A tragic event has taken place in Central University, Hyderabad campus as Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Scholar of 28 year old, hanged himself.
He was expelled from the hostel 12 days before along with 4 other Dalit scholars, P. Vijay, Dontha Prashanth, C. Sheshu and V. Sunkanna.. All the 5 students were members of Ambedkar Students Association and have been actively participating to fight against the injustice against Dalit students in UoH. Union minister and BJP leader Bandaru  Dattatreya has written to Ministry of HRD seeking action against these research scholars which lead to the barring of 5 students from using libraries, hostel, mess, common areas etc. They were protesting against this expulsion by sleeping in the open in the cold weather of Hyderabad. Rohith writes about this, "Our rooms were locked to doom our lives, our voices are crushed because we are against Brahminical BJP".


University of Hyderabad research scholar Rohith Vemula. Photo: Special Arrangement

Referece: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/research-scholar-hangs-self-after-expulsion-from-university-of-hyderabad/article8116855.ece

The social boycott of Dalit scholars by the university administration was strongly criticized by social activists and academic scholars. It is shocking for the student community in India how authorities of central university behave so vehemently towards the Dalit students. Rohith Vemula is one among many Dalit scholars and students who faces discrimination in academic spaces and targeting of authorities.  As Rohith writes in his last letter “our feelings are second handed, our love is constructed and our beliefs are colored”. The colored beliefs of some authorities and some political leaders ended the life of a young bright student who would have been a scientist or a science writer in the future. Even though the Constitution gives rights, even though laws and rules exist to protect these rights, Rohith Vemula was murdered. Now who is responsible for his death? Who all are responsible for the deaths of many Dalit students in India till date? This incident is a clear example of the continuation of historical injustice towards the Dalits.

The student communities in major campuses like TISS, IITs and JNU strongly condemned the incident and extended solidarity to the Joint Action Committee of UoH who demands justice for Rohith. RohithVemula did not suicide, he was murdered by the authorities and the culprits of this institutional murder should be brought under justice. I extend my solidarity to JAC and urge other student communities to join the movement for demanding justice for Rohith Vemula.



Letter by Rohith Vemula


"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.

#Dalits, #University of Hyderabad, #Rohith Vemula"




Reference

1. http://www.dailyo.in/politics/rohith-vemula-suicide-expelled-university-of-hyderabad-dalit-ambedkar-student-association-research-scholar-occupy-ugc/story/1/8511.html

2. Short history of events that led to ‘suicide’

3. NDTV

4. India Today

5. Ibtimes

Updates

"Section 144 is imposed in UoH and 8 students were arrested" - JAC



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