It has been four years since Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old PhD student, passed away after hanging himself in a friend’s room.
Vemula was a member of the Ambedkar Students’ Association, which fights for the rights of Dalit (formerly known as untouchable) students on the campus.
He was one of five Dalit students who were protesting against their expulsion from the university’s housing facility.
He was suspended from his education, fellowship, and hostel due to his involvement in the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) with four other ASA members. On January 17, 2016, Vemula committed suicide with a banner of ASA and left behind a searing note including the infamous quote:
“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.”
He was a popular and diligent student leader informed and highly articulate about various social injustices.