If Not Now, Then When? If Not Us, Then Who?
Rohith Vemula, a bright, intelligent, young scholar from Hyderabad Central University, hung himself in his hostel room on Sunday, 17 January 2016. Hounded and ostracised by university authorities and the rightwing ABVP, after his participation in a protest the previous year, Rohith committed a suicide that seems to be no less than an institutional murder.
Please click on the links given below to read about what led to a Dalit Ph. D scholar’s suicide at University of Hyderabad in Telangana State in India.
The monster called the Brahmanical Caste System has taken away another Dalit’s life in its most outrageous way.
Today on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day (celebrated on third Monday in the month of January since 1986), a clarion call to fight for liberty, equality and fraternity along with all human rights for all, dignity, justice and accountability would be the only tribute to Dr. King’s memory and also to Rohith Vemula’s death.
It is time also to say, “If Not Now, Then When? If Not Us, Then Who?”. Yes, who would/should keep the struggle on to make this world a better place? This is a question that seeks our answer now!
Please read and circulate in your circle/network.
With Regards, in Grief and in Solidarity
Umakant, Ph. D
I Loved Science, Stars, Nature And People…….
Rohit Vemula’s Final Letter, 18 January, 2016
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 colored. 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 star dust. In every 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.
One Of The Rusticated Dalit Students Of Hyderabad Central University Commits Suicide
By Countercurrents.org, 17 January, 2015
Rohit Vemula, one of the five rusticated students of Hyderabad Central University committed suicide. He was found dead hanging in his room this afternoon. Five students were rusticated from the university and forced to vacate their hostel rooms . They were sitting on dharna in the campus for the last 10 days.
Expelled dalit scholar commits suicide in University of Hyderabad
Preeti Biswas | TNN | Jan 17, 2016, 10.13 PM IST
Hyderabad: In a tragic incident, Rohith Vemula, one of the five dalit scholars expelled by the University of Hyderabad (UoH) last year, committed suicide on Sunday by hanging himself at a hostel. Rohith, 25, a resident of Guntur, was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years, before the scholar allegedly got involved in a tiff between two student groups in August last year.The UoH administration ordered a probe and the final decision by the proctorial board led to the expulsion of Rohith along with four others.The administration apparently barred the scholars’ entry into the administrative building, hostels, libraries, mess and other common areas, leading to massive protests by students, who even formed a Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (JAC).
The PhD scholar had been sleeping in the open along with other expelled students for the past two weeks, demanding reinstatement.
While the JAC went on an indefinite strike on Sunday against the proctorial board’s decision, sources said that Rohith discreetly went to the NRS hostel, locked himself in a room and committed suicide.
He was a student leader in the Ambedkar Students Association and was an active member in various activities related to the dalits.
When TOI contacted Appa Rao Podile, the vice-chancellor, he expressed shock and grief over the incident.
“I am shocked over the extreme step taken by the scholar. I did speak to the scholars a few days back on this issue. However, I had no clue that he will take such a step,” said Podile.
The students, however, blamed the administration for pushing the scholar for taking such a step. “It is due to the administration’s ignorance towards students’ issues which forced Rohith to take such a step. We hope at least now the administration wakes up to dalit issues and takes revokes its decision,” said S Munna, co-convenor of ASA in UoH.
With Rohith’s suicide, students now plan to intensify their protest against the administration and the BJP MP Bandaru Dattatreya who wrote to the MHRD and allegedly forced the university to expel the dalit scholars.
My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality.
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