By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commendably launched Startup India last week. It was a much awaited move to foster entrepreneurial growth in the country. Promising and necessary steps were taken so that bureaucracy can give way to innovation but this promising initiative was eclipsed by the news of suicide of a Dalit boy in Hyderabad University.
India is moving ahead with an unprecedented pace but these stories of caste based discrimination shows us that social diseases of old are still plaguing the future of this country. Fighting among boys on campus leads to a chain of letters between ministry and university which further lead to a disciplining committee but long story short the issues that could have been resolved with a meeting among the involved parties lead to suspension of five PhD scholars. These people were depending on the scholarship to support their studies and this vital lifeline was taken away from them. How sluggish things can go in a government collage I know first hand and without access to classes, hostel the pressure on Rohit Vemula would have been tremendous. Being social outcast is worst for a collage student and young people don’t always have a shoulder to lean on. No wonder he poured his heart out in the six page note he left before ending his life.
Rohit was a victim of system, a system that is beneficial to some and biased to others. Not only our PM but politicians across the spectrum has a responsibility to do something about this menace of castism but mine is a fool’s hope because our netas count on these fault lines to fill their vote banks. It should not have come to this. We say youths are our future but does that future is decided on a person’s last name. University of Hyderabad is not one institution, in offices, classrooms, courts, clinics across India this ugly discrimination happens every day. Does shadow of a Dalit maid who cleans utensils in peoples home make the water undrinkable? Would you puke the delicious ‘poori sabji’ after you came to know that these delicacies were cooked by a Harijan chef?
We have advanced in the field of space, sent missions to Mars. We are encouraging youngsters to go out and pursue their dreams. Every now and then we see a success story of a startup and how it had raised funds for its idea. Can’t we raise our voices to end castism? Who are we superior to? Which racial theory are we trying to prove? Nobody choose to be a sweeper or priest from birth? It’s only circumstances that someone ends up on top and someone on bottom but that doesn’t mean that one looses his humanity at the lower rungs of society.
PM Modi was right, Mother India did loose a son but for how long she has to loose her children like this. It’s up to us to decide that.