Before his death in January 2016, Rohith Vemula was a prolific writer on Facebook, where he discussed everything from caste to cows.
Through 2008, the time that Vemula started posting on Facebook, to his last posts in January 2016, his writings offer not just a commentary on his life, but the lives of several others for whom caste discrimination is not a “thing of the past” but a lived reality. A life where, as Vemula tagged all his posts on the subject, #CasteIsNotaRumour.
Edited by Nikhila Henry, Vemula's writings are now available in a compiled form, by the publishing house Juggernaut.
Of Home and Other Matters
17 June, 2012
I’m against domestic violence. I’ve seen my mother’s suffering and I would like to be a part of the change that has to come. Real manhood lies in making a woman want to be with you (instead of forcing her to).
Musings on Self
12 March, 2012
Life is like a cigarette that is lit on one end. It will end if you smoke it or otherwise. Likewise, life will come to an end even if you enjoy or simply watch as it goes by. The choice you make is entirely up to you. Choose wisely. By the way, I am a good smoker.
Nation and Nationalism
15 August, 2013
Another Independence Day just came by to tickle our meagre everyday life. But we should be ‘Proud of being an Indian’. Even after 67 years of Independence there are class differences and caste discrimination but we should ‘Love our Nation’. There is freedom for women in our country but if a girl marries a boy from another caste and not her own, we will kill her for our ‘honour’. ‘Happy independence day’. The new born babies in this 67-year-old heaven have the freedom to become anything
in life but if they want education each has to pay a hefty Rs. 60,000 as donation to be admitted in private institutions. If they get educated in government schools and universities they should get ‘recommendation’ to get a job. ‘Swatantra Diwas Mubarak’.
If you are a Muslim it is better to not get into any argument with a Hindu and if you are a Dalit never look at any Savarna person eye-to-eye. All this might trigger massive communal violence. ‘Independence Day Greetings!’. In reality, freedom of electing our leaders has become a choice between lesser evil and greater ones; only to be fooled every five years. Religion is still a determining factor in elections. ‘Jai Hind’.
We have the freedom to choose between McDonalds or Dominos for lunch. We also have the freedom to neglect our accountability towards the bitter suicides of farmers across the country. ‘Happy Independence Day!’ You should love your country and your love for the country is gauged with your hatred for other countries. Just curse a fellow Pakistani and you will be regarded as the best Indian ever! ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai!’
Anyway, wishing you all a delightful Independence Day hoping at least today no innocent will face fake encounter at the hands of our security agencies just because they belong to some ‘infamous’ community. ‘Vandemataram!’ ‘Mahatmas have come, Mahatmas have gone but the Untouchables have remained as Untouchables…So long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom is provided by the law is of no avail to you...’
Caste and Beef
5 March, 2015
Cooking is what made us evolve as a distinctive species on our blue planet. Every culture ever recorded has some dish or cuisine associated with it. Ambedkar explicitly wrote how cow eating was prevalent in Indus Valley civilisation. From the existing art works (from the period) it can be seen that holiness of cow is nothing but a constructed value.
The recent ban on beef in Maharashtra has political and cultural angles. If you have read George Orwell’s 1984 you can draw parallels between 'Big Brother’ and Bharatiya Janata Party, ‘thought police’ and law makers and ‘room No. 101’ and current status of this Nation. By attempting to control what to talk, what to think, what to eat and what to dream, the Modi government is racing towards a totalitarian regime with Hindutva pumped discriminatory spirituality as its tool. Brahmanical forces which exercise power on Indian government got exposed as the latter introduced beef ban.
Protest before they ban protesting too.
13 June, 2015
Some of my very nice friends ask
1. There are poor families even among upper castes. Why not give them reservations on economic basis? There are affluent people among Dalits, they say, adding the question, ‘why are they enjoying reservation policy?’ (I must say that some among these friends of mine are social activists and Ambedkarites (who have ample respect for Ambedkar).
I never could say this to them, maybe because I’m too shy, but here is my answer to those questions:
In our ‘Mahan Bharat’, the discrimination and exclusion Dalits face is not ‘economic’ (discrimination and exclusion). It is not unifactorial. Dalits including me are not against any kind of ‘structural’ affirmative action to support any disadvantageous groups who have genuine demands. If you feel you need some reservation, we will fight along.
Put together, 52 percent of the pie is still unreserved. Let us get a chunk of it for the deserving Below the Poverty Line (BPL) upper-caste families. My only problem is your comparative calculations (which equates discrimination against Dalits and economically deprived upper caste people). That is mis-oriented. That is self-contradicting.