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India is a nation of cultural diversification. With its remarkable composition of tradition and the vast heritage of ancient culture, it provides an interesting background to study romantic relationships. Indian literature and mythologies depict their liberal, lenient and dispassionate views on human sexuality, love, and individual freedom as well. In Hinduism Love is categorized into five stages; Kama (Sensory caring), Shringara (rapturous intimacy), Maitri(generous compassion), Bhakti (impersonal devotion), Atma Prema (unconditional self-love). According to Vatsyayana, in Kamasutra, Kama is as necessary as food for the healthy existence of human being.
Also, there are lots of legends in Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, fascinating stories of Hindu God and Goddesses in some of the classic pieces of literature of Abhigyan Shakuntalam, Meghadutam and lyrical rendition of the legends of Radha, Krishna and the gopis of Vraj. Romantic folklores of Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiba and Sohni Mahiwal are also famous in India. Contrary to this, the romantic relationship before marriage is taboo in India.
Indian society holds tightly to their reservations. Values are a significant part of Indian culture and were formulated by our ancestors to maintain societal norms to guide human lives. Almost every facet of our lives is guided or absorbed by them. As the era changes cultural values are also diluted. These values are modified by people who were blinded by their need, suitability, and convenience. In our history women have the right to choose their husband in swayamvara, Gandharav vivah also holds acceptance in our Hindu culture.
But by going through different alteration and changes of values, a marriage other than arranged is an anti-social act in our Indian society. The concept of a romantic relationship is usually perceived to be associated with western culture and arranged marriages especially with Indian culture.
India seems to have a slightly positive attitude towards love, especially in urban societies. Netting (2010) found that upper-class Indian youth creatively overcome the apparent dichotomy by evaluating the ‘ideoscapes of individualism and romantic love through the lens of their heritage’. With major strides in the area of education, the increased literacy rate of girls, multifold career opportunities, a safer environment for interaction between young adults, the increased legal age of marriage and reduced gender biases, the relationship pattern have also changed. Revolution in the ICT sector (Information and Communication Technology) has also influenced the youth in profound ways. This reflects that the romantic relationship is affected by various factors such as prosperity, education, gender equality, and technological advancement. These factors are providing new life to emerging adulthood and have also made it possible for them to pursue relationships based on egalitarian values.
Love attitude is the reflection of one’s basic view, value, and attitude towards love. It portrays the features of value orientation of marriage of young adults. It can be influenced and restricted by different patterns of cultures, economic conditions, and political systems. Their physical maturity and psychological sexual development generate their need for love.
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