Saturday, 6 February 2016

Rohith Vemula's Suicide - Casteism and Rohit-ization of the issue


'The plant turned pale, gave her body to the earth, the soul wandered around the body , the body was lying all alone, the soul found the body to be a weed , the rose smiled at the body , the gardener came with his water pot and approached towards the rose plant by stamping the weed '

Sometimes the thought comes in my head that the society is acting like a garden where we have categorized some plants as 'weed' , some as 'productive' and some may be, as a mere 'show-piece', which are kept only because they produce beautiful, stunning, flower, with amazing fragrance, needless to say, or else it would have no value like the weeds. I wonder if we care about only human souls or we even try to think about something like animal's souls or plant's souls. Assuming we have that time to think about all these, I am curious to know what the soul of a weed and soul of a rose would say after exiting their body? It is the body which we appreciate, it is the body's capability to produce something which gives the body its value, then what about the soul?

I may not be a so-called 'intellectual' to even attempt to answer these questions, and so I leave them to you people, the society.

The habit of labeling someone as 'low-caste' or 'high-caste' has been injected into our soul through our narrow mindset by our parents, grand-parents or may be politicians. When any incident happens the media, the politicians and also the public tries to find a 'caste' angle in it.However, fortunately, or maybe for some people, unfortunately, I don't find any 'caste angle' in this case. Before concluding anything let's get into the soul of the case and find out what actually happened.

Courtesy: Google Search Engine


Rohith Chakravarti Vemula was an Indian Ph.D. student at the University of Hyderabad who quitted his life on 17th January 2016, which freed his soul from his body and worldly pleasures. He was expelled from the hostel by the authorities and after that he was staying in a room of one Umma Anna, he committed the suicide on there only. The story had begun in July 2015, 30 members of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) beat Nandanam Shusheel Kumar, Rohith's fellowship was denied, he was expelled from the hostel along with 5 other members of ABVP. We would try to work out the links between this events and establish a clear ground. Before that, it is very important to understand about the  roots and the small events which led to all these. I would request your patience and attention before presenting the events and related stories behind them 
Rohit Vemula
Courtesy: Google Search Engine

First of All, we will go through the suicide note of Rohit. 

"The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense. Maybe I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past. I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That's pathetic. And that's why I am doing this." -Suicide Note of Rohith
Good morning,

I would not be around when you read this letter. Don't get angry on me. I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints on anyone. It was always with myself I had problems. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write.I loved science, stars, nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs coloured. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.
The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.
May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That's pathetic. And that's why I am doing this.
People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don't believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.
If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get seven months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that.
Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive.
"From shadows to the stars."
Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.
To ASA family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.
For one last time,
Jai Bheem
I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my this act of killing myself.
No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act.
This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this.
Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone.

The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That's pathetic. And that's why I am doing this.People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don't believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get seven months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that.Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive."From shadows to the stars."Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.To ASA family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.For one last time,Jai BheemI forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my this act of killing myself.No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act.This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this.Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone.
Courtesy: IBN Live

Series of Events:


  • Yakub Memon was hanged on 30th July 2015
  • On 02nd August ASA (Ambedkar Student's Association) offered namaz against the hanging
  • ABVP felt annoyed and Leader of ABVP Susheel Kumar terms this as 'anti-national' and also called them as 'goons' and thought of having a protest on 04th August against this acts of ASA.
                                                                      

  • On 03rd August, 30 ASA members went to the room of Susheel Kumar and beat him, among them he identified Vijay Kumar to kick in his stomach (as claimed by Susheel Kumar) (Rohith Vemula was also among the ASA members) 
  • On Aug 04  the University's General Secretary has complained about this incident to the University Proctorial Board.
  • On 4th, Aug Susheel Kumar admitted himself in Archana Hospital
  • On 5th, Aug University Of Hyderabad (UoH) constituted a probe committee.
  • On 12th. Aug Proctorial Board of the University found no evidence to prove Susheel Kumar's allegations as true. (Report 1 of Proctorial Board)
  • On 17th August Bandaru Dattatreya writes a letter to MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) - says UoH is a den of casteist and anti-nationals
  • September 03 MHRD e-mailed UoH - please respond to VIP complaint
  • September 09 Proctorial Board reverses the decision and suspended 5 Ph.D. students, Dontha Prasanth, Rohit Vemula, Vijay Kumar, Sheshaiah Chemudugunta and Velpula Sunkanna  (Report 2)
                                                                            

  •   ASA started protest
  • Suspension temporarily revoked by the then VC (Prof. RP Sharma, now, the VC is Appa Rao Podile)
  • 4 letters as reminder from MHRD to UoH on September 24, October 06, 20 & November 19
  • December 17- the 5 students suspended by the new VC (Appa Rao Podile)
  • January 17, 2016 - One of the suspended scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide 

