Consciousness of Indian Religion and the suicide of Rohith Vemula
Kozhikode beach shores witnessed a discussion between Meena Kandaswamy and Shahina K Rafeeq at the Kerala Literature Festival.
They spoke on the topic “Consciousness of Indian Religion and the suicide of Rohith Vemula” which has been a hot topic for the last 2-3 weeks on all platforms of media.
Shahina asked Meena on what made her write articles that were based on the suppressed classes and whether a writer should be an activist to which Meena replied that “I don’t think writing and activism are connected and what happened with these big prices is that it’s not only about literature but also about politics. In the immediate aftermath of what’s called the 9/11 we witnessed an immediate ‘Islam ph obia’”
“Even if a writer is a literary giant we must hold them up to criticism.” Said Meena.
Shahina asked- “Living in the lands of Sri Narayana Guru who advocated us one caste, one religion, one God and contradictorily we are denying admissions for dalits be in Maharaja College in Calcutta. Aren’t we denying the chance for them to be part of the present mainstream society?” to which Meena quoted Ambedkar from one of his book “Only time you can have a revolution in India is when the oppressed people in Indian realize they are oppressed. The history of denial of education on basis of caste symptoms prevailed since long back.”
Coming to the topic of discussion about Rohith Vemula’s suicide Meena commented that “Suicide is a political act. In India there exists. She also gave her opinion on the present political scenario and gave her personal view on Modi’s governing.
She feels the aspect of fear is just increasing for example the fear of posting something on Facebook and how the targeted assassinations of writers are increasing. She added there’s an inner Modi in everyone, “Modi’s policy is simple- uphold caste, uphold Hindu religion, uphold the supremacy of Brahmins and cow”. His language is very straight forward and a very violent language accompanied with lot of theatrics and Modi is someone who capitalizes using caste.
On Shahina’s question about cast consciousness Meena says “If it’s possible or not possible we have to have it.”
Meena mentioned a question asked by Rohith Vemula’s brother in a press meet where he said “If Rohith was not a dalit, wouldn’t you have spared him? Would you have not allowed him to live?”
She also mentioned about crossing caste lines and how Rohith wanted to exist in the minds.
Then they spoke about the reservation situation in Kerala where reservation should be based on financial status and not caste.
Shahina asked to Meena about being a nettizen and whether she gets into trouble for that.
Meena shared her feeling of thinking about coming out of it because it takes too much time and adds that with the right intension online media can be a perfect platform for a lot of things.
And with that she also said Rohith Vemula’s topic shouldn’t just be a trending topic “online: but a trending topic of discussion on the ground.
Meena opined her view on Yakub Meman’s death sentence that he shouldn’t have been hanged especially when he was collaborating with Indian states; instead the judge who sentenced him death quoting a book should be hanged.
They spoke mostly about their own views on religion and trending number of suicides and the caste in education systems.
Source: Lakshmi Nambiar (Media Student)
Venue: Kerala Literature Festival 2016, Kozhikode