Citizens for Justice and Peace

The importance of being Rohith Vemula

27, Jan 2016

Valson Thampu, Jan 27, 2016:
There is something worse than nudging a young man of promise towards suicide. It is the depravity of fudging its meaning, the mockery of casting the dead into a coffin of falsehood. So, Rohith Vemula is reconfigured as a victim of clinical depression. Depression is not such a bad thing. Deepika Padukone too admits, after all, to being depressed on and off. Rohith’s mother should be grateful, no?

Are we such poor readers that we can’t even get a suicide note all right? Suicide is the most unambiguous statement in the world. And yet, we don’t seem unable to read the ‘suicide note’ in the dark-light of the ‘suicide’ it corresponds to, and its familiar-yet-bizarre context.

“Please serve 10 mg of Sodium Azide to all Dalit students at the time of admission with the direction to use it when they feel like reading Ambedkar.” Surely, a sentence burdened with depression. “And supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students.” Yet another sting of depression. Granted.

Who but cretins will argue that Rohith was not depressed? The question to ask is not if he was depressed at the time of taking his life. Of course, he was not amused while putting the noose around his neck!

The question to ask is, “Was he dep-ressed as Deepika Padukone is depressed? There is no difference — you really think? — between celebrity depression and Dalit depression?”
The clue to the meaning of Rohith’s suicide (including the suicide note) is in the words, “My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.” These words burn me more than the sight of a body dangling from a ceiling fan.


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