Students in Bengaluru are turning to unique ways to drum up support online for issues they care about. The Deccan Herald reported on Thursday that some students were turning to Tinder as one of the ways in which they can educate and inform people about the protests against the CAA and NRC that are sweeping the nation.
Ananya*, a student from Bengaluru, told DH that she got the idea after her Instagram page 'bangalore_protests' was taken down. She posted some pictures from protests, as well as information of the latest protests and banners on her Tinder bio, and got a lot of responses to them.
Screenshots of her Tinder conversations show that people became interested in speaking to Ananya* about the protest. Some people have responded saying that they support the protests, while others have replied asking for more details, like why the students were protesting.
Amit*, one of the people who responded to Ananya's Tinder bio, said that it was an interesting concept. "I have not seen dating platforms being used for socio-political movements," he said in a message.
Tinder taking down activist profiles?
However, Ananya* reported that Tinder too has been taken down the dating profiles of people who are posting protest information. Another Instagram user Mallika*, also reported that her Tinder profile was taken down twice after she began posting about protests.
"When I began posting, I got responses such as 'See you at the protest'. I found that it was a great place to meet like-minded people and speak about our woes in this state of affairs. I just hope to get my account back. I'm in touch with Taru Kapoor, (Tinder India head) in hopes that my account is restored." she said. Mallika's* account has since been restored.
Shalom Gauri, the founder of Bengaluru's The Student Outpost (TSO), a student's collective and Facebook page that comes together to discuss their issues, also used Tinder to raise awareness when she was a student in Bengaluru last year. "I would tell people about the meetings while I was in conversation with them, and lots of people would then show up! It was not entirely intended, but it did work. Once, I mentioned an upcoming TSO meeting to an IISc student, and he brought ten others with him. There was also attendance from students from Srishti through Tinder conversations I had with people."
Need for better organisation
Shalom added that it is important for students to organise and come together as a collective. "This time, a lot of people showed up for protests spontaneously. But we saw a lot of communication problems. If there was an organisation, there would have been better communication. People need to form the organisation now, when people are united. When there is a a need next time to come out and agitate, it would be easier to do, if there is an organisation," she added.