Wed 20 Jan 2016 7:45AM

Statement on killing of Rohith Vemula

PP Pirate Praveen Public Seen by 285

We should come up with a statement condemning the institutions that killed Rohith Vemula and pledge to fight for an end to all identity based discrimination.

"Ekalavya did not die and neither did Satyakama, but Rohith did. This sad fact could lead to various conclusions. It is a reflection on the unexpected cruelty and the adamantine ideologies undergirding the modern state and its institutions of higher learning. Drona and Ekalavya, Gautama and Satyakama could to some extent negotiate the terms of their relationship. Rohith ostensibly had the might of the Indian Constitution behind him — his fundamental rights as a citizen, reservations policy for students of his socioeconomic background, and the empowering discourses of the Ambedkarite student group which gave him a certain political awareness and the radical energy to fight for the equality he fully expected and deserved, but never got. And yet, when he was rusticated and ousted from his hostel, when he and his companions felt pushed to stage a “sleep-in” outside the university gates; when his stipend was withheld and he had to borrow money, and when he finally felt like he had hit a wall and had no options, Rohith was far worse off than his metaphorical brothers in the ancient literature.

His heartbreaking suicide note states the piercing truth, the skewer that caste ideology drives into every heart filled with hope: “My birth is my fatal accident.” Yes, this is the human condition: our birth, all birth, is an accident. We do not choose our father or mother, our group or community. But only in India, only in caste society, and only for Dalits does this accident of coming into an unequal life become the fatality of either living with relentless inequality and enduring its cruelties, or dying a terrible, unfair, premature and unredeemed death. "

"As scholars we know that individual actions are never just that. This suicide is not an individual act. It is the failure of higher educational institutions in democratic India to meet their most basic obligation: to foster the intellectual and personal growth of India’s most vulnerable young people. Instead, Rohith now joins a long list of victims of prejudice at premier institutions in the country, where pervasive discrimination drives so many Dalit students to depression and suicide, when not simply forcing them to quietly drop out."


Sooraj Kenoth Wed 20 Jan 2016 1:19PM

I don't have any comment on this issue. I neither support nor oppose this. But I really suspect this cause.


[deactivated account] Wed 20 Jan 2016 5:37PM

I second that.. Although there's very little chance that they're the ones at fault when ABVP is involved, I need to read more into this before I support or oppose.. Right now nothing it's very unclear and they're playing the blame game..


Pirate Praveen Thu 21 Jan 2016 8:58AM

@soorajkenoth @arjun what are the questions for which you need answers here?

“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”
― Paulo Freire


[deactivated account] Thu 21 Jan 2016 8:19PM

@praveenarimbrathod.. Nah
.it's not that.. I really don't know much about it.. Have just read one article about on this topic and all I understood was that they allegedly assaulted ABVP member and we're suspended as a result.. I.still.Don't know why exactly he committed suicide.. I've read his letter but it doesn't state why.. And I haven't read any article stating if they really did assault the ABVP member or what exactly happened..

And I like this better: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” -- Desmond tutu
It's one of my favorite quotes..


Sooraj Kenoth Fri 22 Jan 2016 7:47AM

Some cause based on cast, to solve a cast based issue, will never resolve the issue at all.


Pirate Praveen Mon 1 Feb 2016 6:57AM

P Sainath's speech at Hyderabad University

@vidyut writes "Understanding Rohith Vemula"

@soorajkenoth agreed. So events like this serves as teachable moments when people don't understand the philosophical arguments and big issues. We were all talking about government surveillance much before Snowden revealed the extend of surveillance, but it woke people up of the reality and rallied people around the world on the idea of privacy and resisting surveillance.

So lets use this moment, the suicide of Rohith Vemula to wake people up and rally them around to resist all kinds of discrimination.

@arjun you should watch the video of Sainath speech I shared above. Also read this Sainath brings this issue in context.


Fayad Fami Mon 1 Feb 2016 7:47AM

I should share my opinion before I start reading more about this.

The day after Rohit commited suicide I started sharing his note with communities around. One of the groups stayed away from the topic. A person from another free software and freedom loving group replied "Let's not add politics here". And then some of us replied here the same way.

But which part can be political here. His life and his death, or his association with something he believed in ? I think neither of the two.

When we fail to comment about his death I think it is because we cannot value his life.

His dispute with BJP party and ABVP students started off when their group first showed a documentary of Muzaffarnagar riot in the college. Later it became a fight against caste. I can imagine him as someone brave defending his belief against a group of fanatics.

Seriously, did we fail to comment because he was an activist who faught against a political party ?


[deactivated account] Mon 1 Feb 2016 8:04AM

@praveenarimbrathod thanks.. Will do

@fayadfami I don't think anyone here at Indian.pirates should have a problem discussing about the topic..
If not.this, then what's the whole point of the group.. We should look into this..
I'm actually quite late to get to this topic..

What did you guys have in mind?


Fayad Fami Mon 1 Feb 2016 3:51PM

@arjun @soorajkenoth Sorry I could only think of him as an individual and nothing along with it.

I think somewhere we are forgetting that his dispute with college and abvp was not the only thing that drove him to suicide. Because I am sure a guy who faught this hard to make a living, earn his degree and then phd will be too silly to give up because he had a fight with some fools.

This is a long read.