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The Death of Merit: Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) [A Documentary]

July 6, 2011

When a student from the lowest strata of society fights against all odds to prove her merit and reach the best educational institutions in India, are those institutions proving themselves meritorious enough to recognize her worth, to accommodate, let alone nurture her aspirations?

When a Dalit or Adivasi student becomes an engineer, doctor, business graduate or scientist, it should be a cause of pride for not just the family or the community but for the entire nation. Instead, why do our nation and its educational institutions reward their merit with discrimination, humiliation, violence and death?

This documentary is third in the series of our efforts to document caste-based discrimination prevalent in Indian higher education system resulting in large number of suicides of Dalit students in the Indian campuses.

Manish Kumar Guddolian, 20 years of age, was pursuing his IInd year, Integrated Dual Degree Programme, Department of Computer Science & Information Technology, at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.

The only son of a Junior Warrant Officer at Indian Air Force, Manish committed ‘suicide’ by jumping off from 5th floor of his hostel on 6th February, 2011.

The documentary is based on the testimonies of Manish’s parents and other family members who have yet to come in terms with his death and are fighting against the collective might of IIT Roorkee and Roorkee Police that, as usual, want to relegate their child’s death to ‘a weak student getting depressed for not able to cope up with rigorous academic environment of highly competitive IITs’ .

However the truth is Manish committed suicide, unable to bear the constant castetist assaults and abuses by his own batch-mates, criminal attitude of his hostel warden and IIT Administration that instead of acting on his complaints forced him to live outside IIT Roorkee, and perhaps also due to the complete shattering of his faith on IIT Administration that was supposed to treat all its students as equals and without using caste-lenses.

The Death Of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) Part – I

The Death Of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) Part – II

First two documentaries 

Dr Jaspreet Singh, 22 years,a student of Final Year, MBBS at Government Medical College, Chandigarh committed suicide on 27th Jan, 2008.

On March 3rd, 2010, another Dalit, Balmukund Bharti, final year MBBS student from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi committed suicide.

Read More

  • List of Dalit students committing suicides in India’s Premier Educational Institutions, (click here)
  • Report of Prof Thorat Committee on Caste Discrimination in AIIMS, New Delhi, (click here)
  • Report on Caste Discrimination in IIT Delhi,(click here)
  • An article ‘On Suicides, Caste and Higher Education‘,  (click here)

Media Coverage 

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 4:25 pm

    Sharing this documentary with details in my website.
    Thanks for sharing this information sir..

  2. July 7, 2011 6:16 pm

    Why are we all so surprised about such suicides (murders)? This has been going on for thousands of centuries. We must ask ourselves frankly if mere non-violent methods will work against something that has religious backing. Nobody voluntarily gives up privileges, unless forced to do so. Privileges are given up only when there is no other option whatsoever. Perhaps non-violent and democratic methods are never going solve this problem. If not forcibly stopped, such murders (suicides) will easily go on for another century. The question is are we going to allow this to continue. Two eyes for an eye and four teeth for a tooth may be criticised even by the vast majority. But can non-violence bring about a situation where there is no other option for exploiters, but to give up their privileges? That is the question which we have to honestly ask ourselves. An honest answer to that question will decide whether it will be business as usual.

  3. neetisha permalink
    July 8, 2011 10:02 am

    stop killing humanity. have shame on cruelity, kab samjhoge hum ek hain, kyun baar baar apne hi ko nuksaan pahuncha rahe ho. aaj ye suicide hai kal yahi suicide jo hatred generate kar raha wo kya lekar ayega tumhare liye, socho ek baar. sihar ke dekho ek baar. kuch de nahi sakte ho, kuch lo to mat. plz plz stop these BARBAR killings.

  4. August 9, 2011 1:01 pm

    I watched this horrid documentary with pain and tears rolling from my eyes, It is not only the death of merit but of the so called modern humanity, as the earlier commenter said this is no stray incident, this goes on daily in the lives of the Dalith & Adivasis on a regular basis in innumerable forms. Patronising and sermonising the issue won’t do any good, it has to be taken on and head on,a powerful movement against the caste atrocities both blatant and hidden must be built.

