Ambedkar ideas inspired Rohith Vemula

Having read books of Ambedkar, Rohith called himself an Ambedkarite.

Hyderabad: A fan of famous science educator Carl Sagan, Rohith Vemula was one of the brightest students in UoH. He bagged the prestigious Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) fellowship and a UGC Junior Research (JRF) Fellowship after he joined HCU. He held out great promise as a budding scholar.

Rohith’s friends remember him for his ability to explain complex science subjects and theories in simple, precise ways. A voracious reader of literature and politics, Rohith was fascinated by Babasaheb Ambedkar’s ideas. He was financially supporting his poor family by sending money from his fellowship fund.

Having joined UoH for his Master’s Degree in Life Science, Rohith had cracked the CSIR test in his first attempt. “After that, when he joined PhD, the university did not allow him to get the CSIR fund due to technical reasons. So, he applied for UGC test and cracked JRF,” said Yasir Vayanad, a research scholar and friend of Rohith.

After completing his MSc, Rohith switched his academic discipline from Life Science to Social Science, to pursue his PhD. “During his Master’s, he had read a lot of literature and grown to become a socially-committed individual. He thought of doing a PhD in Social Science, hoping that it would help him engage in social activism,” said one of his friends.

After reading books of B.R. Ambedkar, Rohith called himself an Ambedkarite. During his conversation with friends, he often said he gave prominence to science. Religion, he said, had no place in his life. He also discussed about the writings and TV shows of Carl Sagan, which had influenced him greatly. “He was brilliant in explaining scientific theories. After watching the movie Interstellar, he explained the time dilation and general relativity so vividly for us to understand,” said another friend of Rohith. During the last few days of the present protest, Rohith grew depressed as the Vice Chancellor refused to listen to the students’ pleas. Said Prem Kumar, a friend of Rohith, “We used to sit and discuss various social issues during the protest. In the last few days, he appeared really disturbed. He told me: “While other students on this campus are leading a comfortable life, we five Dalits are sleeping like dogs outside.”

He was born and brought up in Savitribai Nagar in Guntur. His father worked as security guard in a private company.

Trump will be lilliput before you: Rohith to VC
In his letter to UoH vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula, who ended his life on Sunday, likened his activities to the bigotry of US Republican presidential election front-runner Donald Trump.
The full letter :-
First, let me praise your dedicated take on the self-respect movements of Dalits in HCU campus. When an ABVP president got questioned about his derogatory remarks on Dalits, your kind personal interference into the issue is historic and exemplary. five dalit students are “socially boycotted” from campus spaces. Donald Trump will be a lilliput in front of you. By seeing your commitment, I am tempted to give two suggestions as a token of banality.
1. Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar.

2.Supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students from your companion, the great Chief Warden. As we, the scholars, PhD students, have already passed that stage and already members of Dalit Self-Respect movement unfortunately, we here are left with no easy exit, it seems. Hence, I request your highness to make preparations for the facility “Euthanasia” for students like me. And I wish you and the campus rest in peace forever.
Thanking You,
Yours sincerely

Rohith’s last rites performed
The last rites held on Monday of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide Sunday, resembled one of a convicted criminal.

It was conducted in a rushed and hush-hush manner under tight security, giving little time for his family, friends and relatives to say a final goodbye.

As per sources, the police pressurised the family to conduct his last rites in Hyderabad even though they wanted the body taken to native Guntur.

After the autopsy of the body, Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula was not consulted on the last rites in Hyderabad.

His father was not present as he did not travel to Hyderabad.

Letter reveals Rohith’s love for life and nature
“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. The value of a man is reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living. I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty,” wrote UoH Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula in his suicide note.

The highly emotional letter indicated his outlook on life and his passion for science.

“I would not be around when you read this letter. Don’t get angry... I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints on anyone. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. 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,” he wrote. “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.”

May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding (the) world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past,” Rohith wrote.

“People may dub me a coward, and selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe (in), I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.” He concluded his letter saying: “Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone (went). Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive. ‘From shadows to the stars.”

Rohith was discriminated, say students
Students alleged that a petty argument between students had been twisted by Mr Dattatreya. They alleged that Rohith’s death was the result of discrimination against Dalit students at the behest of Mr Dattatreya.

In his letter to HRD minister Smriti Irani, Mr Dattatreya had sought action against the “anti-national acts” happening on the UoH campus.

The students alleged that Mr Dattatreya had influenced the HRD ministry and pressurised prof. Podile to take action against Dalit students.

“The UoH administration suspended Dalit students following orders from the MHRD. The Union minister took up the false allegation made by ABVP activists and pressurised university officials through the MHRD to kick out the students. This suicide is result of their actions,” an activist of the Ambedkar Student Association alleged.

A Cyberabad police official said the case was registered following a complaint from the UoH students.

“We have registered cases against them based on a complaint filed by students. An FIR was registered under IPC Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. (Union minister of state) Bandaru Dattatreya, vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, MLC N. Ramachandra Rao and ABVP activists Susheel Kumar and Rama Krishna have been named in the FIR,” said Gachibowli inspector J. Ramesh Kumar.

UoH students demanded the removal of Mr Dattatreya from the Union ministry. “Mr Ramachandra Rao should also be removed as MLC. The VC should be sacked,” said D. Prashant, one of the five students suspended along with Rohith.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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