ITS SOCIAL VENOM, MEASURED ONLY THROUGH DENIAL, INSULT AND INJURY
The suicide of the research student of Central University of Hyderabad (UoH), Rohith Vemula is not an isolated incident. The fatal end came due to the continuous and consistent moves of the Hindutva forces in the university campus, as endevours to strengthen the student wing of RSS viz, ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad). The death of Rohith cannot be construed as the result of the clash between the two group of students. The meticulous move of the UoH authorities and the BJP Ministers of the Union Cabinet provided political patronage to the ABVP, to eliminate all the progressive forces opposite to the activities of saffron group of students.
Freedom of thought and expression must be predominant in any educational institution. A series of actions start from the screening of the short film, ‘Mussafarnagar bhagi hai’, a supportive voice against the hanging of Yahub Memon, who became the approver in the bomb blast case of Mumbai are nothing but on the basis of democratic freedom available to anyone. But these activities of Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) to which Rohith Vemula got associated, was considered detrimental, and a hurdle to strengthen the activities of the student wing of RSS in the campus.
The official action, initiated through the suspension of Rohith Vemula and other four research students based on the complaint of one Susheel Kumar of ABVP, stating the students of ASA had assaulted him. The enquiry conducted by UoH did not confirm the assault on the ABVP student. Immediately after lodging the complaint, Susheel Kumar got admitted in an hospital.
The doctor who attended to him did not mention about any assault on him. On knowing the false nature of the complaint, the UoH authorities, had revoked the suspension of the ASA students but were adamant to stress that these ASA students should not reside in the hostel and should not be present in the campus except during class hours. Besides the monthly stipend granted to Rohith Vemula under the CSIR Junior Fellowship accumalationg to the tune of Rs. 1.75 lakhs was also not disbursed by UoH since August 2015. In the meantime Susheel Kumar lodged a complaint against Rohith and other ASA students in Cyberabad Police Station based on which FIR was filed against them.
In order to pressurise the punishment, the BJP Minister of Telangana Bandaru Dattetraya, Minister of State for Labour influenced the HRD Ministry by writing a letter wherein charging the ASA, ‘casteist, extremist, anti-national’ and to initiate further action against them. The letter of the minister was forwarded to UoH by Mrs. Smriti Irani, Minister of State Human Resource Development for necessary action. Within the span of five months four reminders were sent to UoH to take further action.
This is the way, the dispute between the two students groups got transformed into a political action to strengthen the Hindutva forces in the campus. It is nothing but blatant influence of the Central Government in the administration of a university which is expected to function independently, more so without yielding to the pressure exerted to accomplish the political agenda.
When the situation went alarmingly after the death of Rohith Vemula, both the ministers issued statements, belatedly, that they had simply forwarded the letter in a formal manner. But the series of reminders which is not the usual practice in the administrative parlance and the derogatory remarks about the ASA students revealed the real meaning of the ‘formality’. Besides, Minister Smriti Irani stated that the action was taken against the ASA students who all belong to Dalit, based on the UoH Enquiry Committee, headed by a Dalit professor. The Statement of Minister was also proved wrong since the committee was headed by a professor, belonging to upper caste.
To conceal the misdeeds the minister made false statement continuously which itself shows that the intention in resolving the student dispute is not genuine and positive. Every move on their part was to find fault with the ASA student group, thereby encouraging and enthusing the student wing of the RSS.
The sort of influence and interference of BJP ruling Central Government in educational institutions is not first time at UoH campus. The saffron game was already played in IIT-M (Indian Institute of Technology – Madras) last year and it is being played in many such institutions.
In IIT-M, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle(APSC) an interactive and deliberating student group was banned based on an unanimous complaint received by HRD ministry and forwarded to IIT-M for action. The complaint itself was unanimous on which there is no need for initiating any action. The complaint said, APSC created ‘hatred among students in the name of caste’ and ‘against the Prime Minister and Hindus’. Without even calling for any explanation from APSC or conducting enquiry, IIT-M acted swiftly to ban APSC with immediate effect. This itself showed the action of IIT-M authority to fulfill the wishes of the HRD Ministry.
Opposing the undemocratic action of IIT-M, student agitations exploded throughout the country with the formation of APSC in other IITs viz. Mumbai, Delhi and everywhere. Invariably all the political parties in Tamil Nadu except Sangh Parivar opposed the action of IIT-M, banning APSC. Having witnessed the unrest and agitation of students for positive action, IIT-M felt that it had switched on the button wrongly and lifted the ban on APSC. The same game plan has been enacted at UoH which has led to the suicide of research student, Rohith Vemula, belonging to subaltern section of the servile classes, who might have come up otherwise in his career successfully.
The Sangh Parivar forces have to pay the price for the fatal end of Rohith Vemula and answer for the aftermath agitation which is spreading like wildfire throughout the country. Rohith Vemula, a victim of Hindutva agenda, remains as the symbol of emancipation of the subaltern students.
BRAHMIN WELL UNTOUCHABILITY IS IN PRACTICE AT UoH
In the agitated atmosphere amongst the students and the tense mood, prevailing in the UoH campus, the practice of untouchability at the campus has come to light. A professor of the university who is a brahmin has been allowed to use a well situated in the campus for the exclusive use of himself and the family. No person other than Brahmins is allowed to fetch water from the well. That well is called as ‘Brahmin Well’. How does a well in central university campus, instead of being used by all irrespective of caste identities, is allowed to be used exclusively by one sect? It is a form of untouchability, the abolition of which has been enshrined explicitly in the Indian Constitution.
Such abolished practice of untouchability is practised through exclusive use of the common well by the Brahmins only. If such is the approach and practice of the administrative authorities of UoH, what would be their treatment to the students who belong to the communities other than the Brahmins. How can the ‘Brahmin well’ be in use in this 21st century, that has witnessed lot of advancement in science and technology? Is it not a shame for the secular and democratic polity of the country?