Dalit Camera: Through Un-Touchable Eyes
Dalit Camera interviewed Munavath Sriramulu, an Adivasi student in the German department of, EFLU, on the persecution he had been subjected to by the university administration for nearly two years. You’ll find an earlier interview of Sriramulu, conducted right after the tragic death of Mudasir Kamran, in the second part of this article. The interview was transcribed by Ajith Francis.
Dalit Camera: What is happening? How do you feel?
Sriramulu: I am M. Sriramulu. In the beginning, I was in C.C Shroff Hospital. They made me undergo a lot of tests (scanning, etc.). They tried to make up a report that I was very much fine and fit, mentally and physically. But I felt that something was wrong. On 7th or 8th, I’m not very sure of the exact date, at noon, Nirupama Rastogi along with the University Doctor (attending at the campus Health Centre) came to see me. This was because DABMSA, TSA and all other student organizations in the University were raising accusations that the University administration was very negligent towards my state of health. So just to silence them and show them that this wasn’t the case, Nirupama Rastogi came with the campus Health Centre Doctor. They visited me.
By the time they visited me, I was already bedridden. My left leg and my left arm were paralyzed. I am not sure of the exact medical terminology of my condition. Initially it was a psychiatric attack which caused the partial paralysis. Towards the end of my stay at the hospital, they (the doctors) tried to make it appear as I was in no state of alarm and nothing was physically wrong with me and that I was hundred percent fit. But I had my suspicions and felt that something was going wrong. This was mainly because on the day of Mudasir’s death I felt tingling sensations on my left leg and my left hand. This was a psychiatric symptom (caused by psychological shock).
So I requested Krishna Halavath, a PhD scholar at the university who is like a brother to me (and I am very grateful and indebted to him), to take me to the hospital. He immediately got a credit letter for me from the University (as a credit letter is a prerequisite in the procedure for admitting a student from the University in a hospital) and took me to the hospital. On the same day, Nirupama Rastogi and the Doctor (from the campus Health Centre) came to visit. They transferred me to Yashoda Hospital.
In Yashoda Hospital, the Doctor (Vikas Agarwal, who is the chief consultant at the hospital) said that I was not fit and confirmed that I had a problems with my health. He said that I had a psychiatric problem. So I was admitted to the ICU in Yashoda Hopspital for a week. And he referred me to Kotla Saikrishna, a dermatologist. Due to the high amount of stress and depression I had undergone, my skin got affected. You can see the vitiligo that spread all over my body within just a span of a year and a half. The summary of the medical records states that, “M. Sriramulu is suffering from stress and severe depression since the last two years with frequent episodes of anxiety, palpitation and irritability, fatigue and lack of sleep.”
In C.C. Shroff Hospital, they were trying to prove that I was completely fit whereas in Yashoda Hospital, the specialists were telling that I am suffering from a psychiatric disease which developed during my stay in EFL University. Before joining EFL University, I was 100 percent fit. But due to the (psychological) torture, harassment, (systematic) discouragement and demoralizing attitude I had to face at the hands of the Department of Germanic Studies, I have a psychiatric disease now. And this situation forced me into a psychiatric hospital.
This is a mental clinic– only people with psychiatric problems get admitted here. I am physically fit (100 percent), but mentally I am weak now. So you can easily sketch out what happened and come to the conclusion as to how the Administration (of EFL University) without notifying anyone in the University campus (the students or anyone, for that matter) admitted me into a psychiatric hospital in an attempt to prove that I am mentally unfit.
Before, in CC Shroff hospital, they were trying to prove that I was fit but now they are trying to prove that I am mentally unfit. The reason for this is that I have filed a case against Meenakshi Reddy (Professor in the German Department). And by this step (of admitting me to a psychiatric hospital) they want to manufacture an obvious and desirable conclusion that I am mentally ill. They are in a fit to prove that I had filed the case ‘unconsciously’ (me being ‘mentally ill’). Yes, I am mentally unfit, but I am so due to the severe depression that I had, (because of my bitter experiences at their hands) and not because of anything else.
My condition can be cured. I am currently in the final stage of the treatment for this psychiatric disorder (which I was suffering from, for the last two weeks). In the beginning they were trying to prove that I was fit, but now when they realized that I have filed a case against them they are trying to prove that I filed the case while I was suffering from the psychiatric disorder. Their attempts are only aimed to save Prof. Meenakshi Reddy, instead of saving me, (instead of curing my psychiatric condition and my vitiligo, they are covering up for her).
DC: Can you tell me the kind of treatment that you are taking? And the mental depression- you don’t have a family history of any mental depression; the mental depression is exclusively due to the harassment you faced for the last 7-8 months during which you were running around (for justice). So could you say if the psychiatric condition be cured by the treatment alone, or do you think that getting justice by taking serious action against Meenakshi Reddy in the issue (which was lost in the administrative red-tape) would help you fight the psychiatric depression that you suffer now?
Sriramulu: I am really thankful to Dali Camera. When Dalit Camera just started (7 or 8 months ago), I had presented my case and given my interview to it (I don’t remember the exact date or time). At that time, Dalit Camera helped me a lot to voice my issue to the public. I have been able to tell all my failures, my struggles, and what I was suffering for the last two years to the public. At that time itself, you can see how much I have suffered at the hands of the Department. Now they (Administration) are assuring me that they will consider my issue and solve my grievances. But still, there is a question that remains: the uncertainty regarding suspension of Meenakshi Reddy.
I am not the only student who is suffering at their hands. There is a new victim also- Ranjan Kumar. He is also suffering the misfortunes that I faced. And also, nobody is ready to talk about my moral losses (loss of morale). I lost my academic time, my academic wealth. I lost my high levels of overall physical and mental fitness which I had before this whole issue. No one is talking about my moral losses. It is a serious issue. Yet they think that admitting one into a hospital and ‘curing’ this person would be all that they can do in the constraints of their jobs. No, this is not right!
They played with my whole life. They played with my whole career. Moral losses are the biggest damages that they have done to me- both in academic and personal perspectives. And now I am in such a condition that I can’t even talk to my parents about this issue (because my mother is a heart patient, and my father has a blood pressure problem and I care for them). If I tell this problem to them, it would be beyond their reach of understanding because they are from a village and they are illiterate. They would think that the mistake is on my part. And this would be when whole EFLU and the rest of the world know who the problem maker is, Meenakshi Reddy. She goes against the Constitution, she goes against UGC norm, and every rule. The only thing she goes by is her will. Her colleagues like, Nishant Narayan, Anjali Pandey, Anu Pande and John Mathew (who is like the biggest puppet in her hands) also work for her interests.