"We have decided to convert to honor his memory and set an example for Dalits across the country," his mother said

Rohith Vemulas mother and brother to convert to Buddhism
news Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 08:02

University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika, and brother Raja Vemula are planning to convert to Buddhism at a function in Mumbai on Thursday on the occasion of Dr B R Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary. 

Talking to The Indian Express, Rohith’s brother Raja Vemula said: 

My brother Rohith was a Buddhist at heart although he did not convert. He took his own life because as he was discriminated because he was a Dalit. We performed his last rites according to Buddhist traditions, honoring his love for Buddhism. Rohith used to talk of Buddhism a lot...My mother feels that we should honor Rohith by embracing Buddhism. We are against the caste system in Hindusim and have, therefore, decided to embrace Buddhism which does not have such an oppressive system of castes."

Rohith's brother and mother left to Mumbai on Wednesday night, after a failed attempt to enter the university campus to talk to a few of the students.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Radhika Vemula said:

When Rohith was alive, I didn’t take his talk about Buddhism very seriously. But now I understand the importance of what he was trying to say. He was more enlightened than all of us. We have decided to convert not just to honor his memory but also to set an example for Dalits across the country.

Speaking to the newspaper, Raja also emphasized that he had no “ill feeling" towards Hindus but added that his conscience would not allow him to be a Hindu, after what happened to his brother.

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