Rohith Vemula Is Alive
9 comments | by Rahul S Garde
Rohith Vemula Is Alive
By Adv.Rahul S Gade
22 January, 2016
The world's largest democratic nation has once again shown its despicable fangs of inhumanity. The story of Rohith is no different from those who committed suicides in past. Every year at least 4 Dalit students’ suicides are reported from premier educational institutes of IIT, MBBS, Engineering, etc due to caste discrimination from upper caste Hindus.
The real culprits are not the right-wing government alone but the governments in past and those all who are against the principles of equality and liberty enshrined in our constitution, of which we all are equal heirs.
The right to life and personal liberty are denied to the dalits overtly at rural parts and subtly at urban parts, by the Hindu upper caste religious orthodoxy. Those like Rohith suffer death if tried to assert these basic rights and proclaimed as “Anti-nationalist”, “Castiest” and "Extremist". There is no escape for the dalits running from rural to urban India from the caste Hindus, it should not come as surprise that dalits who managed to leave India for elite nations like UK and the US found Hindu caste orthodoxy poison spreading oversees too.
The Hindu orthodoxy of caste eminence is not restricted to any particular government, institutes, organization including charitable but has infected even other religions. Religions such as Sikh, Christian, and Muslim, whose fundamental belief though different from Hinduism are however influenced by Hindu caste orthodoxy, have evolved into practicing and professing caste within.
The dalit students since loathed by the high caste Hindus also suffer the indifference from Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians in presence of caste Hindus, as it would be ignominy for those belonging to other religions to befriend dalits and support them. The only silver line amongst the caste ridden Indian society are those with truly liberal thoughts who believes in positive change and keep humanity before religion or at par with pious religious beliefs. BJP or Congress Government- Two sides of same coin. While people from all caste and religion showed sympathy and condemned the tragic death of the promising research scholar rising from rages to riches academically if not for his democratic activism.
It is disheartening to note, the ruling party BJP Government of India along with its sister organizations RSS/ABVP vigorously attempting to portrait the young research scholar, Rohith Vemula, as an “Anti-nationalist”, “Castiest” and "Extremist" as a threat to the nation, definitely are politically blind and compelled. One cannot ignore, the highhanded manner by which the Union Ministers handled the situation, allegedly naming Rohith and his four friends as anti-social elements and pressurizing an autonomous educational institute to penalize the students. Such allegations are but the only reason that led to the death of Rohith, who saw no end to this injustice meted out to them for voicing human rights of freedom of expression (screening of Muzaffarrnagar…), freedom of life, against capital punishment (hanging of Yakub Memon), etc.
These are the same freedom for which the liberal society word wide raises concern and fight for, and India needs to lead as largest democracy and land of Buddha. It would be unfair and unjust to find any other reason that demoralized and sealed the faith of Rohith, a true nationalist, aspirant social engineer, who dreamt of a society that respects and promotes human values embodied in the principals of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Rohith’s caste was secondary concern for him, as evident from his successful struggle with his dalit identity, which he in fact successfully maneuvered through reaching to the highest academic level. However, Rohith never would have thought that his voice would be stifled and nipped in bud by pack of wolves positioned at highest level of government authority portraying him as as an “Anti-nationalist”, “Castiest” and "Extremist" as a threat to the nation.
It was naive of Rohith to underestimate his nemesis in the established organization like RSS/ABVP overtly supported by the Government itself. The dalit suicides, murders, rape and torture has been prevalent even in the Congress regime. If Rohith would have got murdered inboard day light during Congress regime probably even then there would not have been so much hue and cry. However the way it is flared up during the BJP regime is nothing but politics. Whatever the politics, it is wake-up call for dalits to be united and stand their ground to assert their constitutional rights as citizen of India first and last. Educational Institutes- biased Many believe that Rohith was radical enough to be part of such prime educational institute “University of Hyderabad” however the varsity fail to realize that he truly served his educational institute by upholding the principals of life, and personal liberty, as should be embodied in any educational institutes. Educational institutes that restrict these core principals are nothing but breeding grounds for fanatics, whose objective is to restrict any debates or changes in a democratic ambiance.
Rohith rightfully agitated against such fanatic voices that has unabatedly going berserk since the right-wing government came to power at the Center. In any democratic society, voicing concern within the constitutionally provided parameters no matter against the decision of Government in power should not be a concerned but a healthy sign of difference of opinion. Moreover, demonstration, debates and unions by students within an educational institute campus has far reaching benefits in building the able and ready future leaders of the nation. If this right of students to protest and exchange idea through healthy debate are curbed, it will grow frustration within the students, with wider implications affecting the society at large and the nation itself. While groups like ABVP, NSUI, or others politically motivated groups may have adverse affect on the institutional campus, however impartial reasonable restrictions without any external influence can always promote desirable results. Rohith and such other like-minded were within their constitutional rights to voice their concern against the capital punishment, screening of films or protesting against saffronization.
