The recent suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula put into sharp focus the plight of Dalit students in college campuses as well as the Dalit community. The story brought into attention many similar cases where Dalits have faced discrimination at the hands of the upper castes. We dig up stories from Outlook’s archives on other instances of discrimination against the community.
Last year the dean of IIT Madras derecognised the Ambedkar Periyar study circle accusing them of spreading hatred against prime minister Narendra Modi without giving the student body a chance to defend the charges levied against them. The issue was caught by national media when protests broke out against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Outlook published the letter sent by the group to the dean defending their position on the ban.
2. The Problem Is That BJP Never Has Answers', April 14 2015, Pragya Singh
Pragya Singh interviewed Chandra Bhan Prasad, political commentator and advisor to the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry about Dalit entrepreneurs and how Dalits revere Ambedkar even in liberalised India. He talks about how attacks on Dalits today are much more violent than before and how attacks now are often results of a 'clash'.
3. The Majority Is Hungry, Aug 25 2014, ?by ?Anuradha Raman
Anuradha Raman looks at the paradox that surrounds the consumption of beef in the country and how, even in educational institutes, political parties represented by a dominant upper class Hindu majority push agendas for no beef in canteens. This, she says led to student bodies in colleges all over the country to make beef a rallying point and demanding its inclusion in hostel and canteen menus. This, as expected led to further clashes between representatives of the ABVP and other students.
4. The Drona Syndrome, Oct 29 2012, Anuradha Raman
Anuradha Raman explores yet another case of discrimination against Dalit students, this time in Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College. Twenty five students of the college, all belonging to Schedule caste or schedule tribe were forced to move the high court after repeatedly failing exams because of alleged discrimination while teachers in the college did not seem to take the students problems seriously.
5. The Killing of Shambukas, April 16 2012, S. Anand
In March 2012, two Dalit student at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Anil Kumar Meena and Bal Mukund Bharti committed suicide in their hostel rooms. S Anand in this piece talks about the several issues students from the Dalit community face despite reservations; saying that most children from disadvantaged castes end up as maids, child labourers or dropouts. Much of what he wrote almost 4 years ago, still holds true in today's social and political scenario.