Unless the Ideology of the Modi Govt Changes, Mothers Like Me will Cry in Vain: Radhika Vemula

Written by SabrangIndia Staff | Published on: January 16, 2017
On the eve of the first anniversary of Rohith's death, January 17, 2017, Radhika Vemula, a fighter and an icon is back to earning daily wages even as an insensitive government is only set to establish her son's caste

For weeks and months, she has been the face of the protest and struggle. Be it Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala or Una, Gujarat Radhika Vemula was there, speaking out against the injsutice faced by first Rohith, who's 'institutional murder' was caused by a cruel administration represented in suspended Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podille. Handpicked by the central government, this VC, accused of substandard academics, even plageurism, was given an 'award of excellence' by Narendra Modi (January 3).

Radhika had worked with the sewing machine, sewing clothes to fund her children's education. But she gave it up after Rohith's death as she toured across the country speaking in universities and garnering solidarity for her fight against caste discrimination at higher educational institutions. A year has elapsed since then and the family is back to struggling for livelihood. She now earns `350-500 a day.

"After Rohith died, we faced several hardships. Raja worked as a daily wager at Autonagar as my health wasn't good. I recovered in December and started tailoring," she said.The family now lives almost in an exile far from the city to avoid attention. "We were insulted by officials and members of the society . No one was willing to give us a house on rent," Radhika said.

On Tuesday, it will be exactly one year since she lost her son. "Unless the ideology of the Union government and the public mindset change, there will be a lot of mothers like me who will wail in vain," she said.

But Radhika has resolved to continue her fight for a `Rohith Act' to end casteism in universities. "Even if the Guntur district administration declares Rohith as a BC, I will not let it dampen our fight. Had the people from previous generations fought against discrimination, I would have had my Rohith by my side. That is why I am fighting for future generations and to make sure no other Dalit suffers due to discrimination,"