This piece aims to highlight how nothing is apolitical anymore; politics with its lasting presence is now even shaping the dating lives of the Indian youth.
In a day and age where the youth has risen up to combat the elements of fascism in the country, and uphold the values of democracy laid down in the Constitution; the personal is political, now more than ever. The integrity of Law and Order as well as the Government is being increasingly questioned; the youth today demands answers from a generation that has led them into the pits of a civilisation. However, one wonders, in these times, how does a 19 year old college student deal with their own partner; supporting something they’re out on the streets against? How does the youth navigate the landscape of relationships, dating, and attraction; in a politically charged climate with barbed opinions and perspectives oft en clashing against their own? The answer to the question rests within the reality we currently are entrapped in.
In today’s time, ideological differences take a backseat over, what is now, your stance on human rights. Triparna Dutta, a student of the University of Calcutta, said, “The stakes are high, blood is being shed. It’s impossible to date someone who doesn’t care about human rights, about dissent and the constitution.” A study by Gregory A. Huber of Yale University and Neil Malhotra of Stanford University showed that political affiliation is fast becoming a factor in how people choose who they date (Having a 3 per cent impact, the same as education), while shared race and religion have far more of an impact. Shared religious beliefs result in a 50 per cent increase in interest, while similar ethnicity is 16.6 per cent more likely to result in a match. Ann Philipose, a Delhi-based therapist, has dealt with a number of couples who increasingly worry that their partner’s values, reflected through political beliefs, don’t align with their own. The digital dating panorama is marked with a young and extremely diverse demographic.
Apps such as Hinge, Bumble, Tinder and OKCupid were only launched in India in the last few years, and given the extreme variations in socio-economic strata, it is hard to collect empirical data. However, Taru Kapoor, India head, Tinder and the Match Group, told The Print that last year, on 6th September, when the Supreme Court read down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality, the App saw a huge swipe surge showcasing how impactful political decisions are. In a generation that is gravitating towards the notions of woke culture and political correctness, the political views of their partner becomes a deciding factor in the relationship. Events of the past few months, where dissent and the right to peaceful protests is being challenged across the Country, solidify the notion that a relationship between two people with contrasting politics is hard to get by. One also has to acknowledge the mental toll State-sponsored violence has taken on the people at the forefront of the movement. A student revealed the detrimental effects of brutality by Law and Order harmed their mental health to the extent they had to break up with their partner, because they couldn’t sustain and emotionally invest in a relationship in such troubled times.
Amidst all this, relationships can also be a safe space contributing to a worthwhile aspect of politics and dating, being able to communicate to your partner about the authoritarian elements of the regime, and transform their apolitical stance to one supporting those who are marginalised. And well, if this fairy tale like-incident doesn’t happen, you can break up with them, with Republic Day approaching; break their hearts on 26th January. Let the Constitution seep into your love life, finally.
Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat