A newspaper report of a study titled "Youth in India - Situation and Needs" has been sent to me by a friend. The study indicates that rural Indian youth indulge in pre-marital sex far more than urban youth: one in five young men in rural areas as compared to one in nine in urban areas had indulged. For women, 4% in rural areas had sex before marriage as compared to 2% in urban areas. Cutting across the urban-rural divide, the study found that 16% of young men and 3% of young women reported being physically intimate with their partners. Apparently, the authors of the study were surprised by the result, opining that "It can safely be concluded that pre-marital sex is not an elite phenomenon any more".
The reaction of the report's authors shows that they know very little of Indian history or culture. Multiple husbands/ wives was common in India throughout our history till the influence of the Gospel of Christ brought in the idea of one man/one wife. As that influence was more in the cities and among educated people, that is where the idea of one-man/one-wife was most prevalent till Independence. After Independence, the idea of one-man/one-wife was popularised by what we now call Bollywood, which took up the idea along with the notion of romantic love (much more entertainment potential than arranged marriage, for example). However, as the influence of Christ's Gospel has waned in India in the last twenty years or so, the idea of multiple-husbands/ wives (or at least of mistresses and lovers) has begun to make a comeback all over the country, even among educated Indians in the cities.
For the original report, by Sumitra Deb Roy, see: http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1234623