If it wasn't for Rohith's death and the subsequent protests, the Univesity of Hyderabad would have been host to a yearly conference and seminar on sociology, an event which started in 2015. But the abstract* of a paper, which was reportedly rejected by the conference, has now been released by some students. Sources in the sociology department of the university say that Rohith has submitted the following abstract, looking into caste discrimination in the Life Sciences school, as a proposal for the sociology conference. But it was allegedly rejected.
Abstract of paper which was sent by Rohith for Sociology department research conference. Title of the paper : Discovering Caste Prejudices in Science Laboratories: Unheard Narratives.
Ideally, science laboratories are seen as rational, non-stigmatic avenues of research. Basic sciences, especially Life Sciences and Chemistry in HCU are considered as best research spaces in india. But these same spaces also have an untouched side of reproduction of caste inequalities. The rampant effect of caste relations inside HCU campus with specific to practices in science laboratories define the interpersonal relationships of the students. An amicable alliance between faculty members and the authority of these groups is largely driven by caste nexus. The inter play of Caste, Religion, Region and Gender are major determinant factors which affects the political structures of both laboratory space and classroom. Students and faculty who come from dominant sections consciously or unconsciously become major actors in maintaining this subtle hierarchy. Starting from the āstarā mark in results notification, till the share in career/future opportunities, reserve category students face various forms of exclusiveness/humiliation in these spaces. The lack of social capital in research institutes across the nation and abroad, non-dominant caste students are forced to depend heavily on the mercy of their professors, who were in turn the perpetrators of these hierarchies. Sometimes, this form of discrimination is invisible and it is unintelligible. This paper mainly attempts to map this hidden caste nexus in formation of relationships and the impact of identity on āconsensus buildingā through my four years lived experiences in Life Sciences School. This paper also tries to reflect on the reproduction of inequalities in higher education spaces
It is in fact the very same issues which have now gained centre stage following Rohith's suicide. You can read our story on the culture of caste discrimination in science streams here.
*TNM cannot vouch for the authenticity of the abstract, but students of the university claim that this was the paper which Rohith wanted to present at the conference.