for different people.
Let’s simplify what it means to me. To me, marriage is nothing but a social and legal recognition of the union of two people who choose to be intimate partners spending their lives together. The most important thing to note here is the fact that marriage involves two people and here is where the term monogamy comes into play.
Before elaborating further, let me state a harsh truth – humans were never meant to be monogamous. There exists no concept such as monogamy in nature. It is a social construct.
“So what if it is a social construct? We humans are social animals, aren’t we?” many might argue. Well, every social phenomenon should have a base and monogamy does not have one in the 21st century.
To validate this statement, let us trace its inception to prehistoric times when humans were not exclusive in terms of mating. The societies were also largely matrilineal as paternity could not be determined. But then eventually as men started acquiring land and private property, they wanted it to be passed on to someone in their absence. They wanted someone to inherit their possessions. It was then that the concept of exclusive mating came into existence and a woman was allowed to mate only one man in her entire life as paternity couldn’t have been determined otherwise.
This became a norm and got practiced throughout generations and centuries. While it restricted women’s sexual freedom, men were never exclusive and did not face any such restrictions since maternity was not something undeterminable. This created a disparity and conflict of interests. Thus the entire practice of polygamy, be it for men or women had to slowly come to an end post-colonial times.
Standing in the 21st century where science and technology have reached great heights, the difficulties of determining paternity through a paternity test is next to nothing. So why is it that this system of monogamy still exists? Tradition – nothing else!
Traditional beliefs, social stigmas, myths, and misconceptions that emerged and evolved throughout the ages are the only reasons why polygamy, a natural human practice is labelled immoral. And marriage is practised as a way to ensure morality. Why else would two people deciding to establish a romantic or amorous relationship with each other, have to involve the entire society and legal system in their personal affairs?
As people are getting educated, aware and liberal, they are coming out of such stigmas and starting to realise that (imposed) monogamy is nothing but a means to curb their sexual freedom. The growing number of casual sex, one-night stands and open relationships serve as proof. Western influence also has played a huge role in this change.
With the increased practice of live-in relationships and open marriages along with many couples choosing to go child-free, the entire purpose of marriage is getting nullified and it is not long before they would cease to exist altogether.
Monogamous Marriages Define Accountability
“The concept of polygamous marriage creates more chaos in the relationship, you have to maintain a social relationship in different settings with different partners. There is no sense of accountability.”
– Debanjali Das
Marriage is not just a social contract but a subconsciously built collective bond between individuals. The concept of polygamy has been omnipresent for ages, but there is a reason why monogamy still exists in society. While our previous generations might have held onto marriage for conformity, they also showed us the emblem of patience, perseverance and adjustment for building a relationship.
India is a traditionalist society, subconsciously the need for one partner is imbibed within us. The concept of polygamy according to me creates more chaos in the relationship, you have to maintain a social relationship in different settings with different partners.
This form of marriage even has more possibility of creating conflict amongst partners, inferiority and jealousy are some poignant factors. There is no sense of accountability towards each other. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon De Beauvoir were in an open relationship, but it eventually turned into a big mishap where they could not any longer find solace in each other.
Love is meant to be easy and it works on collective effort, when you start having second thoughts that means maybe it was not enough in the first place. Society besides the stigmatic myths and rituals will always move towards monogamy as a form of union between two individuals. There are more people involved in monogamous trade of affairs nowadays than polygamy.
Polygamy is still a farfetched concept in India that will transition slowly into our socio-economic environment. Do you think monogamous marriages are dead in India?
Image Credits: Google Photos
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Source: Author’s own opinions
This post is tagged under: Monogampus marriages, Polygamous marriages, India, Union, relationship, multiple partners, love, matrimony, marriage, wedding, Queer marriage, single partner
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