Hyderabad: “I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write. I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature.”
This is precisely what Hyderabad Central University Dalit Research student Rohit Vemula wrote in his suicide note, speaking about his love for science.
The suicide triggered wide spread protests across the country and after few weeks of Rohit’s death, Ann Druyan, none other than Astronomer Carl Sagan’s wife has written a letter to Rohit Vemula and responding to his unfulfilled desire Druyan said: “To read his suicide note and to learn the details of his predicament is to get a vivid inkling of the actual cost of bias to our civilization. If we could somehow quantify the totality of lost contributions and innovations as a result of prejudice, I believe we would find it staggering.”
Druyan was told about Rohit Vemula’s death by activist Rajeev Ramachandran – in a short but reflective letter.
“You tell me, Rajeev: Is it possible that the attention paid to Rohit’s story will lessen its chronic repetition? I am trying to find something hopeful in an otherwise heartbreaking example of needless suffering and squandered potential,” she said adding that she mourned Rohith’s death and lost promise.
Rohith hung himself in the hostel of Hyderabad Central University on January 7, days after he and four other students were banned from the hostel, cafeteria and other common areas on campus for allegedly beating a rival student activist.