UPSC Topper Acknowledges Girlfriend’s Support Publicly, Gets Trolled – When Will We Stop Moralising?

Posted: April 8, 2019

UPSC topper Kanishka Kataria was recently trolled for crediting his girlfriend for his success, and the nasties all came out of the woodwork.

The UPSC recently announced the results for the civil services final examination and the topper Kanishka Kataria, a BTech from IIT Bombay, was in news not because of this academic/competitive feat but more because of the following comment he made to the Press:

“It’s a very surprising moment. I never expected to get the 1st rank. I thank my parents, sister & my girlfriend for the help & moral support. People will expect me to be a good administrator & that’s exactly my intention.”

Soon all social media including Twitter went viral commending and glorifying him for being “brave” and “liberal” for granting credit for his success to his girlfriend, and he was hailed as a trendsetter of sorts.

In the process however what could have been normalised- adults opening acknowledging their pre-marital relationships, has been either glorified, or criticised as disrespect to parents, family and “Indian values.”

In 2017 Australian lawmaker Tim Wilson proposed to his gay partner Ryan Patrick Bolger, who was sitting in the public gallery, at Parliament in Canberra and more recently US Vice President Mike Pence hosted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his same-sex partner.

But not too long ago in 2015 the IAS topper Tina Dabbi was trolled for her relationship with colleague and fellow rank holder Athar Khan. When the couple publically declared their relationship the national secretary of The Hindu Mahasabha even went to the extent of calling it “love jihad” and wrote a letter to Dabi’s parents saying that while they are happy about Tina’s achievements, her father should reconsider the match.

Similarly Anushka Sharma the then girlfriend and now wife of the Indian skipper Virat Kohli was mercilessly trolled for his bad performances on the field while no mention of her was made when he played a good innings. He once tweeted,

So what are then our norms of propriety as a society?

Whereas successful adult men might be “allowed” the privilege by a majority to acknowledge a relationship in public, would we be equally accepting if it was a woman making such an announcement and acknowledging her boyfriend along with her siblings and parents? Or what if the successful man/ woman have a same-sex partner?

Do we want women only as scapegoats? Or can the women “behind” successful men only be mothers and wives, no girlfriend/live-in partner/casual friend allowed?

We need to rethink as a society about how we view adult relationships and their acknowledgement in public.

Image source: YouTube

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Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.

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