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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.