“The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind.”

Rohit Vemula was a Dalit student leader, a PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad.  His suicide, triggered by a suspension led by ABVP students in his university, led to a nationwide uproar and powerful conversation on caste.

Here are 5 quotes from his writing that revealed the dark underbelly of how casteism thrives even in urban India. 


  1. Racism is a psychological affliction rather than a product of the political economy. Thus the cause cannot be fought by class wars.

  2. “Not speaking about caste cannot eradicate caste. It just makes discrimination nameless!!!”

  3. “Question injustice…Demand justice…Don’t be obedient, obedience is for sheep, domestic animals, and slaves; live free, spread freedom, start with yourself.”

  4. “How much is too much? How can the oppressors define peace? As Malcolm X says, there cannot be peace without freedom.”

  5. “We will criticize Gandhi. We will criticize Savarkar. We will criticize Vivekananda. That is our political right. That is our social responsibility. The coming generations of Dalits, minorities, and women need our voice (criticism) today.”


“For some people, life itself is a curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. I am not hurt at this moment. Not sad, just empty. That is pathetic. That is why I am doing this.”

Read Rohith’s story in his own words in ‘#Caste is not a rumour’, available on the Juggernaut app here. 



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