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To Senthil

April 29, 2011

[Senthil Kumar, PhD, Department of Physics, Hyderabad Central University committed suicide on 24th February, 2008. The poem was first posted at, a blog by Senthil’s friends,  to fight against the injustice that led  to his death] 

I did not know you when you lived,

I seem to know you so well after you have gone.

Did we not walk the same lonely paths?

Paths strewn with little hurtful insults,

some obvious most not-obvious humiliations

designed to erode our self worth,

with the power to shake our confidence in humanity,

in our thinking, in our love for life and our search for

its meaning.

Could we have talked about our shared bewildering experience,

of hearing a system stealthily tell us that

we are not good enough to seek knowledge?

Today, you have chosen to protest

in a way that only intensifies my pursuits more lonely,

or should I believe that you have instead

opened a channel for the rest of us?

To make public what until now,

is our private pain,

pain delivered to us

by systems meant to deliver knowledge

and uplift mankind

– By an HCU drop-out Dalit

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