Almost six years after Rohith Vemula’s death in January 2016, there is a new ray of hope for his family.
Rohith’s mother, Radhika Vemula on Twitter, announced that in the five years since her son’s death, her younger son, Raja, now was a qualified advocate.
“Raja Vemula, my younger son, is now an Advocate. After 5 yrs, It’s one of the major changes happened in our lives since Rohith Vemula. Adv. Raja Vemula will now work/fight for the people & their Rights in the Court of Law and it’s my “Pay Back to Society". Bless him," she wrote on Twitter.
Raja Vemula, my younger son, is now an Advocate. After 5 yrs, It's one of the major changes happened in our lives since Rohith Vemula. Adv. Raja Vemula will now work/fight for the people & their Rights in the Court of Law and it's my "Pay Back to Society". Bless him.Jai Bhim 🙏
— Radhika Vemula (@vemula_radhika) December 18, 2020
Rohith was one of the five Dalit scholars who was expelled by Hyderabad University in 2015 for allegedly attacking a student activist belonging to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in August. He was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies there.
Then the university ordered a probe and the final decision by the proctorial board (disciplinary authority of the Institute) led to the expulsion of Rohith along with four others.
After the confirmation of the suspension Vemula, then 26, died by suicide on 17 January.
What followed in India was one of the biggest unorganized student movements - protesting the behind-the-scenes unfair treatment that is metted out to Dalit students in universities.
While his mother, and younger brother Raja, pleaded their case and started becoming an active part in students movements, one of the sources of their income was permanently closed.
Raja Vemula, the younger brother of Rohith, who has a post graduate degree from Puducherry University had started driving a goods autorickshaw between Guntur and Tenali in 2017 to earn livelihood and meet additional expenses.
“Many people offered me a job, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. But if I take up the job from politicians, I will be forced to toe the line with them, which my brother hated. Now that I am on a mission to seek justice and also spearheading a movement I will try for a job later,” he told The Hindu.
Raja said the need for money increased as he and his mother were involved in hectic travelling addressing rallies and meetings all over the country.
Raja had an M.Sc in Applied Geology, wanted to become a scientist. “My brother’s death came as a bolt from the blue. It will take some time to regain semblance," he had added.
In a 2017 interview to EdExLive, he had mentioned dropping out to pursue law. “I don’t know if I can actually do anything or if I will be able to bring about a change," Raja had said “But I want to be part of the movement nevertheless."
He had further explained why law was the path to justice: “There are three ways in which we can bring about a change — legislature, administration and judiciary." While he felt that they cannot expect any change from the legislature or the administration anymore but he thinks there is still hope for the judiciary.
“Not many of our people are lawyers and even if there are a few, there is no fraternity that exists. I think there is a dire need for fraternity among the lawyers or there will be no one to fight for us," he had said.