Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Rohith Vemula

(A disclaimer - I don't know the full background of the case but this post is not about that case itself. I also support reservations and feel that they must continue for a few decades more!!)

Rohith Vemula - God bless his soul!!

I write this post with all due regards to the departed soul.  

It is reported that about 1.35 lakh people commit suicide in our country every year which is about one in every 4 seconds and while you are reading this post 4-6 people would have committed suicide. That is an astonishing number and we need to see as to what makes people so weak that they want to take their lives.

Is it a fault in our education system? or is it lack of character building in our schools/colleges? or is it the ideology of Ahimsa  that altered our minds over generations!!!

Whatever be the reason, most of them are driven to suicide by drastic situations, but we must change the mental make up that suicide is  the only solution.  The people who die leave behind a suicide note listing out all the evils that forced them to take this drastic step.  They may not have been able to get the law enforcement agencies to take cognizance of their complaint (due to whatever reasons) while alive but once they pass away, the same agencies take note of the suicide note (as it is considered ultimate) and initiate legal proceedings against the alleged accused.  

Therefore, people are ready to die as a last resort to achieve their objective.  This can change if the law enforcement agencies take note of complaints before anyone has to commit suicide and address their issues and more importantly (very debatable though) not take any cognizance of a complaint post suicide.  This will surely stop people from committing suicide to get justice and will also dispel the idea that you can "Achieve justice by dying".  After all, what use is justice when the person is no more!!

Whatever may be the circumstances of the case, if a PhD scholar has to commit suicide, there is something very wrong with our educational system.  We are probably not imbibing enough mental strength to our children in their curriculum.  Also fighting one man or institution need not be a fight to the finish.  And one man should not be allowed to disturb you so much that he drives you to lose your life which is so precious to your family and the Nation.  A few lessons of "Art of living" or the like on student campuses may be in order to bring in a positive air and happiness.

I read Rohith's post about Che Guevara where he offered his salutations to the great man who helped Fidel castro liberate Cuba.  During his life time Che faced many Up's and Down's but remained focussed on his aim regardless. Che fought the oppressive regimes valiantly till he was killed in Bolivia.  I wish Rohith could have taken more inspiration from his idol Che and fought on his authorities as valiantly till he received what was due to him.  Then we would not have lost a precious soul and his family - a near & dear person.  But circumstances might have been very difficult for him to take that extreme step and our full sympathies are with him for that.

Lastly, couple of points  - the first is - i heard that there are separate hostels for bc, sc/st students in some university campuses.  The need for such separate hostels could be reconsidered because if we officially draw up such caste lines within the campus, they are bound to stay in all day to day dealings on campus.  The second - if Rohith's family was so desperately in need of  scholarship money which drove him to suicide - he could have taken up a job part/full time outside to support his family and continue his fight against the authorities rather then end his life.  That's where the student counseling centres on campus could help.   They can counsel the students in distress and lead them in the right direction.

There are some difficult questions to answer in this case but all universities must initiate action to promote equality of all students and endorse measures to creating a positive and transparent atmosphere on campus devoid of any politics. 


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