[RAIOT READER] Living legacies of #RohithVemula

JANUARY 17, 2016 /

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 star dust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

JANUARY 18, 2016 /

(for Rohith Vemula) they pushed you to the edge of their village but, you broke into the cellars of their Agrahaaras they sealed your lips…

JANUARY 18, 2016 /

“Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar.”
ROHITH VEMULA’s letter of 18/12/2015 to the Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University

JANUARY 25, 2016 /

Maranatha Wahlang’s revealing experiences of Hyderabad Central University and how Rohith Vemula’s experience was not an anomaly

MARCH 8, 2016 /

“Can Indian Feminist Movement be granted a pat on the back yet? Despite the hundreds of women marching on the streets more than a couple of times in the past few months, have they really found the space their voice demands in the social stratosphere yet? Or have we critically failed to uphold the voices of subalterns?”

MARCH 11, 2016 /

Hindu Communists are not against Hinduism but only against Hindutva version of it. We reject both.

MARCH 16, 2016 /

Arundhati Roy on the wars of Indian state

MARCH 26, 2016 /

Scenario 1: A student leader in Delhi is arrested on charges of sedition, days after an event in a university triggers right-wing ire. The student…

MARCH 28, 2016 /

The fear of criticism breaking solidarity is an enveloped fear; well cushioned in caste hierarchies and privileges. It is an arm chair fear, resulting from the fear of doing the boring but radical work of patiently explaining, convincing and converging.

MARCH 31, 2016 /

I think it is important to talk about, given how glibly people say, “let the law take its course,” “if so and so is innocent, then justice will be done,” and such like things. What do we do, if the law taking its (long and winding) course itself acts as punishment, how do we undo that damage, should the final outcome be acquittal?

APRIL 4, 2016 /

Radhika Vemula, the mother of deceased dalit scholar and Ambedkarite activist Rohith Vemula was on one side enslaved in anguish and on the other side has radically transformed herself by associating with the ambedkarite movement

APRIL 8, 2016 /

As the philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, in a context not entirely dissimilar to one we are living through, “even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.” Rest assured, the casteist Hindu Right and the merit-wielding technocrats will not care whether the dead came draped in red or blue.

APRIL 12, 2016 /

In fact, one of the failures of politics within the ‘University of Ideas’ has been its inability, while pointing out the horrors of Indian nationalism in Kashmir, to demonstrate the problems of nationalism within the so-called mainland.

APRIL 22, 2016 /

We have to acknowledge that the Dalits and other marginal groups have a more intense and nuanced understanding of the rules of Indian politics than the left-liberal intelligentsia. The latter’s pragmatism, we might say, has led to their failure in even understanding what constitutes Dalit politics.

MAY 5, 2016 /

The politics of future models itself on the selling of insurance policies. The agent will convince you that the future should be protected even at the cost of your death in the present. It demands that the resources should be made available for the future generation even if you have no access to it in the present. From the viewpoint of politics of the present, the future generation will need to recognize their own present and continue the struggles then.The present generation strives for liberty and equality for themselves in their own life time. And a livable present is a more assured offer than a better future.

MAY 8, 2016 /

After five days of silence, news of the rape and murder started to slowly appear in social media due to the efforts of Dalit Bahujan voices, forcing the mainstream media to respond. The mainstream media reports have been accompanied by sickening, voyeuristic and vivid descriptions of the ‘brutality’ of the rape, characteristic of the way in which Dalit bodies are denied respect and dignity even in death. “Kerala’s Nirbhaya”, screamed the media, while the Malayali savarna middle class unable to imagine such ‘barbarity’ to their kind, claimed (in typical display of their xenophobia), that the perpetrators “must be migrant workers”. The ‘merit’ of the Dalit student had to be interrogated. ‘She had three papers left to clear”, the savarna media hinted slyly, as suspicions on her ‘character’ were raised “why did she not scream?

MAY 17, 2016 /

Any revolution envisioned without the annihilation of both caste and gender based inequalities would seriously have to be rethought. There is a progressive hypocrisy that pervades the left intelligentsia in this country but this understanding would remain incomplete if it does not take into account the work of Brahmanism in the caste Hindu society. “Revolution” and “Solidarity” are yet distant dreams.

MAY 19, 2016 /

Indeed, if men or Whites or Brahmins or heterosexuals have long used whatever power and knowledge was tied to their identity in order to define, judge, and subjugate others (is this not identity politics?), can the latter fight back without politicizing those definitions, judgments, and subjugations? As long as socially constructed race remains a vector of discrimination, wouldn’t it also remain a source of social identity, around which people organize to reclaim their dignity and rights? If racism didn’t exist, would we still have our modern idea of race—or the identitarians’ preoccupation with it?

AUGUST 1, 2016 /

Dear Mr. Mishra,
So I heard you beheaded a Dalit today and axed his wife to death. What a pity that all this is doing the rounds on social media, alternative media and on all international media except our own of course. Don’t worry Mr. Mishra, our media love you but they are compelled to run this story for fear of being labelled as anti-human, which they are but only when it comes to Dalits, mind. They’ll run the story as a token and claim that you did it in a fit of insanity and that you are quick to anger, not because of the casteist animosity that courses through the country’s veins…

SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 /

“Though the University is claimed as a “modern” institution which professes all such values that can be the markers of “modernity”, namely; liberty, equality, fraternity and rationality etc., this claim can only be made on the perils of overlooking a large set of questions that emanate from the kind of social reality we live in…
Rohith Vemula wanted to express the lived reality of being a student in the school of Life Sciences and the discrimination he faced in the laboratory, through an academic paper. He had sent an Abstract to the annual sociology conference to be held in the university. The Abstract was titled “Discovering Caste Prejudices in Science Laboratories: Unheard Narratives”

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 /

Here, is the dilemma, how can one go for solidarity; with the less oppressed or the more oppressed? The solidarities have to be formed on some principles; these principles will be the basis for greater purpose of the solidarity of struggles. For example, the question of intersectionality; of class, women and gender is a very important question in any struggle. How can a struggle take all those questions together without losing the basis of its foundations or compromising with its principles?

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016 /

Now that it is very clear to everybody that the most famous and influential Indian campuses such as UoH and JNU have proved that they cannot overcome their local petty ego problems/narrow-mindedness of the organisations, even in the face of Modi and attacks on the very idea of Higher Education, after carrying out heroic struggles and inspiring battles, beyond their means and thus inspiring the whole nation and even the world that all is not lost in India to fascists and their is fighting back and fighting, while thanking the campuses and their organisations and standing in full support of them, we will have to make the difficult but absolutely important choice of not looking towards the campus organisations for the directions or models for how to fight Hindu Nazis in power in india.

JANUARY 2, 2017 /

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s so-called freedom square is always packed with people every time a protest is called in the avowedly progressive institution –the crush of people at midnight last March spilling onto the roads to hear Kanhaiya Kumar speak is still seared in popular memory. But when I walked in for a series of public talks last Thursday, none of that spontaneous mobilization was visible.

 

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