• ‘When Equality is Denied, Everything is Denied’ – Rajini Krish

    A dalit scholar Muthukrishanan Jeevanantham (known as Rajini Krish) committed suicide on Monday, 13th March 2017 in New Delhi. He was a 27 year old MPhil student at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The MPhil student apparently went to his friend's house for lunch on Monday. He reportedly went to another room and locked himself in, on the pretext of sleeping. His friends later called out to him and on getting no response, called the police.

    Rajini had to struggle to get admission into JNU. He wrote his M.Phil/PhD entrance twice and also gave the interview twice. Every year that he visited JNU he worked many menial jobs to save money for his trips. In the first two instances he travelled from Tamil Nadu, the subsequent two from the Hyderabad Central University (HCU).  From Rajini’s facebook posts, the bias of the JNU administration while selecting the students is evident.

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    “Deeply pained hearing the news that one of our friends Muthukrishnan, MPhil 1st year CHS student has committed suicide.” JNUSU General Secretary Satarupa Chakraborty said.

    JNUSU President Mohit Pandey said, “Extremely shocked and sad that, a friend and a very good short story writer Rajini Krish was found dead this afternoon. Met him yesterday only. Couldn't believe the news. I knew him not only as an activist but also as a brilliant student coming from marginalised community. Great loss for all of us. Condolences to his family, relatives and friends.”

    The insensitive response of the JNU administration is alarming.  Instead of sending officials to the hospital, the Vice Chancellor conveyed his condolences through his Twitter handle. Leave alone consoling the family and helping them to go through due procedures, the university authorities haven't even bothered to pay a visit to the hospital where the body of the demised is lying since last night. They were apathetic enough to not send a security person with the body. It was only after JNUSU members got in touch with senior security officers that they sent personnel to the hospital.

    "When equality is denied everything is denied. There is no Equality in M.Phil/Phd Admission, there is no equality in viva – voce, there is only denial of equality, denying Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat recommendation, denying Students protest places in Ad – block, denying the education of the Marginalised"

    This was the last facebook post Rajini put before his untimely demise. His death raises many questions. Is this another institutional murder? Why is it that our university spaces are not being able to provide the support and environment where students like Rajini could sustain their life and studies? He was a first generation learner and the only one from his village who made it this far. Why is a first generation learner from a Dalit background forced to commit suicide in a university space?  Why are our universities being turned into graves for those from oppressed backgrounds? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered and acknowledged by all of us.

    First published in NewsClick

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