HCU suicide: Hyderbad varisty warped in caste crucible

They also claim that they face discrimination from their peers.

Hyderabad: Discrimination is prevalent against Dalit students, albeit in a covert way, on the HCU campus. So much so, several Dalit students say it’s difficult for them to get a PhD guide even as they work hard and manage to get the prestigious UGC JRF. Dalit students say they also face discrimination from their peer group.

Many upper caste students look down upon the students belonging to backward castes and keep them off their social circles. Students say an ‘undeclared social boycott on Dalit students’ is practised by several faculty members and even batch-mates.

“Here, unlike in villages, this discrimination has an urban dynamics. Nobody would openly ask, ‘Which caste do you belong to?’ or say, ‘You are a Dalit, so do not touch our belongings’. But, as soon as we join the university, some teachers and students would try to find out our caste. They would ask us where we are from, whether we eat non-vegetarian, what is our surname etc,” said Dasari Haribabu, a PhD scholar from the School of Social Science.

Haribabu says untouchability is secretly practised even among the batch-mates. “For example, if a Dalit student gets into a hostel room, it’s quite possible that his upper caste roommate becomes hesitant to share the room".

"Many conservative students do not share food with Dalit students. I have faced this and my friends have faced this,” he said.

MK Premkumar, a PhD scholar in the School of Social Science had to wait for two years to get an apt guide for his research.

“I qualified for JRF in my first attempt, and as per the system, I should be able to get a PhD guide. However, when I joined, no professor took me in and I was compelled to go to a professor who does not specialise in my subject. After waiting for two years, now I got a proper guide. Many Dalit scholars face these kinds of hurdles,” he said

Another MPhil student who did not want to be named had to wait three years to submit his thesis as, he says, his guide did not accept his final draft. “Normally, in one and a half years, MPhil students can submit their thesis. Since I belong to a lower caste, my guide was deliberately delaying my submission,” he alleged.

Most Dalit scholars say they cannot fight or file a complaint against their guides and fellow students. “Most of the victims are poor and have no support from others to stand and fight against these discriminations,” said a PhD student from Sociology.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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