If the educational institute fail to support and protect the liberal voices, peaceful protest and maintain the impartiality, it would be catastrophic to the nation. If educational institutes served only the fanatic caste-Hindus who laminate every opinion against them as anti-social, would harm the budding intelligentsia leading to many more youths to commit suicide unrestricted to particular caste, gender and our national interest. The youth of India would never dare to question the berserk saffronization of Hindu fanatics or in that cases any fanatic status quo, decisive to the diverse fabric of this country. Such politically motivated actions that tend to destroy the very essence of educational institutes to promote democratic values through open debates and ideas albeit the intricacies of social diversity and conflicts are aptly “Anti-nationalist”, “Castiest” and "Extremist". Judiciary- Mute Spectator
We conveniently blame the Government for their inaction to protect the democratic principles and human rights (Dalits). The legislative branch and the executive branch has shown time and again their incompetence and unwillingness to pass the laws more stringent to curb the caste atrocities, recent example been the pending Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill 2014. In fact the Executive branch has been radically using the state machinery to serve narrow right wing interest, and Rohtih is its recent victim. Supreme Court of India should feel equally guilty and ashamed about the turns of events that took away a life of a Student, in midst of blatant violation of fundamental rights of life and liberty, within a prime educational institute.
The Constitution has enshrined the duty to protect the democracy to the tier of branches Legislative, Executive, and the Judiciary. Each branch has the duty to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of the India, and question the other for any blatant violation these rights. In case of Rohith’s death, his belief in securing justice and having constitutional assigned safe guards were absolutely diminished. Particularly, after what he believed was a difference of opinion with other Student Union, to his disbelief escalated to the extent that Union Ministers personally with unprecedented haste branded him as “Anti-national”, “Castiest” and “Extremist” dangerous to the society. It was definitely, these false allegations and the entire state machinery against him, with no hope for justice, that he was pressurized to kill himself. It was not just the murder of Rohith, but also of the principles of democracy, that the Judiciary is duty bound to guard. Today, the youth particularly Dalits are in precarious situation whether justice will ever be meant to Rohith.
In the larger interest of the public and the nation proud of its largest democracy, for the future of the nation the youth, justice must be done. The entire world has witnessed how the ruling government tortured a young promising Research Scholar to death and is watching whether justice would be served. Any lack of judicial activism at this point of time would be detrimental for the future of the nation, the Judiciary cannot be a mute spectator to such an institutional death; and absolve its duties as one of the guardian of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court of India as the symbol of hope should Suo moto take action to bring the perpetrators of Rohith’s death to justice, before many more Rohith’s succumb to the bias Government. Dalits- their own enemies It is time for the Dalits to be their own saviors, and owe the responsibility for Rohith’s death and many others.
It is high time to realize our unity to seek the advantage of our valuable cumulative vote, and fight the real culprits behind the death of Rohith Vemula and such others in past. It is worth to refer the final words of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, to educate, agitate and organize and have faith in yourself, and let others have no doubt that our battle is in fullest sense spiritual and not for wealth or for power, it is for freedom for reclamation of the human personality (emphasis added). Such golden words, if followed dutifully, we would even garner support from like-minded Hindus, Muslims, Christians or any other religion. Rohith is just a recent case that has ignited the lost flame of unity amongst dalit brotherhood. Unfortunately, there would be many more such incidences but only time will decide how we are going to face this injustice? and for how long? and at what consequence? definitely remaining fragmented would lead to losing the little breathing space hard fought by Dr. Ambedkar for us.
There is no escape how educated you are, or how wealthy you be, or at which part of the world you are, if you shy away from the reality of dalit struggle, unless you confront it as a united force. Need of the hour is to reinforce fragmented dalits into one party, one voice, one demand “equality’! As a tribute to Rohith Vemula, it would be befitting to quote the greatest social reformer of all time Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, “The question is not whether a community lives or dies, the question is on what plane does it live. There are different modes of survival. But all are not equally honorable. For an individual as well as a society, there is a gulf between merely living and living worthily. To fight in a battle and live in a glory is one mode. To beat a retreat to surrender and to live the life of a captive is also a mode of survival”. KEEP THE FLAME OF ROHITH ALIVE!