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This is the shades of democracy where socially and politically privileged caste and class predominantly exercise their power. Generally, it is understood that, in democracy, everyone is equal before the law, it seems to be an abstract principle, and the actual case is gross unequal. The inequality of power is exercised in a democracy to function at the cost to maintain the democratic ethos. But, a democratic country like India is unable to eliminate the social power, which predominantly exercise as its ascribed right. It is like ‘might is right’. However, there is a strong resistance by the oppressed. Let me examine the hypothesis.

A person who has committed caste atrocity (fall under thePOA Act 1989),has also violated the fundamental principle of constitution and plagiarized in the academic research and still he is freely exercising his power and position. According to Indian constitution, a person who violates the law is a culprit and should get punishment. This is applied to Appa Rao as Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad who has committed this criminal act. What he had done to Rohith Vemula, initially he suspended the students that prevent their fundamental rights because they were indulging in democratic debate to democratize the campus.According to Dr. K Y Ratnam, Appa Rao is against Dalit since his joining UoH, in 2002- when he was chief warden he rusticated Ten Dalit students, and when he became Vice Chancellor, responsible for boycotting five research scholars, Rohith Vemula was one among them who was murdered by the same institution. Twenty Five students and two faculties were arrested because of him. Now two faculties Dr. K Y Ratnam and Dr. Tathagat Sengupta are suspended by him and the executive council. He further says, Appa Rao is not administrating the institution but controlling it, there is no democratic dissent on the university.  He is detrimental for the development of Ambedkar studies. Both the faculties are sitting relay hunger strike until the suspension order is revoked and VC must be arrested under the SC/ST Act.[1] According to Tathagat it was not a surprise to get the suspension letter by the VC. Individually, students, faculties are being targeted because they are part of the justice for Rohith Vemula movement. It shows their vindictiveness.[2]

This act shows that, there is a consistent assertion against the oppression, which is not only a revolutionary move towards destabilize the social power, but also to radicalize the democratic values. The destabilization of social power is to bring equality but at the same time the oppressor (upper caste/class)reinstate its power through various ways. For example, in a democratic country everyone is supposed to be equal when they interact with other, in a general sense, one must get equal treatment, and exercise his/her equal fundamental rights, but in a democratic polity like India, all the upper caste (twice born) have occupied all the democratic power and position in economic and private institutions that perpetuates power systematically and in hegemonic ways.

Parliamentary democracy like India functions under the guidance of constitution. But the elected members of the assembly are supreme authority to administer and control the state. At the same time, citizen of the country in general have every right to protest against the authority, because the authority is elected by them. Here, there is sharp contradiction between the two, because the culprit is the representative who is in power.In this case, there is direct nexus between the VC and ruling party. If the power is in the hands of culprit, it will be utilized at any extend to suppress the students and faculties.If victimized masses will expose the representative as culprit, will it be called as justice in democracy? Arguably, the history of Dalit experience witnesses to this fact that, justice is never delivered to them, it is because caste violence is visibly-invisible to judiciary and state. Irony of Indian democracy is that, the victim is compelled to earn compensation, and the justice is not delivered, by the time the victim remains the sufferer throughout the life. What Dr. Ambedkar said was proved,“I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.”[3]

If Rohith Vemula would have alive, he would say, I always think that knowledge is the only weapon to take me to the destiny and dismantle their fate, which democracy provide to me. But, when the time passes, democracy is getting destroyed by the ruling party day by day. It was not the objective to introduce democracy. I have said that democracy is in undemocratic soil, perhaps, it is mistake of the land, whatever it produces, it tries to destroy and have been destroying many ideas and struggle of oppressed masses (Dalit and Adivasi). My ontological position enforce me to annihilate your conspiracy of suspension and expulsion, but it ends with my exit. The more I struggle to expose your impulses that you have imbibe from your cultural heritage, the more you become criminal and inject punishment upon me. For the struggle of my existence, I started my journey to dismantle your fate… but in the process you have killed me along with my millions of life that the land is witness to it.

Jadumani Mahanand, PhD at CPS, JNU New Delhi

[1] Joint action committee facebook page UoH, where Ratnam has spoken on Appa Rao. And a poster where demands are written.

[2] Ibid by Tathagat

[3] Constituent Assembly debate 1949, 25 November

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Despite so many protests, so many dissenting voices, so many calls for his removal, the VC if UoH has not moved an inch! The centre and state governments have not uttered a word ! The courts have not intervened in the matter and declared the VC holding the post unconstitutional…! This is how the brahminical hierchy is deeply entrenched into the present gory system of hegemonic rulers. The mass movement has not been able to break the fetters of this system. Majority of oppressed classes are still in chains waging liberation struggles.