A PEEK INSIDE 'BOLD' INDIA OF 2014
Pallavi Bansal,TNN | Dec 29, 2014, 09.00 AM IST
While child marriage, honour killing, domestic violence, intolerance to love, unequal pay for woman, sexism, dowry deaths, and other such social vices are still very much prevalent in Indian society, yet the year of 2014 paved way for a much bolder India in many ways - echoing the theory of two Indias existing together.
Below are a few trends that campaigned their way this year:
Kiss of Love: Legitimising PDA
Much to the dismay of the moral watchdogs of our society, the youth of India came out to express their love 'openly in public'. A protest that started in Kerala through a Facebook page against moral policing spread like wildfire across India when the youth decided to lock lips on the streets. Public Display of Affection, infamously known as PDA, has been frowned upon in India since generations; however, there aren't any comprehensible guidelines in the Indian Law for the same. According to section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, anyone caught doing any "obscene act" in public place is liable for punishment but there is no clear definition of 'obscenity' mentioned in the law, leading to subjective interpretation of the term. Nevertheless, this time, the Young India's message was loud and clear: Stop moral policing and legitimise PDA.
Recognition of third gender: Paving way for legalising gay intercourse
The Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgement in this very year and granted the 'third gender' status to the transgender people. However, the Indian Law is still acting oblivious towards homosexual intercourse; with section 377 of the Indian Penal Code stating sex with persons of the same gender a punishable offence. Sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly in India making homosexuality still a major taboo in this country. But, with the recent rise in the number of gay pride parades and the allotment of third gender status, we can say we are reaching there.
Live-in relationships turning into reality
Youngsters are embracing a new relationship culture and the concept of live-in relationships is no longer a taboo among them. This could turn into a reality after the Supreme Court of India approved 'live-in relationships' and termed them as completely legal a while ago. In addition to this, in 2014, they declared the child born out of such relationships as legitimate too. Thus, many youngsters came out of the shackles and disclosed their status as 'in a live-in relationship' this year. Well, call it a matter of convenience or commitment phobia; people residing in metros today want to run a 'compatibility test' by moving into a love-nest before entering into a permanent marital home.
Late marriages gaining acceptability
Another noticeable trend of this year has to be the wide acceptance of 'marrying late'. As it has been a trend since a couple of years, both men and women are focusing on their education and career instead of hurrying up to tie the knot right after college. Thus, the new marriageable age has been shifted to 25-30, at least in the metro cities of the country. Term them as cosmopolitanists or careerists, the young Indians especially the girls are putting premium on financial stability rather than settling with someone for sake their parents' sake.
Open-relationships: Sex as a recreational activity
A lot of urban youngsters are influenced with the idea of 'no-strings-attached' relationships, while their belief in the institute of marriage seems to be dwindling. 2014 saw a drastic change in the mindset of young generation and many people preferred 'sex buddies' to a committed relationship. For the uninitiated, it is different from one-night stands and lasts much longer but there's no emotional bonding involved.
Indians getting experimental with sex
As per a recent research carried out by an Indian e-commerce portal dealing with sexual accessories, there has been a considerable rise in the number of purchases of x-rated products this year. Interestingly, the study also revealed that women are more liberated and adventurous than men. The advent of the Internet and e-commerce websites has enabled exposure in all spheres including sexual experimentation. However, the taboo still exists, with people wanting complete discreetness in relation to these services.
Emphasis on feminism; demanding equality
With social media buzzing with 'Why India Needs Feminism' to television advertisements advocating women's rights, 2014 saw it all. To put things in perspective, haven't you come across the popular watch advertisement, played by Bollywood actress Nimrat Kaur, in which she leaves her husband rather than quit her job to assume a domestic role? Or the jewellery ad themed around the remarriage of a dusky woman, breaking all the stereotypes and social norms associated with a woman's second marriage? In a country, where almost all advertisements depict cooking, washing, cleaning and parenting as 'women's work'; 2014 definitely became the year of feminism voicing out gender equality.