Rohith Vemula’s suicide has lead to a surge of protests in the country. Not only IITs but other educational institutes and students have joined forces to condemn his death and the perceived politicization of events. What the protests have also laid thread bare is that not all is hunky dory even in prestigious institutes like the IITs when it comes to issues of reservation.

The recent spate of events asks one question – Reservations
can ensure that those from all walks get into government institutes – after
that what? If the recent cases are anything to go by the government needs
to do much more.  

PaGaLGuY spoke to a handful of students in the IITs who are from
the reserved classes, to get a better grasp of the ongoing scenario.

Explaining the discomfort, they told us that post
admissions, there are other hurdles to cross. One said that since he had
studied in vernacular medium, he had an issue coping with English.
“My English is not very good and while conversing with other students or
lain studies, it creates a problem.” Another said that he had issues
participating in club and group activities since ‘arts’ and ‘dance’ was not too
familiar “Have rarely been part of such activities before joining the IIT,
so am taking time to pick up,” another student explained. Yet another said
that it was easy to feel ‘left out’ of things but with a some help from peers
and faculty, things do get easier.

A post on the facebook page “IIT Madras
Confessions” by a student of IIT Madras, posted anonymously, tells the tale of
discrimination in the hallowed portals of IITs. Some colleges have taken
measures to bridge this gap by conducting special classes to bridge this gap
but these are very few. And sometimes there are faculty that help in
streamlining processes. As reporter, Prof. Sandeep Pandey from IIT-BHU helped a
student Mahesh Balmiki pay off his loans. Mahesh dropped out of IIT-BHU, did
odd jobs and attempted to sell his kidney under burden of debt. Prof. Pandey on
coming to know about the incident arranged for the sum through the Alumni.

For now, however, it is yet to be seen what turn Rohit Vemula’s
case takes and what solution the Ministry of Human Resource Development brings about.

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