Two days after three students preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil Nadu took their own lives, and hours after NEET 2020 ended, actor Suriya released a statement, calling such tests ‘Manu Dharma tests.’ In a statement issued on Sunday evening, the actor came down heavily on the government and called for a united voice against NEET.
In a statement released on Sunday, the actor said that it pains him to see that students are forced to prove their eligibility by writing a test even during a life-threatening pandemic. Slamming the government for bringing in laws that highlight the inequalities among the people, Suriya said that the education policies are framed by those who are unaware of the ground realities of the poor and the downtrodden.
He also took a jibe at the courts of the country, saying that while justice is being provided through video-conferencing over a fear of infection, the court has ordered the students to be fearless and write the exam in person.
He also took a swipe at the media and said, “The news of these suicides become a subject for debates on that particular day. Those ‘chanakyas’ who find out spelling mistakes even in the suicide notes of these victims will engage in heated debates on TV.”
Suriya is one of the few celebrities who has spoken out against NEET in the recent past. Over the past two days, at least three students who were preparing to write the NEET in Tamil Nadu ended their lives. The sudden and continuous suicides by NEET aspirants sparked outrage across the state, which has always been against NEET.
Calling such entrance tests ‘manuneethi tests,’ Suriya said that these snatch not just the opportunities of the students, but also their lives. “It becomes a life-long punishment for the parents who suffer after losing their children to an unfair system of tests,” he added, calling for the parents and teachers to be vigilant in this education system, which he said does not have students’ welfare at its core.
Adding that it is important to prepare the students to face the victories and losses, Suriya said that it is crucial to make them understand that the results of such tests are insignificant before a life surrounded by loving family, relatives and friends. He also referred to a story in the Mahabharata, where Drona asked for Ekalavya’s thumb as fees for teaching him and said, “Modern Dronacharyas are asking for a Class 6 student to prove his mettle by passing a test. For those who pass this, there are more fierce weapons awaiting, like the NEET.”
Highlighting that such student suicides will keep happening if we, as a society, are not vigilant, Suriya implored the people to raise their voice against NEET. “Let us vocalise our opposition against NEET, which sets fire to the medical dreams of students from normal families,” he added.
NEET was held across the country on Sunday, with around 85-90% attendance recorded. A total of almost 16 lakh students had registered to write the exam, clearing which a student becomes eligible for an MBBS seat in a medical college.