Victor Hugo once said, “There is in every village, a torch-the teacher, an extinguisher-the priest.” Village becomes homicidal if teachers are priests in disguise and vice versa and India is no less than such a Village Republic. Laws of Manu still prevail in this republic and very often override the constitutionalist morals and even ethical civil standards.
Why is it that non-brahmin students are committing suicides in university spaces? Are they protesting against the unjust academic spaces? Is it that in their death also they are screaming out loud? Can we hear that loud scream? Why is Indian Media making victims out of such students? Why is the liberal discourse centered around bringing the issues of “Dalit” Students in the mainstream discourse? Why the liberal discourse never takes into account the problems faced by “Dalit” students and the necessary arrangements that need to be made in order to prevent the “loss of intellectual capital”?
If I were to find out, why students are committing suicides, I would intertwine societal structure of 21st century India with the impact this structure has on any individual. Intellect is a luxury, leisure seeking classes can never afford. Considering the preceding statement as a theoretical assumption, one can argue that anywhere and in any epoch in this world, intellectual capacities are inherently astounding among the masses than the elite and the ruling classes. This assumption of mine corroborates to be a veracious claim if one looks at the cultures of the masses which are directly related to their lived realities. Be it the first woman who planted rice saplings in a row1, or be the indigenous people who were adept in metallurgy, problem solving, reasoning and active cognition has always been an innate motivation for the masses.
According to the limited resources view, the self has one limited stock of some resource that resembles energy or strength, which it expends whenever it actively changes, overrides, or otherwise regulates responses. Crucially, the same resource is used for many different tasks, including regulating thoughts, controlling emotions, inhibiting impulses, sustaining physical stamina, and persisting in the face of frustration or failure. If that is correct, then this resource is a general purpose asset that functions broadly in widely assorted acts of self control and executive functioning, as opposed to being specifically earmarked for a particular response.2
Where is this view leading us? One can easily apply this to the context of student suicides. As I have already said that reasoning and active cognition has always been an innate motivation for the masses, it is clearly evident in almost all the reported suicides and attempted suicides that such students were already battling for their ideas and belief systems in grossly unjust academic spaces which are nothing but extensions of “agraharams”3. Let’s take into account two such suicides to make me sound more coherent. Bal Mukund Bharti from AIIMS was an extremely brilliant medical student and Mutthukrishnan Rajnish an extremely persistent student of social sciences. If I were to describe Rajni, I would say he knew how to be consistently persistent and persistently consistent. While Rajni was very outspoken and vocal against the irregularities and unequal treatments meted out to the reserved category students in the viva voce stage of JNU’s entrance examinations for various courses, Bal Mukund on the obverse was extremely modest and humble in his disposition. It has been known that Bal Mukund was so distressed with the way he was treated by his classmates and faculties alike that he had for once all the stamp papers ready to change his name to “Srijan Kumar” in order to avoid his “Dalit” identity in AIIMS. What can be more pain afflicting than to live a life hiding one’s identity? What can be more agonizing than to be judged upon by one’s immediate identity? What can be more distressing than to go through a distress of losing one’s self respect? When the costs of keeping oneself alive with such contradictions seem so expensive, suicide comes out as the most feasible option (Keeping, economic hardships aside, not ignoring though).
India ruled by the brahmanical elite has never been a “nation” and I wonder if it will ever be ? That night “Indians” can scream out loud their “tryst with destiny”. Students who are able to survive in such ghettoized spaces are miraculously trying to shake the “brahmin” idea of India to its core. Serious damages are being done to this South Asian colony of the Arctic dwellers. Students in any university set up are expected to hone themselves and engage in discussions, build discourses and accommodate dissent.
Dissent is a distant dream in Indian universities, “descent” but a stark reality.
In India then, one is either a brahmin or a non brahmin. If someone finds this binary as a problematic one, then he or she is either a brahmin or sub ordinate to the brahmins. Every other social identification of Indians is always a sinister attempt to keep the “oppressor” out of sight and in turn create hierarchies among the “oppressed”. Caste as a structure is built upon this invisibilization of the oppressor and at the same time differentiating the oppressed into hierarchies based upon varying degrees of oppression they have faced.
Now to return to one of the questions I have raised initially that why is it that the liberal discourses are built upon “Dalit” suicides and almost no attention is given to make necessary safeguards for “Dalit” students. A simple answer is that there has never been any intention of providing any such safeguards .What is hidden in such a rhetoric which is now being given enough of media attention is to keep the “oppressor” away from any culpability and within this hideous tactic of “progressiveness” lies the bare truth that “Die and We will form JAC, while you are alive, We will give you Nigams and Kidwais, otherwise”.
It is there, It is written in their scriptures, of these deceitful progenies of “Brahma”. All we have to do is just observe a bit more cautiously and we can very easily identify and single out the “oppressor”. Their history is all about venerating those from among us who were “potential threats” and not those who have succeeded in revolting against their tyranny. Why is it that “Eklavya” becomes a symbol of Dalit Suicides and at the same time Ambedkar is being criticized in every manner possible by the “progressives”?? Why Rohith Vemula adorns every left activist’s profiles and revolutionary banners and not Tina Dabi?? Why is it that one can easily find Baluta, Akkarmashi and other dalit autobiographies in university libraries and not copies of Annihilation of Caste, Buddha or Karl Marx??
In the Bombay Presidency so high a caste as that of Sonars (gold smiths) was forbidden to wear their dhotis with folds and prohibited to use Namaskar as the word of salutation. Under the Maratha rule anyone other than a brahmin uttering a Veda mantra was liable to have his tongue cut off and as a matter of fact the tongues of several Sonars were actually cut off by the order of the Peshwa for their daring to utter the Vedas contrary to law.4
This is an instance not from an ancient past and if still one is not accepting the fact that identity markers in India are based upon being a brahmin or non brahmin, let me offer to your insights two very recent developments. One such interesting anecdote is that of a national award winning actor Rajkumar Rao. Rajkumar originally had Yadav as his surname but he changed it to Rao. Yadav is a prominent backward caste surname in North India. Rajkumar changed his surname to Rao. Rao as a surname carries a brahmin identity. Why would Rajkumar do that? Why was Bal Mukund Bharti planning to do something similar before committing suicide?
Why is it that the newly elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh called for a purification ritual ceremony at the Chief Minister’s official residence? Was it because the preceding Chief Minister was from a backward caste?
Brahmins and dalits are for sure at two different ends of the Caste spectrum, but this spectrum is continuous and not discrete. Other than that, Brahmins are more or less separate from this spectrum but they have been and are the ones who define the rest of this spectrum. This is the reason that we don’t know Brahmins as “Untouchables”, despite them having a separate “caste-less” identity. Babasaheb has referred to them as the governing class and they still are enjoying the same privilege. India is being governed by the brahmanical elite . India is Homicidal, that is to say, this governing class dominated by a particular caste is homicidal.
No wonder Kuffir has said that “Bahujans are not Suicidal, India is Homicidal”!
1. The first mathematician was a bahujan woman who planted rice saplings in rows ~ Kuffir, Editor at Round Table India- For an Informed Ambedkar Age.
2. “Intellectual performance and ego depletion: Role of the self in reasoning and other Information processing” Brandon J Schmeichel, Roy F Baumeister and Kathleen D Vohs.
3. agraharams- the brahmin quarter of any village in India.
4. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, Vol. 12 Page 721, published by Government of Maharashtra,1993.