You can find in this photo the most persecuted student in Indian Higher Education today. It is not Rohith Vemula but 23-year-old Karthik Mulkala, an MA (5-year Integrated) final year student at University of Hyderabad, standing alongside his friend and comrade Rohith in this photo. And, the harassment he is going through for many years now is not for personal reasons.
One expects all oppositional forces in the country would support or at least express solidarity with him. Particularly in a humane and progressive campus like UoH. Last night, a mob of SFI activists beat him and his friends and even his guest on the campus itself.
He has been harassed by the Sangh Parivar, UoH administration, the Police etc. for many years now. He is a student radical, but that is least of the reasons for his troubles. He is both a lower caste man and from a low-income family.
To give only one example, some of you might remember that there was an absurd law passed during Congress rule called 66 A, which was quashed by Supreme Court saying this act was ‘unconstitutional in its entirety’. Karthik Mulkala was the first arrested and jailed person in the country under this draconian repressive law, though neither media nor social media, let alone Human Rights groups took much notice of it. Before Apex court woke up to say the right thing, Karthik’s 3-month jail term was complete. He was still in his undergraduate stage by then.
It might shock many that none helped him even to obtain bail, saving him from the imprisonment (Karthik himself takes a lenient view of his jail experience). But that was the truth. He posted some anti-superstition post on facebook. Sangh Parivar crowds attacked his residence, which was then in the Hindu Nazist strong-hold in Hyderabad old city, destroyed whatever little they had at home and got him arrested and sent to jail for hurting the Hindu ‘religious sentiments’ and demanded from his parents to have a family trip to Sabarimala following 40-days of daily ritual regimen to withdraw the case. Karthik, (unsurprisingly, from the point of view of friends) courageously refused to budge and chose to serve the jail term. Forget about help and support. His principled courage was not even acknowledged and there were no profiles in the press about his heroism.
But this is only one instance. There are many. That he is a self-respecting man and treats people respectfully and expects to be treated in the same way is only a small part of the problem. He is also one of the sharpest minds around, without being a typical pampered or well-provided rich kid and doesn’t suck up to authorities and Professors like most bright UC young things do. There are many students who have outstanding mess dues etc. but no one’s room was double-locked so many times as Karthik’s, disturbing his peace of mind and focus on studies, in which none can say he is not outstanding.
With a bed-ridden father and schizophrenic mother and no other financial sources to fall back on, the world expects him to lay low. Not just the traditional and bureaucratic world. But even the social movement world, progressives, individuals and organizations too.
We know very well, that there is a sweep of Dalit Muslim and Bahujan independent assertions in the Communist Party-ruled states,’ against the “soft totalitarian” ways of our Hindu Left. Such assertions and mobilizatios erupted in Modi’s Gujarat too.
The degenerate Leftists attacking the Ambedkar Students Associations and Muslim associations and individuals have become of late a daily feature in news. But attacking and humiliating a comrade and bright young intellectual like Karthik (along with 3 other friends a guest of his) in the center of an inspirational center of lower caste and minorty student hegemony and activism is a qualitatively different matter.
Emboldened by the recent student election victory and their astounding sick success in spectacularly humiliating Radhika Vemula herself in the student elections by defeating the candidate she campaigned for – a comrade of Rohith Vemula and one of the five suspended students Vijay – the SFI thugs want now to establish a little DYFI style den and SFI style total dominance even in Hyderabad.
There are many broad-minded people who believe that Hindu Left’s atrocities against Dalit Bahujan and Muslims are not to be highlighted in the interests of broader unity and in view of the common eney. But the fact is that these Hindu Leftists show not even the millionth of this ferocity – of the kind they routinely display in oppressing humiliating lower caste intellectuals and activists – when confronted with Hindu Nazists. It is always lower caste student grops that defeated ABVP whenever it happened. The Hindu Left writes more leaflets against the ABVP.
What today in UoH happened against two brightest lower caste (OBC) young intellectual-activists is not a limited affair of its immediate coordinates.
If we leave out one of our very few and precious Dalit Bahujan Muslim North East Kashmir Adivasi-dominant space like UoH to the Hindu Leftist forces like SFI, such suicidal policy would be nothing but making it easy for the total takeover of either administration itself and/or Hindu Nazist forces.