  5. Isha permalink
    August 14, 2011 6:32 am

    I am feeling really bad after kowing about manish
    He was my classmate in school and after so many days I got to know about this incident. I am feeling sorry not for him but for the mentality of these so called intellectual societies in our country. ours might be a democratic or a secular state with a claim that everybody feels equal for everybody but in reality that is not so.

  6. Sandeepa Nayak permalink
    August 30, 2011 7:09 am

    It’s pathetic. It’s only the reflection of jealous mind and poverty of feelings. I would suggest if ever find any time in life, go and see the dalits(so-called?) living in hinterland of this country, how down to earth they are in attitude and behavior! I feel myself ashamed of witnessing the mentality of so called upper caste people towards them in our periphery. I feel ashamed of my origin of being an upper caste. But never in my life, i have been taught to demean other, be it for their caste or anything, in my family, i feel fortunate for that. I feel so sorry for the families who lost their children, and feel pity for the families who have not nurtured enough etiquette, manner in their children though they claim to be more civilized, more polished. Any word of derogation will fall short to describe them. They still live in pre-historic era. It seems all these people with so-called upper caste surnames, have not taught Ramayan properly to their chaps. In Ramayan itself, Lord Rama had taken fruit, after Shabari (woman of tribal origin) tasted whether it was sweet or sour? Even Lord Rama had abandoned Devi Sita after hearing conversation of dalit husband-wife on chastity of Devi Sita after her stay at Ravan’s place. How long this caste-based harassment would persist? Don’t you feel bad, disheartened to hear, whites in US, Africa behaving barbarously to blacks, and doesn’t the individual in you revolt, when Britishers call all Indians ‘Bloody, black Indians’? If we have so many gaps to fill, if we don’t have unity, we degrade people on their caste, then how we can dream of living against any odds to our country? And no surprise, if anyone like Britishers did once, comes to rule us tomorrow? That has been happening too since independence, caste based politics and politicians taking cream away from our lives!
    It’s high time to rejuvenate humanity, wake our conscience up, make change in our-self and bring change to millions lives, not to harass on the basis of caste, in order to live a peaceful life.
    I just wanted to ask a single question, if ever those students teasing on Manish’s caste, had tried once to improve his pronunciation, accent, or maths, or engineering or so-called civic sense in him or anything that made them to discover “Chamarism” in him! Only seeing surname, they just prowled on him? If we can’t improve one’s life, then who gives the right to laugh at others. You know, nobody take birth according to his/her wish, it’s completely all of a sudden and unexpected and who knows those who have murdered those innocent children would take birth tomorrow in some dalit’s house. I can laugh now, heart is shattering though.
    I won’t teach my child to make friends asking caste, which never i did in my life! This line was for those parents who could not educate their children and for that warden who could not check those uncivilized children.

  7. September 27, 2011 4:30 pm

    i am from IIT r itself and a dalit student although i know there is agony among these top cream that we came here too easily but it sud be answered by excellence in studies not by commiting suicide

  8. Mani permalink
    February 16, 2012 6:08 am

    Dalits need move out of india or have different a state, so called upper caste can never be our friends.They are same old people ,the same old mindset.Upper cast people and media are deceptive.Its easy to see there is nothing for dalits in country , thier women are unsafe.Thier children are ill treated.Police is additional burden on us. Upper promote corruption , violence and dishonesty .They do 90% harm to country while doing little progress and boast a lot .I think India is backward because of thier backwardmindset !

  9. Ravi permalink
    February 16, 2012 6:13 am

    Dalits should change themselves.They must give thier effort but also careful study not blindly for just moving in USA or for getting job.They have to learn things like Buddha who surpassed the subjective thinking of intelligent brahmins.Dalits should bring objectivity in thier style of learning as much as possible.

  10. WO PK Sharma permalink
    October 1, 2013 4:22 pm

    There is a need to investigate the cause of death of Manish and stringent action on the defaulters.


  1. Documentary: The Death of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) « Dr B R Ambedkar Books
  2. - The Death Of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee)

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