Dalit research scholar had dream of being science writer

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Hyderabad, Jan 18 (IANS) He had dream of being an acclaimed writer but the Dalit research student of the University of Hyderabad who committed suicide after his suspension only, ended up writing a six-page suicide note at the prime of his youth.

“I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write,” wrote Rohith Vemula, who was suspended along with four other Dalit students, and on Sunday committed suicide by hanging in the university hostel.

The 28-year-old left behind a handwritten note, sharing his thoughts, which show how depressed he was. The letter went viral on social media, triggering an outpour of grief and call for an end to discrimination against Dalit students.

Rohith, a second year research scholar of science, technology and society studies department, came from a poor family in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Her mother worked as a tailor to meet both the ends.

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He was also an University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) holder.

“If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get seven 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 (Rs.) 40 thousand to Ramji (friend). He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that,” he wrote.

“I loved science, stars, nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs coloured. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.”

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The letter also showed his feelings over the discrimination. “The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.”

“May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

“I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That’s pathetic. And that’s why I am doing this,” wrote Rohith, who along with others had been protesting in open since they were thrown out of hostel since early this month.

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“Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive,” Rohith wrote.

“I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my 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,” he added.

A member of Ambedkar Students Union (ASU), he ended the letter with “Jai Bheem”.

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