Student's suicide gives thrust to NLSIU campaign on Ambedkar

Student's suicide gives thrust to NLSIU campaign on Ambedkar

While the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad hostel has taken the country by storm, the incident will be used as a case study for propagating the ideas and writings of Ambedkar in the State under the Ambedkar Abhiyan or the Ambedkar for Youth and Democracy Campaign of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU).

Pradeep Ramavath, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director, CSSEIP, NLSIU, who is one of the State coordinators of the campaign, said, “When we first started this campaign, we thought we will first approach students and institutions informally and try and talk about Ambedkar and his ideas and writings gradually. The incident of Rohith Vemula has, however, changed everything. We realise we have to be more bold, upfront and vocal in our language. We will be using Rohith’s case to elaborate on the text of Ambedkar’s various works.”

The campaign was started to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar over three months ago by CSSEIP with support from the Social Welfare Department. It aims to reach out to students in all districts of the State and has already conducted 90 progammes in colleges and 30 district-level programmes. The campaign is working on popularising the ideas of three of Ambedkar’s works - Annihilation of Caste, States and Minorities, Revolution and Counter Revolution.

Other incidents like banning of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT) by the institute’s management will also be used during the campaign.

“When we speak about Ambedkar’s ideas in his books, these usually involve complex social ideas and a lot of economic synthesis that may seem dry to many students. Real life examples from the present context are therefore needed and cases of Vemula and even that of the study circle at IIT Madras will be used. Discussion on Ambedkar and scholars like Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule are missing from the curriculum and sensitivity needs to be developed,” he said.

As part of the campaign, a database of students, who have already been part of it, is being collected and Ambedkar study circles are also being formed by students.

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