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

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Rohith Vemula: Foregrounding Caste Oppression in Indian Higher Education Institutions

In April 2021, a professor from the Indian Institute of Technology verbally abused students belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. The incident brought to the fore conversations around caste and education. One is instantly reminded of how five years before this incident, in 2016, Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad, died by suicide. Between 2016 and 2021 itself, India lost several students belonging to Dalit and Bahujan communities to suicide as a result of caste-based discrimination. That elite Indian higher education institutions practise caste-based discrimination is nothing new. But Vemula’s death sparked a political movement. This reading list attempts to understand how and why this came to be.

Bridging the Dalit-Left-Liberal Divide

Dalit and Adivasi politics, long enslaved by liberal civil society, has found a new voice in the aftermath of Rohith Vemula's suicide and subsequent student protests. The left-liberal establishments will benefit from standing together with this subaltern democracy in resisting the Hindu right-wing forces.

VC Must Go

The Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) strongly condemns the brutal police action on students and teachers at the University of Hyderabad campus on 22 March 2016. Students were protesting the return of the vice chancellor (VC) Appa Rao Podile to the campus, and official duties. He had gone...
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