Homage to a Great Mind


Georgy Kuruvila Roy

In an article written condemning the objective violence pertaining to the suicide of Rajani a Dalit engineering student in Kerala, Rekha Raj does not for one moment associate her suicide with victimization. For her, Rajani and students like her should be seen as those icons from the Dalit community who braved all odds and struggled against a casteist system to become someone. Following this, doesn't this hold true for the suicide of Romit Vemula in UOH? Doesn't he also belong to the long list of martyrs who believed in Freedom and throughout their life struggled for it? In the end when they found out that the symbolic space where they live is actually un-free giving them nothing and also violently silencing them, they committed suicide?

rohith v

Here one has to resist all the ideas that try to portray them as mere victims of the same institution that they were fighting against. By saying that they are merely the victims of a system and that they have fallen prey to the institution aren't we actually saying that they were similar to the institutions that they were actually resisting not for one day or two months but through their life? Here following Althusser a death becomes meaningful only through the meaning ascribed to it.

By saying that his suicide was merely a result of the institutional mechanism aren't we saying that he was merely a victim who was subjugated by the system? Is this the true story? What we all know is that what made him commit suicide - unlike most of us who are ready to normalize most of the violence of our situation - was the fact that he was not ready to accept it and he was fighting against it. What made the ABVP, and the Central government that it runs, take notice of him is precisely that he was not only speaking against them in private (like most of us), but more importantly, he took the fight to the streets, spreading the message of freedom and asking people to join the struggle. By saying that he was merely a victim thus takes away the meaning of his life and also his death.

This does not mean that the objective circumstances that led to Rohith's death are un-significant, but not significant in the terms that these sellers of victimization proclaim or rather disclaim it to be. More than anything what his life and death shows is the difficulty of fighting against a totalitarian government that is ruling our country. In their quest to do away with all opposition they plant fake evidences and violently exclude all people who resist them - we all know how the inquiry committee rusticated Rohith and his friends.

If for one reason that this person lived and struggled throughout his life, it was for democracy and this continued even at a most difficult time when all the democratic functions are being made null by our government. Metaphorically, wasn't his life like one of those purple flowers which offers us salvation and hope - a symbol of life in unlivable conditions and death, a tragic reminder of the un-hospitable times we live in where struggle is becoming more and more hard?

At this moment, when there are lot of crocodile tears being shed on his death, shouldn't we restrain ourselves from joining them and pay homage to a life which struggled for freedom, and a death which tells us I AM NOT GOING TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD WHERE I CANNOT EXERCISE MY BASIC FREEDOM AND MOREOVER IN A WORLD IN WHICH I AM NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO STRUGGLE FOR MY FREEDOM.

Here one is reminded of that wonderful poem written by the Malayalam Dalit poet Renukumar on the untimely death of the black sprinter - Florence Griffith Joyner. Renukumar not for one moment tries to cry about the death of a figure he had adored but, through wonderful imagery shows us the struggle in her life and ends the poem by saying like you, we will also run untiringly for our freedom. Homage to a great mind of our times: may your soul rest in peace and may your spirit of freedom guide us in our struggles - for if your life and death means something, it is not victimization.....

Jai Bhim!



Georgy Kuruvila Roy works with Dalit Camera in its Bengal Chapter. He is pursuing PhD in CSSS, Kolkata.

Other Related Articles

Maharashtra government loots SC/ST Sub-Plan funds again
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
  Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan Atrocity Helpline +91-20-69101111 Diwali is celebrated by giving gifts to others, but Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister, Maharashtra is setting a new trend of... Read More...
Social Smuggling: Prof. Kancha IIaiah Shepherd's mirror to society
Friday, 13 October 2017
  Raju Chalwadi Prof. Kancha IIaiah Shepherd is a renowned political scientist and an anti-caste activist. He is one of the fiercest critics of the Hindu social order and caste system in present... Read More...
Deekshabhumi: School for Commoners
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
  Mahipal Mahamatta and Adhvaidha K “Though, I was born a Hindu, I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu”, Babasaheb proclaimed in the speech delivered at Yeola in 1936. His... Read More...
Rohingyas and Origins of the Caste System
Sunday, 08 October 2017
Umar NizarHow foolish it would be to suppose that one only needs to point out this origin and this misty shroud of delusion in order to destroy the world that counts for real, so-called 'reality'. We... Read More...
For a fistful of self-respect: Organised secular and religious ideologies and emancipatory struggles
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Round Table India We are happy to announce the first of a series of conversations between participants and stakeholders in emancipatory struggles of Annihilation of Caste and Racial Inequality. ... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Ram Nath Kovind is not a Dalit, Dalit is a Spring of Political Consciousness
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
  Saidalavi P.C. The propaganda minister in Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels was so sharp in his thinking that we have come to quote his famous aphorism regarding the plausibility of a lie being... Read More...
Nilesh Khandale's short film Ambuj - Drop the pride in your caste
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Gaurav Somwanshi Nilesh Khandale’s debut short movie, ‘Ambuj’ seeks to shed light on some of the most pervasive but less talked about elements of the Indian caste society. Working as an Event... Read More...
Independence for whom?
Saturday, 26 August 2017
  Parth Shrimali On 14th August, a day before the 71st Independence Day, a Dalit man was assaulted in Sojitra village in Anand district of Gujarat for skinning a dead cow. Earlier this year, in... Read More...
What's caste? What's reservation?
Thursday, 07 September 2017
  Vinay Shende Every few days, there are news and reports that come out telling us that SC/ST/OBC students committed suicide or dropped-out from College/ University due to Caste discrimination.... Read More...
Altering the language of Justice: State violence and Legal battles
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
  Lakshmi KTP In a deepening environment of utter dissatisfactions, depression, and negativity with the present state of affairs in the country with the Hindu state and its Brahmanic rule, it is... Read More...