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One more suicide. Once more the death of merit.

On 16th April, 2011, Linesh Mohan Gawle, a PhD scholar at the prestigious National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, became one more name in the long list of Dalit and Adivasi students, who have committed suicide in India’s premier educational institutions in recent years.

The large number of Dalit and Adivasi students committing suicide clearly indicates the wide-spread prevalence of caste discrimination in the Indian education system, which perceives them as ‘non-meritorious’, not fit to belong there.      

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?  

The time has come for Dalit and Adivasi students to speak up, share their experiences and bring their struggles in the public domain, so that we can fight together to make our campuses caste discrimination-free.

Our communities cannot afford to lose our bright, young hopes like Linesh and Balmukund, in the hands of an insensitive and casteist educational system.     

Please tell us about your experiences by calling our Dalit & Adivasi Students Helpline: 0 99 99 48 42 49 or mailing us at deathofmerit@gmail.com.

This blog shall document all kinds of casteist oppression in institutions of higher education, including the kind which results in the ‘suicides’ of young and meritorious Dalit and Adivasi students.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011 8:03 am

    Sad indeed. Has anyone done a study on suicides in general in institutions of higher education, and, if suicides by Dalit students is more in relative terms. Either way, it is a matter of concerns that youth — after having put in so much of struggle — find social environment pushing them to such depths of despair that they end up taking their lives.

  2. April 27, 2011 4:04 pm

    I salute your efforts and I am one with you in your fight against the discrimination, humiliation and violence faced by dalit/adivasi people in general and students of higher educational institutions in particular. Your efforts will surely go a long way in creating awareness and in mobilizing people against caste-based atrocities.

  3. Anita Kaur permalink
    April 29, 2011 5:48 pm

    My heart goes out to all the families that have lost their loved ones through these injustices. Now is the time to stand together and not lose sight of the goal and don’t be fooled by these tactics of raising grants for the so called lower caste students to keep them quiet! All individuals educated or not, need to be strong willed and fight these injustices together, it can be done! Only one life lost is enough to battle your way through to the end, but so many lives have already been lost. India wake up and eradicate these atrocities of caste discrimination, these perpetrators are no different to the inhumane mentalities of the likes of Hitler and when Apartheid existed. As Indians can we not promote equality in this democratic society? We have celebrated Independence for all Indians or is it Independence just for those that are from so called higher castes? I stand with you all the way until our voices are heard and changes are made for our future generations!!!!!

  4. May 24, 2011 4:22 pm

    I have just read about the situation in an article published in the Global Post. I was very heartbroken after learning about what had happened to Jaspreet and his family, and I hope justice is made. I wish this association much success so we never hear of any other Jaspreet’s death.

  5. rahul permalink
    August 30, 2011 3:08 pm

    hello this is nice blog showing the real problems of castism in our system. I am a doctor belonging to general caste, i have a few suggestions to deal with the problem esp in medical field so that no one suffers from castism.
    1)Teachers should not ask students about their caste or ranks during admission
    2)everyone should be called by their roll no only and not by names
    3) during examination whether practical or theory use only roll no. no need to disclose the name of the person giving the exam
    4)If someone inquire about anyone name or caste during examination or anywhere else then some action should be taken against her/him by an appropriate authority
    5) if someone is consistently being ragged by seniors then he/she should arrange some hidden camera to record their ragging and show it to concerned authority and also send it to news channels to expose them… and also if your batchmate are humiliated by ragging then its your duty to expose them by recording the video
    6) In every hostel of every institute in india there should be cctv camera in working condition at every floor

  6. rahul permalink
    August 30, 2011 3:12 pm

    We must fight to improve our system

  7. May 21, 2012 6:37 pm

    At least till 2002, There was (don’t know whether he is still there) a mechanical engineering professor who used to identify SC/ST students in class publicly and forced them to sit in front. He once put an official notice on department and all hostel notice boards where he referred SC/ST students as ‘BORN BACKLOGGERS’ . No action was taken.

    This was in IIT-Kanpur !!!

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