The death of a 26 year old PhD scholar at the Hyderabad University on 17th January 2016 disturbed me. Rohit Vemula’s death continues to disturb me very deeply. That someone so young should even contemplate suicide is disturbing enough. That he did commit suicide gives me sleepless nights even now. Was it cowardice? Was it despair? Was it discrimination? Poverty? Caste? Loss? Pain? Protest?
I do not endorse suicide. The act is neither symbolic nor worthy of my sympathy. However, in Rohith Vemula’s letter I found expression to my own despair at the way our constitutional freedoms are systematically being snatched away by an apathetic establishment. His last letter is a reflection of how our polarised social order has made it impossible for the ‘other’ to even aspire for equal opportunity. His last letter made me realise that sometimes what we deem as suicide is actually an act of collective murder by a stifling society and a dictatorial establishment.
Here is my tribute to Rohith. Here is the last letter of a sensitive young man who should not have died. Here is Rohith Vemula’s last letter.
Narrated by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Translated by Swanand Kirkire
with thanks to :
Arnab Gayan, Apurva Asrani, Harshit Sharma, Alok Tripathi, Vipul Arora