By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on March 25, 2016
May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That's pathetic. And that's why I am doing this.
On the morning of 18th January 2016, India woke up to these heartbreaking last words of Rohith Vemula, a 26 year old Dalit research scholar from the University of Hyderabad. The news of his suicide was covered by all the newspapers on the first page and his despaired words shook the very conscience of anyone who read those words.
No matter where you come from, what ideology you follow and what your political orientation is, Rohith's honest, despaired letter, which gives way to the failed dreamy romantic inside him, makes everyone's eyes water.
The heartbreaking incident affected one of the most socially aware filmmakers of our country- Hansal Mehta. And Mehta, as his tribute to Rohith- the sensitive young man who should not have died- created this video, The Last Letter. The poignant video sees actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub narrating Rohith's pensive last letter (translated to Hindi by Swanand Kirkire). The video has been created as a part of the “India Tomorrow” initiative by the India Today group.
On his official website, Mehta writes,
I do not endorse suicide. The act is neither symbolic nor worthy of my sympathy. However, in Rohith Vemula’s letter I found expression to my own despair at the way our constitutional freedoms are systematically being snatched away by an apathetic establishment. His last letter is a reflection of how our polarised social order has made it impossible for the ‘other’ to even aspire for equal opportunity. His last letter made me realise that sometimes what we deem as suicide is actually an act of collective murder by a stifling society and a dictatorial establishment.
Here is my tribute to Rohith. Here is the last letter of a sensitive young man who should not have died. Here is Rohith Vemula’s last letter.