Rohit Vermula, like many others in the Long & Winding Road had his moment of despair.

Video Extracts of Nakshatrada Dhoolu (Stardust), a Kannada play written by Harsha Kumar Kugwe & Sanjyothi V K.

This one person play, provides a deep insight in the multi-layered understanding and knowledge of oppression, resistance, struggle, ambition and despair.

  Nakshatrada Dhoolu begins with setting out the dreams and anxiety which formed the backdrop to Rohith Vemula's action: See I am Rohit

"I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.
The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust."
-Rohith Vermula Chakravarty, 17th January 2016
Rohit draws his identity from his mother,  Radhika  (Roots of Resilience)

As a child, Rohit experienced both gender and caste oppression at the family level, and no peers to share these with.  Wretched & Alone

In the Play, Nakshatrada Dhoolu, Harshakumar captures the experience of oppression, going beyond mere caste and gender, into the personal experience of wretchedness and resilience of his mother Radhika, had profound impact on the young Rohith.: (Learning Resilience & Struggle)
 The Online Diary of Rohith Vemula” edited by Nikhila Henry: Available at

Vemula’s notion of nationalism involved critiquing it as a Brahmanical construct which excludes Dalits, women, Muslims and anyone who is not an upper caste Hindu man... "When I speak about my community, I am non-Nationalist. When you speak about Nationalism excluding my community, it is never questioned...The obsession with boundaries and labels is nothing less than a reckless fallacy we carry conceitedly in our minds"..Stardust and Inferno: Excerpts from Rohith Vemula’s Online Diary


Dontha Prashanth,one of the four students expelled with Rohith talks...

Dontha Prashanth:  "we are fighting a battle...for self-respect...  That agenda has been placed by Rohith Vermula  though his suicide letter itself, where Rohith vermula said there is no humanity which exists in this country...If humanity has to persist, it is this youth which must have to dismantle this caste, which must have to dismantle this communal-ism.. I end with what Ambedkar has said "Lost rights  are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the oppressors. They must be fought and reclaimed back.  - You are alive in our hearts

Ravish Kumar, NDTV speaks of the politics of the ASA-ABVP  from August 2015 when ASA had several programmes which took up several nationally sensitive issues like death sentence to Yakub Memon. He recalled the incidents of 2002 in HCU,  where ten dalits students were singled out for rustication, after the students agitated against demotion of a Dalit warden. This happened when the chief warden was Appa Rao, the VC when Rohit commiited suicide.

The Protest Today
In the early hours 28th May 2016, at around 2 P.M., the authorities at the University of Hyderabad removed the tents erected in North Shopcom around the Velivada and the venue of protest following the death of Rohith Vemula.... through an extraordinary and imaginative act of symbolism, Rohith and his four friends have re-installed the Velivada in the midst of the University, in our hearts and in our consciousness. We need not skirt past it or bemoan the loss of the Shopcom (as the administration has been doing). For us it is a living history of sacrifice and struggle, forcing us to continually work towards a more pluralistic and egalitarian idea of the University. - -SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of Hyderabad University

Radhika Vemula, Raja Vemula and Dontha Prashanth, one of the socially boycotted Dalit research scholars participated in #ChaloUna rally on 15th August (Facebook: Joint Action Committee for social Justice-UoH)

“Attack me, shoot me, not Dalits.” We find it ironic that you chose to say these words a few kilometers from where fake cow-protectors and fake nationalists from your party forced a brilliant Dalit scholar to take his own life. Despite the passion with which you delivered it, your latest speech is as dishonest as the one that you were forced to deliver at the Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow on 22nd January 2016, a week after our brother Rohith Vemula was martyred... We promise you that in the coming days, the social conditions in this country will make it impossible for your followers to continue with their divisive project. Remember that the war that your followers have unleashed on the weakest people on this country will take us all to the path of doom. - Open Letter to PM 8/8/16 by three PhD Students who were suspended alongwith Rohith
Education was seen as the essential path to liberation.. and so even as Radhika worked 24x7, she got herself a degree, and as did Rohith.. By Hook or Merit

Campus life opens out new worlds.  As amazing as this new world is, Harsha Kumar explores the wider gap that Dalits experience! and the ruthlessness of the social system..10  Contents of modernity & Caste ,
 "Not speaking about caste cannot eradicate caste. It just makes discrimination nameless!!! And our activism is not identity politics, it is a struggle for recognition."- Stardust and Inferno
Harsha Kumar in her script, speculates on the possible evolution of Rohits ideology.. from resistance, through Marx and onto to Ambedkar.. in the next few segments in her play..(11) Through Marx, Ambedkar

