Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lest We Forget - Rohith Vemula’s Last Words

As the sad news of student activist Rohith Vemula’s suicide had hit the nation, political vultures started feeding on the tragedy tagging it Dalit vs Non-Dalit battle. Suicides are often reasoned with failure in life but the question arises that how can an activist who has himself dared to choose to serve people transit to a mindset which prompted him to take the decision. The answer is deep buried in brother Rohith’s suicide note.

As main-stream media was busy discussing this incident in prime-time debates, social media saw a different trend. The dominant youth on the micro-blogging platform twitter was mourning the sad demise of a research scholar but was vocally spilling out their immediate reaction by trending‪ #‎StopIdentityPolitics. They were disappointed to see a student activist's suicide turn into Dalit suicide. Rohith didn’t stand for this in his last moments, which is adamant from what he wrote in his suicide note.

“The value of a man was reduced to his immediate IDENTITY and nearest POSSIBILITY. To a VOTE. To a NUMBER. To a thing.”

Religion-caste based politics has ruined the nation and now the political masters have taken to the campus to spread their hatred. This is evident from political posturing from Rahul Gandhi to the likes of Arvind Kejriwal. But the real culprit who is trying to generate this caste struggle is the slowly eliminating communist ideology in India. From the class struggle proposed by Marx to caste struggle generated from the JNU R&D Left Labs, it has disillusioned and continues till date in the name of Dalit-communist alliance. It is absolute hypocrisy that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had rejected Marxism in his last speech at Katmandu.

Rohith’s suicide note had been sent to the forensic lab for analysis. Reports emerged about an entire paragraph that had been scratched off the note. There is a possibility that it was Rohith who struck off the paragraph, because of a line written in a bracket next to it: "I myself strike these words off." It is signed, purportedly by him. The deleted words are about Rohith's disillusionment with his own union, the Ambedkar Students' Association.

On close examination, the portion of the note that Rohith, perhaps on second thoughts, decided to keep concealed, reads: "ASA, SFI, anything and everything exist for their own sake. Seldom the interest of a person and these organisations match. To get power or to become famous or to be important in between boundaries and to think we are up to changing the system, very often we overestimate our acts and find solace in traits. Of course I must give my credit to these both groups for making introducing me to wonderful literature and people”.

Every young college-going student is today disillusioned about his path to serve the society. We have huge spectrum of artificial insensitive photoshoot NGO’s, caste organizations, religious organizations, extremist organizations, mass but exclusive organizations but very few organization which could develop a national character in the person in return of a satisfaction to serve Indians and not Dalits or Muslims. Innumerable theories/ideologies have failed to capture the fascination of the youth to serve towards its ideologies. They have their ways leading to ‘Son of the soil, Hindu Nation, Muslim Nation, Sikh Nation, Nation of the Mulniwasis, religious conversions and atlast the Utopian ever-charming Revolution!

The goals of individuals or organization can never exceed the goals and character of a nation. Dr. Ambedkar, despite his own bitter experiences with upper caste oppression, was for the “annihilation of caste” and not the "annihilation of upper class people". Same goes for bitter experiences with caste, communities or religion. Let’s unite, sit-back and think that what our previous generations had offered us and then decide what we have to offer for our next generations.
I pledge to remember Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar each day by abiding by the constitution which prohibits violent movements and discriminates people on the basis of caste and religion.
Jay Bheem!
- Anand Purohit
(Views expressed are personal)