ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rohith's Living Legacy

Rohith Vemula's suicide has catalysed a countrywide movement against discrimination on campuses.

Students have played a vital role in the politics of modern India, shaping its destiny at crucial moments, both during the freedom struggle as well as in the seven decades since independence. The countrywide movement which has emerged in the wake of the tragic death of Rohith Vemula in the University of Hyderabad is perhaps one such movement which will alter the nature of India’s polity for the better.

As EPW has noted earlier (“Death by Discrimination,” 23 January 2016), Rohith’s suicide was triggered in conditions where the university, as an institution, bared itself as a political partisan punishing Dalit students by using the methods of social discrimination. There was already a student agitation in the university against this partisanship which had united all organisations other than the Hindutva fundamentalists. Rohith despaired at getting justice, despite this agitation. The many committees, forums, rules and laws which dot our institutions to ostensibly protect the discri­minated and marginalised from the workings of prejudice held little hope for Rohith; they had failed so many others in the years past.

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