The Mystery and the Controversial Story:

After Rohith Vemula's suicide, it is really sad to see that politicians are flocking into the university, not as a human or a responsible citizen but as a congress spokesperson or an AAP spokesperson. They are trying hard to pour the colour of caste on the paper and accuse other parties of being oppressive to that caste. No doubt, elections are coming and politicians are in no way interested in wasting this opportunity, upcoming elections in Pondicherry, Assam,  Tamil Nadu,West Bengal, next year Punjab etc. Though the probe has highlighted that Rohith didn't belong to Dalit background and the certificate was forged, it should not be our concern as being Dalit or Non-Dalit is not going to make the partiality (If any) justify. 

Some people are trying to justify Rohith's suicide by telling that he was anti-national as he supported Yakub Memon, however, I would like to say to them in democracy and in a free society you have every right to support a convict if you feel that some injustice has been done to him. If you think that the verdict of the SC is unfair, and not correct then you have every right to voice your opinion, that shouldn't be a justification for anyone's suicide. And if ASA has offered namaz then what is wrong? If today someone pray for someone who is a victim of injustice as per him, then that shouldn't be wrong. 

To this acts of ASA, Susheel Kumar, leader of ABVP, an RSS youth wing, called ASA members as 'goons' and decided to have a protest against their activity. Even Susheel Kumar has similar right to voice his opinion and so, till now nothing is wrong.

ASA students, around 30 of them  attacked Susheel Kumar and beat him for calling them as goons on 03rd August. Which is clearly an illegal act to be done. Next day Susheel Kumar admitted himself in the Hospital, Archana Hospital. after the attack. 


He was diagnosed with "Blunt trauma abdomen with acute appendicitis", in the history of present illness they have also recorded contusion on the left shoulder. which is not exactly strengthening Susheel Kumar's allegation. 

After the complaint, a probe committee was set up on 5th August which failed to find any evidence to prove Susheel's allegations (REPORT 1).

After that it has been said and reported, Susheel Kumar wrote a letter regarding this to Ramachandra Rao, BJP MLC. Ramchandra Rao latter visited the then VC, Prof RP Sharma insisting an action. And then Ramachandra Rao he wrote a letter to Bandaru Dattatreya  Minister of Labour and Employment,who wrote a letter to Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) Smriti Zubin Irani regarding this issue. 
Letter from Bandaro Dattatreya to MHRD Smriti Zubin Irani (17.08.2015)
On 12th August Proctorial Board of University of Hyderabad let off the ASA members because there was no evidence to proof Sushil Kumar, leader of ABVP 's allegations but, even after that, politicians started to intevene in the University's matter, which is really unfortunate. Most likely to create a pressure on the Uuniversity and to reverse the decision of the proctrial board this things has been done. 

After receiving Bandaru Dattareya's letter, on 3rd September MHRD e-mailed to UoH to respond to the 'VIP' complaint of Bandaru Dattatreya. 
MHRD e-mailed to UoH
Amazingly, on 9th september the protorial board changed its decision and suspended 5 students (REPORT 2). Susheel Kumar claimed that 30 students were involved in the attack but only 5 were suspended and incidentally all 5 were so called 'Dalit' officially. 

The question raised here is how can a letter from MHRD let the proctorial board reverse its decision and susupend the students going against the Report 1. There is a clear political pressure on the University's authority and in no way the issue is about caste, the whole issue is about the politcal intervention and needless to say, the game of politics. 

After the suspension of the 5 scholars, the ASA members started protesting against the suspension. Later, to this, the suspension was revoked temporarily by the then VC.

After the revocation again there was a political intervention for this revocation and 4 letters were sent to the UoH to implement the suspension on September 24, October 06, 20 & November 19.
October 20 letter from MHRD to UoH

  
November 19 letter from MHRD to UoH
After receiving 4 letters the new VC suspended the 5 students on 17th December. 
And after the suspension, Rohith Vemula wrote a letter to the VC expressing his anguish.
December 18 letter to the VC from Rohith Vemula

And then after almost a month, on January 17th Rohith Chakravarti Vemula ended his life. 
Now it is upto to us to decide and do justice  to his soul. Don't even try to bring caste in this issue, if you bring then only and only politicians will gain from it , Rohith can't gain justice from it. If you want, then protest for this type of political intervention and pressure, question why the Report 1 and 2 of the proctorial  board are contradicting each other, question what made them change the decision, question these. 
Jai Bhim ! 

By Arghya Samaddar












Post a Comment