Rajneesh Kumar Ambedkar, a PhD scholar at Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi VishwaVidyalaya, Wardha, Maharashtra, India, has been sitting on a satyagraha at the university campus.
He was forced to go on strike after the university administration failed to address his grievances.
Ambedkar has alleged that he is being victimized by the university administration because of his Dalit identity.
Narrating his case, Ambedkar said his PhD thesis was submitted long back with all due process followed. His supervisor was satisfied with his work and he recommended the work for external evaluation.
But the university administration, instead of sending his work to external examiners and facilitating the process of the award of the degree, has so far kept the thesis to itself.
Months after the submission of the work, Ambedkar was told by the university to rework his thesis under a new supervisor. Ambedkar argued that such conditionality is arbitrary and against the rule and he is being victimized for being a Dalit as well as being a vocal person about the issues of social justice.
For a couple of days, Ambedkar and his friends have been sitting on strike. The administration has so far remained aloof from his problems. But a mob, perceived to be close to the establishment, came to the protest site a few days back, raising objectionable slogans. The mob allegedly assaulted activists as well. Later, Ambedkar’s injured friends were sent to the hospital.
Amid this critical situation, Ambedkar continues fighting for social justice and democratisation of education.
However, it cannot be ruled out that his life as well as his career is under threat. It appears not that an insensitive university system is pushing a Dalit scholar to meet the fate of Rohit Vemula.
Through an online interview conducted on April 1, 2023, I learnt from him about his case and his struggle.
Here is the interview:
We cannot afford to remain silent now.
Dr Abhay Kumar, PhD, JNU, New Delhi