An open letter to Rohith Vemula on behalf of murdered Muslim techie

By A Mirsab,,

The whole country is soothing with sad demise of Rohith Vemula, 26, a research scholar from a Dalit community who was suspended by Hyderabad Central University leading him to commit suicide on January 17 and there are numerous demonstrations continue to be hold at different places condemning the circumstances created at the University that compelled him to take extreme step.

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But this is not the first instance when an educated youth from socially and educationally backward background has lost life due to the unprovoked indulgence of people having dominance in the society.

Muhsin Shaikh and Rohith Vemula

The murder of a Muslim techie in Pune by the activists of Hindu radical outfit is another example when an innocent had to face the brunt of others who do not respect humanity and identify every individual only from the religion one follows.

On June 2, 2014 Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, 24, a resident of Solapur in Maharashtra who was working in an IT company at Pune was assaulted by the members of Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) while he was returning from a Mosque to his rented home after offering night prayer at around 9.00 pm. He was allegedly killed after HRS members spotted beard on Shaikh’s face.

As Shaikh is not around and his sudden death has seized him to write anything, I am seeking this as an opportunity on his behalf to write a letter to Rohith.

Dear Rohith,

I feel very sad that you had to choose this path but I feel you must be contented that at least you could achieve something after your death that you were not able to while alive. Your demise has resulted into many movements against discrimination and supremacy of any single religion or caste.

Like you, I too loved Science, Stars and Nature, but I was shouldered with the responsibilities of my family. I kept my dreams after the duties of my family that consisted of a diabetic father, old mother and a young aspiring brother. I was living and enduring for their betterment first. However, I was not aware that there are people of hatred who are searching to spill blood of people like me.

Your thought ‘The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility’ was proved right 18 months before when I was killed by the radicals after spotting my beard. I was beaten by the group black and blue without even telling what my fault was.

Unfortunately, my killing did not result into strong protests across the country else hostile environment might not have been created at Hyderbad University and you would not have to kill yourself.

You feared that people would call you coward for your decision, but let me tell you, neither do people called me courageous to have died with sporting a beard which was a part of my personal belief.

You got a chance to write a letter to the world that echoed behind after your death but I could not even get an opportunity to at least inform my family what is the PIN of my ATM and whom I have borrowed money from.

You could also obtain ‘pseudo’ privilege when Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed sympathy with your mother, though after five days of your death, and if you don’t consider it to be then remember when I died he was silent as if I had no mother or that I was not the Indian citizen.

Another providential thing happened to you soon after you left the world and it was that the Andhra government announced it would offer job to your mother and brother, but for my family it had to run pillar and post for months after the Maharashtra State Mantrayala hoping the fulfillment of promise of a job to my brother made by then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan that was finally rejected by him.

I am weeping after reading your letter with the thought that I could not get an opportunity to tell my family to maintain dignity by not accepting any kind of compensation that the government would offer in order to buy my death.

I now expect that your sacrifice will enlighten the society to protect precious lives and you are always remembered not as a victim but as a champion against bias.

As I could not get this possibility before my death, I try it now and ask readers of this letter to help my family in sustaining a noble life without daily haunting of my death to them.

I would also request them to not limit you and your letter to mere prosecution of guilty, as like in my case, but to see that people like you and me do not lose life due to coercions and repressions of others.