We live in times when hearts are broken and mended on public forums such as Facebook. The first thing you do on ‘adding’ a new friend is check out the pictures, and of course, his or her relationship status — ‘Single’, ‘Committed’, ‘It’s complicated’ — admit it!
But, what when one does not have the freedom to tell the world of their love, or the lack of it? Such is the ‘state of affairs’ at Panjab University. In an endeavour to ‘protect their image’ student leaders at PU prefer to keep their relationship under wraps. This secrecy, they believe, proves to be a win-win situation for both parties! It does, however, raise the question of such campus relationships’ genuineness.
It may be a dirty business, but it calls for a ‘clean’ image. Here’s why student leaders like to keep their relationship status under wraps…HT Photo
Jasleen Ahuja, former executive member, Panjab University Campus Student Elections (PUCSE), and a research scholar, says, “To begin with, these boys believe that disclosing their relationship status would reduce their vote bank, which is true to an extent. There are times when they deliberately break-up just before becoming the president or immediately after it. If they don’t break-up, they give defined guidelines to their girlfriends to keep their relationship under wraps. Though girls agree to their demands, they still like flaunting about ‘being a leader’s girlfriend’ in front of their friends. More often than not, the girlfriend ends up adjusting with the boyfriend/student leader’s flirtatious ways.”
A third-year student of Department of Chemistry and an active supporter of SOPU, Satwinder Kaur, says, “Girls are often open about their relationships. It’s the boys who don’t like to talk about it. In most cases, girls reveal their relationship status for two reasons — to flaunt being a leader’s girlfriend and to keep other girls away from her boyfriend.”
Letting us in on a student leader’s psyche, Harpreet Multani, former president of the student council, says, “Boys have to think about the girl’s image as well. If a girl’s status as a leader’s girlfriend is out in the open, that is how the whole university knows her; she loses her individuality. Also, if the two don’t end up together in the future, her ‘much talked-about previous relationship’ acts as a hindrance in her future relationships or marriage, given the narrow mindsets of our society. As it is, relationships these days don’t last longer than four to five months.”
Getting down to what seems like the more obvious reason, he adds, “Guys flirt with girls who are not their serious girlfriend. So, to avoid any mess, they prefer to keep their relationship under covers. Besides, a leader should have a clean image.”
Adding to it, law student Siya Minocha, says, “These leaders are usually just concerned about their image. But, it’s not only him who has to have a clean image; their girlfriend too needs to be spotless, so to say! Another reason to keep their lips sealed is the fear of being dumped by the girl.”
So, is the trend limited to PU? Of course not, says Ajay Chhikara, former president, Delhi University. “A leader’s image has to be ‘clean’. So, most of us keep our relationships under wraps, as they are ultimately used against us by our rival parties.”