(Photo Courtesy : indiatoday.intoday.in, Photo Illustration by Saurabh Singh)
..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 star dust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
..My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
(Excerpts from Rohith Vemula’s suicide note)
The middle of this month would witness a different type of Yatra on the streets of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Neither it would be led by high profile leaders – who have the aura of Z plus security with them – nor it would be undertaken in an ultramodern bus – fitted with latest facilities and which could even be used as podium for a public meeting.
It would be taken out on a blue pickup truck renamed Bhim Auto and would be led by a fifty year old woman Radhika Vemula along with her son Raja demanding justice for her elder son Rohith. During this Yatra Radhika intends to visit one Velivada ( Dalit hamlet) after other in these two states to tell people how castiest forces are hell bent upon denying dalits their due rights and how justice is still being denied to her son who committed suicide because of the machinations of such people. (http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/search/?q=rohith+vemula). She would also communicate to them that not only the ruling dispensation at the centre led by BJP but the state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been callous towards the plight of the Dalits and have joined hands to deny justice to her son. Not some time ago the government of Andhra Pradesh had made outrageous statements about Rohith not being dalit and earlier in February had demanded that Radhika ‘prove’ that she is Dalit in 15 days. Continue reading Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto
Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar
(Photo Courtesy : Prokerala.com)
Mainstream politics over Rohith Vemula’s suicide is becoming hot and ugly. Although whisper campaigns against Rothith’s dalit identity were on since his suicide, the BJP’s central leadership had been relatively quiet after HRD minister’s rather shrieky ‘appeal’ to not play caste politics over his suicide. However, now it seems daggers are out. The party in power, whose two ministers are accused of creating conditions leading to Rohith’s suicide, has decided that Rohith’s non-dalit status is the dog it is going to beat to counter its anti-dalit image. Rohith’s mother is a Mala, a Scheduled Caste, who lives seperately from his father, a backward caste Vaddera. He got an SC certificate on the basis of showing that he grew up in his mother’s Mala household. BJP’s strategy may look petty, but it is based on the age-old great Hindu tradition which can not contenance any violation of the privileges of the patrilineal system. After all, marital rape does enjoy legal sanction in India to this day. Continue reading Missing the Forest for Trees – Caste System’s Shadow on Rohith’s Suicide : Sanjay Kumar
Guest Post by Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
( A protest meeting on Rohith Vemula was organised in Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University on 28 th January. Find pasted below a brief report of the meeting followed by the statement which was read and passed in the meeting.)
We, the students of Delhi School of Economics organised a protest meeting in solidarity with the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad. It was joined in by students from other departments of the university as well.
The discussion revolved around the presence of caste based discrimination within university campuses and the deadly silence on the matter. It was recognised that Rohith’s investment in progressive politics was crucial in him and others in Ambedkar Students Association being victimised. And the present gathering affirmed its investment in that politics and striving for the kind of change Rohith also aspired for. Continue reading Condemning Caste Discrimination in Higher Education Centres that led to Rohith’s Untimely Death – Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
Guest Post : Statement by New Socialist Initiative( NSI)
Comrade Rohith, we pay our deepest respects to you. We share your concerns. With you and like you we think that Systemic revolutions and great social transformations should go hand in hand. Rohith we fully agree with you that unless the oppressed are armed with scientific knowledge and rationality, revolution and emancipation remain elusive.
New Socialist Initiative pays its respects to Comrade Rohith Vemula, PhD scholar and student leader of University of Hyderabad. Rohith is not just a name of a scholar today. It has become a battle cry against the saffronisation of Indian education system. Rohith is the name of the relentless struggle against the upper caste domination in the institutions of higher education. Rohith has become a symbol of revolt against the decadence of our civilisation. Yes, Rohith committed suicide, killed himself, but not in desperation, not in fruitless vengeance. As his last words amply show, he seemed to be making a political and philosophical statement on the order of the things in this country, on the despicable manuvadi practices raising their ugly heads in the university campuses, on fascist targeting of Muslim minority community, on the rising intolerance and irrationality in our society.
Continue reading Long Live the Legacy of Comrade Vemula Rohith Chakravarthy : Statement by New Socialist Initiative (NSI)