New Delhi, Aug 12: Back in December 2015, well before politics over bovines took centrestage in India, the late Rohith Vemula, the Dalit scholar from University of Hyderabad, wanted cow vigilantes to be declared terrorists and sent to rehabilitation, according to his online diary published by Juggerut Books. In the book “#CasteIsNotARumour: The Online Diary of Rohith Vemula”, collated and edited by jourlist Nikhila Henry, Vemula, comes down heavily on cow and caste politics in the country. “If any organised movement has claimed lives like these Gau-dals, those organisations would have been declared terrorist sects by now,” says a Facebook post on December 12, 2015.
Vemula, the face of the ongoing Dalit agitation across the country, committed suicide on January 17, 2016 following following his expulsion from the hostel and public spaces on university campus. The book, a compilation of his Facebook posts from 2008 to 2016, serves as a critique on Indian politics. “People who believe that cows are their mothers and kill people who eat beef should immediately be declared a tiol threat and must be sent to rehabilitation asylums,” he wrote. The book gives a glimpse of the political ideology, wit and the romantic side of the 26-year old scholar, who found beauty in female company, loved campus explorations and hummed the “Jungle Book” theme song. Pulling no punches against the left, right and the centre, Vemula’s dark humour could take on the mightiest, including Prime Minister rendra Modi, “On the lines of Mussolini, the Indian loony is living up to his expectations,” he wrote on May 26, 2015.
With his sarcastic comments on Independence Day, the student leader paints the sorry state of an unequal India. “Even after 67 years of Independence there are class differences and caste discrimition but we should ‘Love our tion’. If you are a Muslim, it is better to not get into an argument with a Hindu and if you are a Dalit, never look at any Savar personh eye-to-eye. All this might trigger massive commul violence. ‘Independence Day Greetings!’. You should love your country and your love for the country is gauged with your hatred for other countries. Just curse a fellow Pakistani and you will be regarded as tiolist,” reads his post on August 15, 2013. From tiolism, patriotism, and marxism to feminism, Vemula voiced his fearless opinion on every issue on his Facebook wall. A staunch critic of the right wing poltics, he tore apart its cultural chauvinism and the politics of hatred. “Today, Saffron blankets are spread over our conscience and we are doomed to believe that light is impossible. But the truth will come out like a shining RED sun in the BLUE sky and on that day, at that moment, the saffron darkness will have to die,” he wrote. From Modi to then HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri, Vemula criticised everyone from US presidential nominee Dold Trump to former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. (IANS)