Referring to the recent incident of the alleged suicide of Darshan Solanki, a Dalit student in their first year of B.Tech at IIT Bombay, the 50th Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said suicide incidents among marginalized students are on the rise and research has proved it. It is seen that most of such students belong to Dalit and tribal communities.
In February, there was the sad news of a Dalit student committing suicide at IIT Bombay. The family of this student has alleged that the student named Darshan Solanki is facing caste discrimination in the institution. Tired of this discrimination, Darshan gave up his life. IIT Bombay set up a committee on the issue and while giving a clean chit to the institute’s management, the committee said that Darshan Solanki committed suicide out of embarrassment as he was constantly scoring low marks in the exams.
However, according to media reports, many scholars have questioned both the report and the composition of the committee. Apart from this, people associated with IITs or such prestigious institutions in the country are also speaking on this issue. Be it ex-directors of IIT Delhi or people associated with the management of these institutions, everyone’s concern is more related to the reputation of these institutions, but in this case, Chief Justice Chandrachud touched on some important points. has done He said that I am deeply troubled that students from underprivileged sections are committing suicide in reputed institutes of the country. He said that the figures associated with these institutions cannot be understood as mere numbers, but sometimes tell the story of centuries of struggle.
We may have given reservations to Dalits and tribals in government jobs, educational institutions, parliament, and state assemblies, but we have to accept the fact that there is widespread discrimination against them in society. This discrimination is happening on a large scale in many fields including educational institutions. This discrimination is such that many Dalit students studying in higher education institutions commit suicide.
In December 2021, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in Parliament that 122 students have committed suicide in various higher educational institutions in the country in the last 7 years. Students from Dalit, tribal, backward, and Muslim communities are among the suicide victims. Most of them were Dalits.
The students who committed suicide were from IITs, IIMs, and medical colleges. Out of these 122 students, 3 were tribals, 24 were Dalits and 3 were minorities. 34 students who committed suicide were studying in IITs or IIMs. Thirty students were studying in different national technical institutes.
On 17 January 2016, Rohit Vemula, a Ph.D. fellow at the Central University of Hyderabad, committed suicide. He had made many complaints against the administration. Payal Tadvi, a student of Topiwala National Medical College, Mumbai committed suicide in 2019. Tadvi had complained of constant discrimination and harassment by upper-caste students in the college.
Both Vemula and Tadvi were Dalits. Given the storm that arose after the two suicides, it was expected that there would be some difference in the behavior of Dalit students in higher education institutions. But from the statistics that have come out since then, the situation is the same as it was, on the contrary, the situation seems to have worsened. According to the report of the parliamentary committee, SC and ST students in AIIMS Delhi are consistently failing the examination. The reason for this is discrimination against them.
BJP MP Premjibhai Solanki, President of the SC-ST Committee, has also accepted this. They said in their report that they are discriminated against while applying for various posts. The Ministry of Education told the Lok Sabha that out of 45 central universities in the country, only 1 university has an SC vice-chancellor. A total of 8668 candidates had applied for the post of Assistant Professor out of which 5247 candidates were from the General category, 1045 from Scheduled Caste, 490 from Scheduled Tribe, and 1567 from Other Backward Class (OBC) category. This situation of discrimination is not only limited to higher educational institutions but is present in almost all educational institutions.
While giving a speech in Canada in 1942, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, while discussing the problem of Dalits in India, mentioned two main points. The first thing he said was that the caste system was more dangerous than imperialism and peace and order would be established in India only after the caste system was abolished. Another thing to say is that if any class in India wants freedom, it is the Dalits.
This is the situation even today. The plight of Dalits came to the fore once again when 18-year-old Dalit student Darshan Solanki committed suicide on February 12. He was a student at IIT Bombay. He committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of the hostel. This incident has raised a question mark on the status of Dalits across the country.
Darshan was a first-year BTech (Chemical Engineering) student at IIT Bombay. He had taken admitted to this institute three months ago. He had gone home a few days before committing suicide. A month before committing suicide, he had told his family that he was facing a hostile environment in college.
Especially after his classmates find out that he belongs to a Scheduled Caste. He was teased saying that he was getting free education. His mother said that he was facing many problems and was being harassed in various ways. If we want to solve this problem first it is very important to understand this problem only then the suicide of marginalized students can be stopped.
Vikas parashram meshram is a journalist