Rohith Vemula was a broken person who ended his life. There is no lack of opportunistic politicians in India, who actively blamed the university administration and the current Central government for the unfortunate suicide of Rohith Vemula, who not only belonged to a financially backward family, but also a backward community.
The 26 years old PhD scholar killed himself on 16th January 2016. The investigation revealed that Rohith committed suicide due to personal problems and personal frustrations. Rohith too, in his suicide note, did not accuse anybody for this unfortunate step. Here are some words from his suicide note:-
- “I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan.”…
- “I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster“…
- “My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.”…
- “If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji”…
- “I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for this act of killing myself. No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act. This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this. Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone”…
It is evident from the suicide note that Rohith Vemula blamed nobody for his death, but himself. The phrase “I have become a monster” indicates that he realized that the path he chose was wrong. He started hating himself for choosing the wrong path.
- He was among the group who protested against the execution of the terrorist Yakub Memon.
- He arranged protest campaign against the Patel Jayanti and Vivekananda Jayanti celebration in university campus. There were a couple of times when Rohith called Vivekananda a caste apologist, a misogynist, etc who did nothing for the society. http://www.dailyo.in/politics/Rohithh-vemula-br-ambedkar-caste-system-dalit-politics-sangh-parivar-bjp-university-of-hyderabad-ambedkar-student-association/story/1/12335.html
- He and his groups often clashed with other student wings even at the slightest disagreement of the ideologies.
- He was even disrespectful to the new Vice Chancellor and often taunted him by calling him “Your Highness”.
- He and his group had beaten a fellow student due to disagreement on political ideologies. The poor fellow belonged to the same social background to which Rohith belonged. In his fight against social discrimination, Rohith failed to realize that the poor boy belonged to the same social strata to which he belonged.
The university administration did exactly what any university in this world would have done- expelling him for his activities which clearly was a breach of discipline. Rohith received several warnings before the matters crossed the limit and the university administration had no other option rather than expelling him. The suspension did not change his attitude. A person, who wanted to become a science writer like Carl Sagan, was spending his valuable time by breaching the disciplinary code in the university campus. Who is responsible if Rohith could not become Carl Sagan?
Rohith Vemula was depressed with his social life and was frustrated with his father who never took care of his family. He did not have a normal family which every child desires. According to some sources, here are some small insights on Rohith’s family.
- Rohith’s mother Radhika is the daughter of a migrant labourer couple who belonged to the Mala caste (SC) as per Anjani Devi.
- Anjani Devi, who belonged to the Vaddera caste (OBC), adopted Radhika.
- Rohith’s father Mani Kumar is from Vaddera He is an alcoholic who used to beat his wife and children until Rohith’s mother separated from him.
- After Rohith’s parents separated, Radhika Vemula raised Rohith and his younger brother Raja Raja Vemula initially had an OBC certificate.
- According to Rohith Vemula’s best friend Riyaz, Rohith’s mother was like a servant in Ajani Devi’s home. While Anjani Devi’s own sons and daughters are engineers, post graduates, etc., Radhika did not have any qualification. She was married off with Mani Kumar at an age of 14.
It is evident that Rohith was facing problems in his life. The phrases like, “unappreciated child” or “my birth was a fatal accident” clearly shows that Rohith was depressed with his father’s attitude towards his family. Rohith used to receive Rs. 28,000 as fellowship, out of which he used to send Rs. 20,000 to his home. That was not enough for the family. Due to the expulsion and due to some faults in the paperwork, he did not receive his fellowship money for some months and so, he could not send money to his home. He had to borrow money from some of his friends and the debt was rising. He even mentioned about this in his suicide note. This is the additional frustration Rohith had.
Rohith Vemula became a pawn when ASA used him for political mileage. Initially, Rohith was with SFI. SFI used him for politics, and when Rohith realized it, he joined ASA.
ASA too, used Rohith Vemula for politics. During the initial days after the expulsion, it was more like a struggle of survival for him. Gradually, he realized the ground reality. He lost the university accommodation, he lost the money and he lost the chance of a bright future. Moreover, due to the ASA, he could not even step back from his stances to rectify his errors. On the other hand, continuing an unjustified fight means he was getting distant from his career he desired for a long time. That was also a major frustration. After all, Rohith hanged himself using the banner of ASA.
The Justice Roopanwal Commission was investigating the probable cause that forced Rohith Vemula to kill himself. It also investigated Rohith’s caste status. The Commission’s report claimed that Radhika Vemula was never told the original names of her biological parents. If she does not know the name of her parents, then it is unlikely that she knows about her parents’ castes.
The report also reflected the claims made by the District-Level Scrutiny Committee (DLSC) report. The DLSC made the report in February 2017. The report said that Rohith Vemula and his mother obtained the SC certificate through fraudulent means and that they were not Dalits. The Commission also gave clean chit to Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani. According to the Commission, Bandaru and Smriti are not responsible for Rohith’s death. The Commission also gave clean chit to the university administration.
Clearly, no one killed Rohith Vemula.