Live In relationships, Hook ups and more divorces are some things which are increasing as India follows not only the Western model of Privatisation, and economic growth, but also the Western culture and their way of living. One often questions the morality of such concepts and whether these are destroying the Indian culture and indeed spoiling the youth.
The result of all these things including sex outside marriage and pre-marital sex is often the ‘looking down upon’ by the society. However what one misses is that in some cases all these things may lead to a certain new soul entering this world. This soul, the ‘illegitimate child‘ as we call it, undergoes typically from what we call, ‘Suffering for the misdeeds of others’. Now, I am not saying all the above mentioned things are necessarily misdeeds, but that was just a way of putting it.
Coming back to our original question, should this new soul, the ‘illegitimate child’ be accepted by the society? There are two sides to it, as they are to every story, and like a good newspaper column, this article would also depict both the sides.
Accepting an illegitimate child, as people say would encourage such false practices and immoral behaviour, which is not necessarily true, but yes, true to a certain extent. Also, the child sometimes is a result of a ‘momentary mistake’ on the part of either the boy or the girl and not a result of true love as sometimes initially both of them think, which renders the future of the child in jeopardy if the original parents are not there to take care of it. This is all the more obvious because the child already faces discrimination and iltreatment from the society and only its original parents can fight this discrimination and help their child grow properly. The growth here is an important point because this illegitimate child rarely has all those conditions which are conducive for growth and hence, ends up being merely an addition to the ever increasing human population and not someone who could achieve something substantial in life.
On the other hand, the discrimination and insecurity that the parents and the illegitimate child face due to a ‘momentary mistake’ between the parents is a bit too harsh. Okay, we accept that the mistake has been done, but punishing and putting the child’s future in jeopardy for a thing that has happened in the past is certainly not a way forward. The child did not commit a mistake, and the winning sperm certainly did not know that this wasnt the right time to win the race. Little did he know that winning this race, would make it end up losing the bigger race, the race called ‘life‘. If we consider that the child was not a momentary mistake, but that the parents took a decision because they love each other and do not regret conceiving the child and can handle and nurture the child well, then shouldn’t the society slowly set aside the prejudice and the bias and support the child? We will leave this question to be answered by the readers.
PS:- Supreme Court in a landmark ruling in 2014 stated that children conceived outside the marriage or when unmarried should not be considered ‘illegitimate’ as soon as the men and the women have a relationship ( can be live in relationship as well), thus, breaking down the link between marriage and the right to have children. However, a child born to a single mother or a child conceived without any relationship between the father and the mother remains a grey area.
We commend this progressive ruling by the Supreme court, however India as a country still lacks far behind the Western countries where a child reproduced by a single mother is also legitimate.
Note:- The above article is written from the point of view of the Indian society where most people still consider a child outside marriage as illegitimate, which though legally is not true, but results in the child as well as the parents facing discrimination and iltreatment from the society.
– Darpan Jain