RTIwala Reveals: Only a few people actually have it in them to stir up an entire nation that happens to be the world’s largest democracy. Not all ordinary people leave an extraordinary narrative behind. The suicide of a 26-year old Rohit Vemula leaves so many questions unanswered till date…
Who was Rohit Vemula?
Rohit Vemula was born on January 30th in 1989 in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh to Manikumar Vemula and Radhika. He was the student at the University of Hyderabad and studied Ph.D. and also had written book titled ‘Caste Is Not a Rumor’. His father is from Vaddera caste an OBC and his mother from the Mala, which is a scheduled caste. This ‘caste’ story had also played a vital role in his life.
In July 2015, he was stopped being paid the scholarship of Rs.25000 per month from the university as he was suspected of raising issues under the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) banner. He also served as an activist with Ambedkar’s Students Association and committed suicide on 17th January 2016. He was suspended from the college along with 4 other ASA members because of being charged as “casteist” and performing “anti-national” activities, a complaint filed against them from ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad).
What is the history behind the suicidal mystery?
This all story happened between ASA (Ambedkar’s Students Association) activists and ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) on 3rd August 2015. When ASA activists showed their disappointment against the death penalty of Yakub Memon, a convicted terrorist of 1993 Bombay bomb attack and also showed disapproval to the ABVP attack on the screening of the documentary ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ in Delhi University. In response to this ABVP gave a letter to the Union Minister Dattatreya reporting ASA’s anti-social activities done their local leader, Nandanam Susheel Kumar.
The application was forwarded to the then Union Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani (2016) and then to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, P. Appa Rao, who confirmed the suspension of those 4 ASA members. After the confirmation of suspension, Rohit committed suicide in January 2016.Since then it became a widespread agenda in the media that it was an alleged case of discrimination against Dalits. The highly reputed institutions have always been characterized as being partial to the students belonging to the lower caste.
How did the ‘caste’ factor put Rohit at stake?
Rohit is said to belong to the Mala caste of his mother Radhika, as she was disowned by her husband Mani Kumar, who belongs to Vaddera. His father left his mother on getting to know the fact that Radhika belongs to the community of ‘untouchables’, despite the fact that Rohit’s so-called grandmother Anjani Devi too, had adopted little Radhika when she was very young and used to live nearby her neighborhood. In fact, Anjani Devi married off the little Radhika at the age of 14 and allowed her to call her ‘mother’ which was actually not the truth, but the half-truth.
One of Rohit’s friends Riyaz Sheikh told the media, that Rohit hated to go to his grandmother as he had always seen her mother doing all the household work like a maid. Rohit had realized this at his early age that grandmother was there just for a namesake; else they were complete slaves for Anjani Devi and her ‘biological’ family. She emerged to be a manipulative employer to Radhika rather than a caring mother.
Does Rohit Vemula Suicide Gelled Up Emotions and Politics on Personal and Professional Fronts?
Rohit had suffered the bitter truth of his hardworking mother at his grandmother’s house and the abusing she suffered from his father. Rohit had done menial jobs like construction laborer and a catering boy to fund his education. His Ph.D. was not a mere degree for him but meant much more worth to him. Since his childhood, he had gone through the phases of pain, emotions, sorrows, and relations in his surroundings, he felt loneliness.
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When this tragedy got over there was no one to blame for neither the Judiciary System or the HCU (Hyderabad Central University) at the end Justice Roopanwal had spoken to psychologists and psychiatrists to ascertain whether a major upheaval in the last few months played a part in pushing a weak mind towards suicide.
We can only conclude that our system needs to get more purified for Child Labour Act, child marriages, casteism and stressful youth in order to have a dignified life that one seeks.