Modernity especially in the digital age seems to work in a liberated space. Hereto, the sharp contrast of Dalit existence of untold incidents of atrocities.  (15 Technology  & Prejudice
 ‘The Indian Left will regret bypassing social questions one day. And on that day communism of a different kind will reveal itself in our Nation,’ wrote Vemula in 2014. – the Left had de-radicalised, falling victim to electoral politics and hypocritical double stands on liberalisation and capitalism. Vemula’s dismissal of the Left was not a dismissal of communism, socialism and Maoism. In fact, he regarded Ambedkar a socialist and considered The Communist Manifesto a potent, relevant text. In 2015 he wrote of the rise of a ‘Red sun in a Blue sky’ symbolising the meeting of the twin ideologies... Indian communism has no excuse in neglecting the caste question as the whole of our history is caste centered. And even during fair economic times (goods exchange times) caste was strong enough to impact social relationships. If Indian society is a monument, caste is its foundation. Without rebuilding from the foundation reshaping of the nation only gives a reversible progression. - - Away from the red dye...
Rohith experiences it in the universe of the Campus! This throws Rohith from realm of academics and university, to that of an activist (15a) 
 Ignoring caste is castesim..
The so-called modern and universal ethos of the university,  finds a way to stigma-tise  in order to perpetuate a brahmanical order.  Rohith's ideas of Nationalism was also influence by the works of G Aloysius "Nationalism without a Nation"
Aloysius on Nationalism and the caste question
Aloysius Regionalising India:

Kancha Illaih at HCU: Bheem Bhoomi ki Jai
speak about this country's productive masses..

Though these tents were put after Rohith's Suicide on January 17, the ‘Velivada’ enclosure, or Dalit colony, was put up in the shopping complex by the five Dalit students, including Rohith Vemula, who were suspended earlier. Rohith Vemula and other four Dalit students stayed there before Rohith's death, and continue to stay in the Velivada. The other four Dalit scholars have maintained that they will sleep in Velivada till Rohith Vemula got justice. - Hyderabad University VC orders Rohith Vemula protesters to be evicted, students refuse
But the road of an activist is not peopled by ideals alone.. he faces real politics...which easily leaves humanity, rationality, notions of universe in university, human emotions etc behind.. . Velivada

Nakshatrada Dhoolu
Script: Harsha Kumar Kugwe and Sanjyothi V K
Rohith played by: Kiran Marashettyhalli
Directed by: Venkateshwara
Team managed by: Uday Soraba
Technical Support by: Praveen Kumar
.                                                                                .

Joint Action Committee: Facebook
Speaking from Velivada on 6th Aug, 2016,  Prof. Susie Tharu sought to "gather"  theory around the struggling symbols of resistance at the campus and define them ourrselves and not give a chance to our enemies global capital and hindutva to define and appropriate them.

The magic of Velivada is that is not just a geographical space, one of cultural significance... Velivada has become a place through which we try to understand ourselves in a new way.. where knowledge has a caste, and Rohith was a strong example of challenging that..  

What does this say about  progressive politics! Is there space for the personal.  For Community. Comradeship?  Or for the struggle outside the dominant project! Do we really find solidarity in the Long & Winding Road?
Even now we seem to persist with the regular politics.. which is great in the face of current realities.. but somewhere we seem to be glossing over what meaningless took over an active traveler in this Long & Winding Road.

Other articles of interest:
Dalits are divided amongst themselves by that same monster of caste hierarchy, and Dalit disunity is clandestinely encouraged by upper-caste machinations. This social hurdle is possibly the most important for Dalits to address and overcome.
Another hurdle is the language issue – a Dalit from a state in south India or east India cannot speech-communicate with her/his counterpart in another state. This communication problem may not be so serious in most of the North Indian states because Hindi is widely understood. But both hurdles are interconnected. Overcoming the internal ‘caste’ divide will lead to the desire to unite, and overcoming the ‘communication’ hurdle will facilitate pan-India unity.

‘It’s all about economics and power. The jealousy factor. There’s big money in disposing of bovine carcasses. Runs into millions. Young Dalit boys are tech savvy. With shiny new smart phones, they can ring up Kanpur or Kohlapur to find out the highest rates for leather or bone meal. The dominant caste men become incandescent with rage at the sight of Dalit lads racing around on bikes. Buying pick-up trucks’. Gagan Sethi-
Gagan Sethi: - Explore idenity in a more creative way.. to change course of development