University of Hyderabad
Four years after her son’s death, as India’s university students across the country rise up once more, Radhika Vemula has become a symbol of inspiration and resistance.
Hours after the young scholar's suicide, thousands of protesters were on the streets, waving blue flags.
Sections of students of the university and outfits under the ‘Rohith Vemula Struggle and Solidarity Committee’ banner had given a call for ‘Chalo HCU’ for 17 January.
Five testimonies were rejected.
Anger. Frustration. Fear. Shame. Disgust. Over and over again. This is what I felt as I watched this video. All 18 minutes and 58 seconds of it. Watch this video, and for starters, feel something.
Academic institutions are centres of learning, not training grounds for future politicians. No student body even remotely connected to any political party should be allowed to operate in a university. Instead, as is the case in the US and UK, student bodies should be engaged in the task of addressing the needs of the students.
Rohith Vemula's story is an extremely upsetting cautionary tale about the way caste plays out in the sleek brick and glass buildings of our educational institutions. The barring of Rohith and his fellow students from campus for expressing their political views calls to mind the lingering image of Dalits being forbidden to enter temples. Is the sanctum of the scriptures so different from the libraries that house knowledge?
Comrade Rohith was a popular face, recognised for being a Dalit Marxist activist and a known scholar who bagged the UGC JRF twice and NET thrice. He was an exceptional human being, one who could've been a pride for this institute in coming years. Yet, his own state, his own institute conspired to kill him. His death cannot be considered as an outcome of a depressed mind, but as a strong political statement.