With the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) sweeping the student union elections in 2018, the University of Hyderabad campus has turned saffron after eight years.
Spearheading the win was the 26-year-old ABVP candidate Aarti Nagpal. Her election as president of the students’ union is the second time after 2013 that a woman has become president of the students union. Aarti, a PhD psychology student who is emerging as a leading political figure in the country’s national politics has dispelled notions that a young, married woman cannot be successful, especially in politics, while balancing a career along side marriage.
Elaborating on why she ventured into the murky world of politics, and managing both personal life and career, she says, “I always had a voice of my own, along with strong opinions. Contesting in student elections gave me the opportunity to explore. The binary of marriage versus career is a false binary and an affront to the transformed women of contemporary India. Like many others, I am not compromising on both marriage and career like the way Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Seetharaman haven’t. In my life, both marriage and career as a student leader came at the same time and I went ahead with both simultaneously.”
Talking about having a voice of her own, she feels that every woman should voice opinions and actions she is entitled to. All the controversies surrounding women empowerment should be dispelled and more women should come forward and break the stereotype.
“The controversy surrounding women’s entry into Sabarimala is a question of belief and I believe faith can’t be a terrain for civil rights discourse. The issue is about diversity within Sanathan Dharma. We have spaces separately for men and women. And also spaces for both the genders as well as the third gender. Let us celebrate diversity! Also triple talaq is about discrimination within a whole system of socio cultural group and it is regressive,” she points out.
But the world of politics has often been marred with controversies and rampant sexism. Aarti has taken everything in her stride and is driving past any negativity coming her way. “Politics is dirty since it is bereft of values and I belong to an ecosystem which is value guided. And as far as sexism is concerned, it is present in all fields and it is deplorable,” says Aarti. Depending on at what point of life she gets a call from national politics, the feisty psychology student will plan her debut....