Know why Rohith killed self?
I do understand why Rohith Vemula died. That is, when I read his suicide news along with his -'only writing work,-' his suicide note. Unless one...
A report of Human Rights Watch recalls how prosecutorial failures overturned convictions in high profile incidents against dalits and tribals in Bihar and AP in the recent past. The attacks on minorities, the threat by some to build Ram Mandir at the disputed site, the atrocities against dalit women in this country,
the killings of Kalburgis of the land and conditions of our hospitals and educational institutions, the refusal of the police to register cases, the impunity with which some of our law makers and their wards commit crimes in this country only to get away with their masters blessings...it is a long list. It does not need any uncommon exercise of the imagination to perceive the insecurity feeling all this instils in the minds of many in this country
I do understand why Rohith Vemula died. That is, when I read his suicide news along with his 'only writing work," his suicide note. Unless one clubs these two – the person who is no more and the turmoil he had undergone before becoming just another crime number in the police station which had jurisdiction over the campus – it is not easy to arrive at conclusions.
Let us have a relook at his note in which the last sentence says "no one is responsible for my this act of killing myself.” This could not be disputed. It was his very own act of killing himself. It is also true that he did not blame anyone except himself and his problems. He just made a statement: “The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind."
Even after hearing his soul cry out thus, if people are ready to argue over his death, the compulsions that provoked the extreme step, question his very caste to claim that it was not a non-dalit vs dalit issue and reel out lies and half truths, do we have to crucify Rohith?
Has he mentioned any MP's name or organisation, asked the HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, the other day to wash her hands off the issue. In how many cases people committing suicide out of complete disgust have pinned the responsibility on someone? It is not anger that drove Rohith to the extreme step.
"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.”
Someone with such deep understanding of life and pain would never blame individuals. You don't have to be a psychiatrist to evaluate a persona. Rohith's loneliness and his grief were such that he never thought it fit to blame anyone pointedly but he certainly pointed a finger at every system in the country that led him to take his own life.
Do we still have to descend to trample not only justice but even the common laws of humanity? Are not the crimes of humanity due to abuse of power just as in this case? Rohith's suicide is a proof of criminality of the blackest dye, of tyranny the most vile and premeditated, of oppression the most severe and grinding and of cruelty the most hard and unparalleled.
Will the society and the system give us a count of the tears shed by Rohith (and the likes) and the weight of the fetters that bore him down? As William Shakespeare writes in his Julius Ceaser "O Judgement!
Though art fled to brutish beasts, And mean have lost their reason!" Let me also recall the memorable words of Sir James Fitz-James Stephen, a law member of the Supreme Council of the Kingdom during 1969-1872, who once said that: "A single act of injustice done by the government of this country is more disastrous to its prestige and influence than a great military disaster upon a battle field.”
Like Rohith, I am also not judging anyone for their omissions and commissions, just listing the grievances. When Narendra Modi lay emphasis on protection of women from violence and other abuses and to stand by the deprived sections of the society, many sections believed in him. The mandate given to the BJP was a decisive and significant one.
Modi has stressed on protection of women from violence and other abuses, and access to healthcare and sanitation. He has urged Members of Parliament to establish model villages with better infrastructure and modern sanitation facilities in rural areas, and, in his first public speech, called for a decade-long moratorium on communal divisions and discrimination.
The World Report 2015 of Human Rights Watch recalls the BJP government's commitment to freedom of speech only to point out that State censorship continues and ultranationalist and other religious militant groups that respond to views they do not like with threats of violence have only grown.
It also recalls how restrictions on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) only tightened and how inflammatory remarks by BJP politicians have added to a sense of insecurity among religious minorities.
"Caste-based discrimination and neglect of tribal communities is also a continuing problem in India, as is sexual abuse and other violence against women and children.
The awarding of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to activist Kailash Satyarthi spotlighted the fact that millions of children in India are still engaged in the worst forms of laboour.” The report is very categorical in saying "incidents of violence against religious minorities spiked in 2013 in the run-up to national elections; according to government sources 133 people were killed and 2,269 injured in 823 incidents.”
Remember Shamli and Muzzafarnagar incidents? Remember the 30 children who died in the relief camps due to inadequate arrangements? Shall we also recall how a fringe group organised protests in Pune against a social media post and took law into its own hands in killing Mohsin Shaikh who, it later turned out that, had no link to it at all?
The report also recalls how prosecutorial failures overturned convictions in high profile incidents against dalits and tribals in Bihar and AP in the recent past. The attacks on minorities, the threat by some to build Ram Mandir at the disputed site, the atrocities against dalit women in this country,
the killings of Kalburgis of the land and conditions of our hospitals and educational institutions, the refusal of the police to register cases, the impunity with which some of our law makers and their wards commit crimes in this country only to get away with their masters blessings...it is a long list.
It does not need any uncommon exercise of the imagination to perceive the insecurity feeling all this instils in the minds of many in this country. Still the restless and unscrupulous minds in this country defend each of these violations gleefully, though fully aware of the long term damage it would cause to the social fabric of this country.
When Kailash Satyarthi was awarded the Noble Peace Prize, the country celebrated and those in the government rushed to greet him. What was the country celebrating? The fact that a multitude of children were employed in very dangerous avocations in the country?
That even if provided mid-day meals, several of them drop out from the schools as they are forced to work and earn money only to live?In June 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child identified several areas in which the Indian government had failed to ensure protection of children from discrimination, harmful practices, sexual abuse, and child labour.
It also raised concerns about Maoist militants recruiting children and attacking schools, and about government armed forces occupying schools in Maoist-affected areas despite Supreme Court rulings prohibiting the practice.
Hence, I do not view Rohith's suicide in isolation. I cannot. The civil society is losing faith in the fairness and judgement of the rulers. There are many more instances and a common theme running across to be wary of these developments in the country. As Shakespeare wrote "I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke. But, here I am to speak what I do know.”