“I am happy dead than being alive,” said Rohith Vemula in his suicide note. He “loved Science, Stars, Nature.” His country gave him superstitions, communal hatred and hollow slogans. He died feeling hollow in a country whose Prime Minister keeps mouthing beautiful slogans about development.
The other day, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha compared Mr Modi to Indira Gandhi with respect to the dictatorial style that marked both. Of course, he had to retract later for obvious reasons.
Is Mr Modi converting India into Police Raj as Indira Gandhi did during Emergency? The way the protesters in Delhi were attacked by Mr Modi’s police indicates that the Prime Minister is trying to re-create Gujarat in Delhi. He probably hopes to extend it gradually to the entire country. Or, maybe, it’s just the only way he knows to handle dissension with.
Senior leaders of the party were sidelined long ago by Mr Modi. Not that those leaders would have worked wonders. But they would not have vitiated the communal atmosphere in the country so much, so much that even Hindus don’t feel free to dream about stars if they belong to the lower castes. Forget Mr Modi’s erstwhile enemies belonging to other religions.
Who has benefited after Mr Modi became the Prime Minister? Only the corporate sector. In that too, only those at the top.
India has become a country where the dreams belong to a select few while the vast majority begin to feel the hollowness Rohith Vemula mentioned in his suicide note. A hollowness that is aggravated and accentuated by a two-fold divide that Mr Modi’s kind of economic reform has already established firmly in the country: economic divide and communal divide. Probably, this is not what Mr Modi wanted to achieve really. The communal politics he played was only meant to be a tool, a means for rising to the highest post in the country. Once ensconced on that seat, he thought he could wave a magic wand and transform the country into Swatchh Bharat and Digital India. But the magic wand did not work anywhere, in fact. Not even in the El Dorado of America, Modi’s economic role model. (Israel is his role model for the other divide.)
Rohit Vemula died a totally disillusioned young man. He knew that he was living in a country which promised dreams but they were only hollow promises for people like him. If people like him dared to question the King in Indraprastha and his minions who wear various garbs, his fellowship would be withheld and he would be expelled from his hostel. Let us not forget that this is not the first time young students sacrificed their lives for the sake of the King. Remember Ishrat Jahan, for example?
There’s something radically wrong. A Yashwant Sinha can speak about it, only to retract. Many others of the same party did speak earlier. Remember four “veteran leaders” of the party’s Margdarshak mandal accusing the party of kowtowing to a handful? Remember Arun Shourie and Ram Jethmalani?
Whose party is the BJP if its own senior leaders feel painfully alienated from it?
Whose country is India if a PhD scholar has to commit suicide because his stars were alienated from him?
And whose country is it where the police brutally beat up democratic dissenters?
How many Indians today actually feel that they would be happy dead than alive, like Rohith Vemula?