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Life was Beautiful…: A Dalit Student Ends his Life

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By Chapparban Sajaudeen Nijamodeen

‘Suicides on the campus are a failure of the system and steps that have been suggested in order to address the serious issues of the student community need our immediate attention’ – Registrar, University of Hyderabad

Mr. Madari Venkatesh, a twenty-five year old Ph.D. scholar at the Advanced Centre of Research in High Energy Materials (ACRAHM), University of Hyderabad, ended his life by taking poisonous medicine last night in campus. He was born on 10 April, 1988 in a small village, Ibrahimpatanam, in a Scheduled Caste family. He joined University of Hyderabad in 2011-12 and was working under the supervision of Professor Tiwari, who retired few months back. Since his earlier supervisor retired, he was not given another supervisor for last seven months. This academic anxiety led him to take such a drastic decision. Venkatesh has two publications to his credit already. The students at this center also have alleged that it conducts only theoretical work. Because of the lack of practical work, some students have already quit their courses. The non-availability of a supervisor is not unique in this center. In fact, other schools/departments also face the same problem: the difficult task of finding a supervisor.

The University of Hyderabad student community held a protest in front of the Vice Chancellor’s residence from 10:30 – 4:30, until the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, agreed to the demands of the students. The students asked for a serious investigation into the suicide; the release of compensation for the victim’s family; and accept the death of Venkatesh as an institutional failure. The students also demanded that supervisors must be assigned to the students who face similar problems. Also, the university should allow the students, who had left, to return and resume their courses.


Students gather outside Hostel ‘J&K’, South Campus, where he lived

The student community requested the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, to show the concrete steps that have been taken to resolve Dalit students’ problems regarding discriminations, suicides, and mental harassments. This action was demanded in light of the Pulyala Raju Committee Report. A Dalit student, Mr. Pulyala Raju, was enrolled in the integrated Linguistics course. He committed suicide in 2012. The committee was formed to investigate the marginalized students’ issues in general and Raju’s case in particular. But the students doubt how much of it was implemented in the campus and if any action has been taken against the guilty.

Faced with students’ anger and demands, Prof. Ramaswamy gave a written assurance that he will formulate a committee which will investigate this issue carefully and seriously, in order to take necessary actions. The Registrar of the University writes:

“In response to students’ demands the University Administration has assured the followings:

  1. Prof. Krishna Committee will look into the circumstances that led to the death of Mr. Venkateshwarlu and submit its report at the earliest, preferably by 26 Nov. 2013.
  2. The University will implement the decisions of the Executive Council on the report of Venkateshwarlu, Senthil Kumar and Pulyala Raju by November 29, 2013.
  3.  The University assures that strict administrative actions will be initiated against those who found guilty as per the report submitted by the Committee in this regard.
  4. Other cases in the University where research students are not assigned research supervisors and doctoral committees more than 3 months after admission should  be bought to the notice of the CE and Deans Students Welfare. And appropriate action will be taken.
  5. The University level grievances committee set up as per the recommendation of the Pulayala Raju committee will be notified on 27 November 2013.

sui 3

The registrar admitted in his letter: ‘Suicides on the campus are a failure of the system and steps that have been suggested in order to address the serious issues of the student community need our immediate attention.’

Chapparban Sajaudeen Nijamodeen (Shuja) is a poet & Research Scholar, University of Hyderabad, India. He was born in Udgir, a small town in Latur district, Maharashtra, India. He studied B.A at M.U. College Udgir and M.A. and M. Phil English from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. Currently he is a senior research fellow at the Center of Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad.  He writes poems in Hindi, Urdu and English. His poems have been published in India and abroad. He can be reached at: His Facebook & Blog.

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