Hyderabad Central University (HCU) student Rohith Vemula’s unfortunate suicide had brought this campus into limelight early this year. In his suicide note, Rohith had described his anguish and turmoil, and also his frustration with leftist student organizations. In lines, which were eventually struck off from his suicide letter, presumably by himself, he had said:
“ASA, SFI, anything and everything exist for their own sake. Seldom the interest of a person and this organisation match. To get power, to become famous or to be important in between boundaries and to think we are up to changing the system. Very often we overestimate the acts and find solace in traits.”
Even otherwise, the moving suicide letter was indictment of student politics – of all kinds – and we had written how the leftists were not willing to read the message. Instead, they made his death all about Smriti Irani and Narendra Modi.
Now one student leader from leftists student organization SFI (Student Federation of India), Raju Kumar Sahu, who was also fighting for ‘Justice to Rohith’ cause, has repeated what Rohith said in his suicide note. Not only that, he has made serious allegations against the leftist student organizations of using Rohith Vemula’s death for opportunistic politics, and of taking orders from CPM and Congress.
Making his allegations public, Raju Kumar Sahu, who is the General Secretary of HCU Students’ Union, has resigned from SFI as a sign of protest. Sahu has asked these student organisations to mend their ways because it were the ordinary students who were suffering the most due to their politics. Sahu was elected to the post in October last year on the SFI-TSF-DSU panel. Like others from SFI, he too was a supporter of Rohith and his fight. But soon he realized that some issues were not in order.
Last evening, Sahu resigned from SFI by putting up his resignation letter on Facebook. He said: “I oppose the radical ideology of SFI and ASA and resign from SFI. I can not bear further it’s opportunistic political agenda and dividing ideology.”
Reading his resignation letter further highlights his feelings about SFI and how he was disillusioned with the entire movement. He too claims to have come from a poor background, like Rohith, and says, that although he was apolitical, he was attracted to SFI due to its ideology of saving the poor from exploitation. But he claims things have become “murky” now:
“The present state of affairs at SFI, HCU unit reflects a murky state. After working for the quite some time in SFI, I realized that the office bearers of the Union cannot express their voice independently. Even the common workers follow the directions from the top brass without questioning. Now, I understand the politics of SFI are not based on principles but opportunistic. The process starts right from the selection of the candidates for union elections, where in caste and communal cards are played heavily. Similarly, region and religion are also major above politics of caste community and religion.”
This is reminiscent of Rohith’s claim in his note:
“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.”
Sahu also realizes this similarity and repeats that Rohith too felt disillusioned with SFI:
“As per my understanding, Rohit Vemula was a sensitive person. He is active in SFI since few years ago. He also felt isolated and alienated in SFI and could not tolerate the opportunistic politics played by SFI for sheer political gains. That’s why in his suicide note he mentioned that an individual is reduced to his immediate identity. Probably, SFI did not find any utility with him through he was fully committed to the ideology and was an active worker. He was disillusioned and went to join ASA. It was very unfortunate that he believed in radical methods to achieve justice for the poor. According to me, SFI nurtured the feelings of hatred in him which he was displaying against to all others whom to be his enemies.”
Sahu makes more claims which are even more shocking. He says that his organization routinely “misguided” students with “untrue” tales:
“Common students are misguided through daily stories which are mostly untrue and in the nature of fiction. These stories are imaginary and in the nature of individual tales of alleged discrimination by faculty and students against certain sections. As far as my experience goes these stories including the videos of individual narrations including those of atrocities by police are spread through the media only to generate sympathy and garner undue mileage.
It is also painful to note that students are instigated to indulge in vandalism by the leaders of JAC,SFI & ASA and others to destroy the University which belongs university community.”
He also alleges that most of the actions of SFI are politically motivated:
“SFI top brass works as dictators and they led the entire environment in the wrong directions apparently to serve the selfish interests and interests of their masters from above. After and before the death of Rohit Vemula, I have seen the developments in the University very closely. I don’t feel shame to revel the truth here that some sections of University teachers are responsible for so called developments in the University Just for their Political Gains. As per my understanding, the movement is massively funded by Congress, Left and opportunist forces of the country.
The office bearers of Student Union have no independence and forced to obey the directions of external forces from CPI(M) and Congress.”
He also lays bear the various contradictions of SFI which he had grown to become fed up of. He says that while SFI states that it does not support terrorists like Yakub Memon, SFI also plays “opportunistic politics” by supporting people who organize Namaz -E-Zanaja in memory of Yakub Memon, wherein he is glorified as a martyr.
He says that on the one hand the Joint Action Committee (JAC) demands justice for Rohith Vemula but doesn’t co-operate in the inquiry conducted by judicial commission which is headed by retired High Court Judge, who is an independent person.
Sahu also exposes how certain professors are maliciously targeted by SFI, which has led to a breakdown of student-professor relationships:
“The leaders of JAC & SFI, make serious allegations against certain professors which are actively supported by faculty who have vested interest but not came forward either to prove the allegations or hold discussions to solve the program. Most important, it is very painful for me to see that students don’t show respect to the professors amd call them by names without having any evidence of discrimination for such professors.”
He also raises a very important questions: What is the source of money?
“Daily rent of tent is around five thousand and three months have been passed already. Lavish food is served for more than 10 days to the student’s community for free of cost. Large scale events are organized. Certain individual members of the movement are having daily lavish parties. Rallies are organized periodically and outside leaders are invited. Thousands of color posters are printed & distributed. From where is coming? As a participant of the moment, I confirm that massive funds are flowing and keen to know the source of such funds. Beef & Chickens has been served in the event of 125th birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. What is the source of money?”
He also reveals how these “nefarious activities” have hurt the interests of students:
“The real losers of the entire game are none other than the common students, who have suffered in terms of placements. Reputed companies like Oracle have refused to come for the campus recruitment and, today the image of HCU is tarnished and the genuine student is having fears in mind whether to join university or not. The students union, which was supposed to be the impartial body taking care of welfare of all the students is hijacked by few individuals and organizations for serving their nefarious activities.”
Sahu goes on to say that his mental state is now driving him towards the unfortunate path undertaken by Rohith Vemula. He says his loneliness and alienation are affecting his studies and that he feels that coming into open and getting distanced from the wrong way would be the only way to save him from “doom”.
Not only using Rohith for petty politics, Sahu accuses these leftists organizations of using Babasaheb Ambedkar to further their opportunistic agenda. He reminds the organizations that Dr. Ambedkar was not in favor type of confrontational and no-cooperative methods that these organizations have adopted. He quotes these lines by Dr. Ambedkar that he said in the constituent assembly on 25th November 1949:
“If I wish to maintain democracy, not only in form but also in fact what must we do? The first thing in my mind we must to is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economical objectives. It means that we must abandon the bloody method of revolution. It also means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha.”
He requests the JAC to stop the agitation and adopt constitutional methods for achieving justice for Rohith Vemula. He asks JAC/SFI/ASA to immediately abandon the politics of hatred. He demands that the Student Union be impartial and also seek justice for ABVP leader Susheel Kumar, who was attacked at midnight by a mob of students of ASA.
Towards the end of his resignation letter, Sahu repeats the same lines from Rohith Vemula’s letter, which indicted the SFI and other other leftist student organizations, and which were later struck off. Will the leftists now wake up and introspect?