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The Death of Merit: A short film series by the Insight Foundation

May 5, 2011

From here.

This documentary is first in the series of our efforts to document caste-based discrimination prevalent in Indian higher education system resulting in large number of suicides of Dalit students in Indian campuses.

It is based on the testimonies of parents and family members. In next few days, we are coming up with few more documentaries to expose the kind of caste-based hostility and harassment Dalit and Adivasi students have to suffer from the faculties, fellow students and administration in some of the country’s premier educational institutions. These documentaries are part of our efforts to make Indian educational system inclusive in real sense and free from caste-discrimination.

Here’s more on The Death of Merit.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. ooh, on the other hand permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:32 AM

    Are there no suicides/drop outs among non-dalit students in these institutions and in other institutions of advanced research/teaching.I think most of the students need more support in terms of academic inputs, counselling and personality development and some Dalit students may need them more. Such support will help all students to respond to pressures in life and to cope up with stresses and challenges. I dont want to jump to conclusions because there is no data in the post in terms of no. of students, no.of dalit students, no. of suicides among dalit/non-dalit students and the causes behind the students (personal/family reasons/trobule in relationships, psychological factors(including depression) and discrimination). Discrimination against dalits should not be tolerated and institutions should ensure that the milieu is not against dalits.

    • Sasikumar permalink
      May 7, 2011 9:59 PM

      This kind of rhetorical sleight of hand tactics has hidden the core issue. This is not just one-off case, but one of the many cases. Please see the “Thorat committee report on DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT OF SC/ST STUDENTS IN in AIIMS” :

      AIIMS has a long history of anti-Dailt, anti-BC attitude. Anti-reservation demonstration instigated by AIIMS Management has occupied the prime time slots of corporate Media. The brazenness of the Media and the AIIMS Management in supporting the Anti-reservation agitation was breathtaking

      So, this video, the Thorat committee and arguments such as the one put forth by some of the people here is not startling. Rather it provides the vigour in opposing the Racism that is prevelant in not only AIIMS but also IIT


  2. ravichandran permalink
    May 6, 2011 1:33 AM

    “Every time a dalit student commits suicide, it is The Death of Merit” yes it is true, therefore there are many dalits who are dying, and before they die, do something about it too.

  3. somnath permalink
    May 6, 2011 6:15 PM

    This is absolute rubbish…Over the years, there have been quite a fw unfortunate suicides by students in some of our elite schools…the reasons have almost uniformly been the same – issues of self esteem on not having been able to cope with competitive pressure…To give a caste angle to this is a deliberate attempt to add more colour to what is anyways a serious issue..

    If anything, what should be covered is the fact that most SC/ST “quota” students come in at a level that is only 50-60% of the rest of the group…As a result, most of them fail to cope up with the general academic pressure, let alone peer competitive pressue..I personally know of specific batches where nearly all “F”s were “quota” students…Thanks to reservations, we are pushing through students that are not equipped to handle the sort of presure that is baseline in these schools..As it is, even “general catgory” students, some of them, struggle…Its not a surprise that the “quota” category struggles too..If one of them unfortunately comitted suicide (a number of “general category” students have, too), what should be discussed is the efficacy of reservation at tertiary education levels..

    • Mdz permalink
      August 7, 2011 11:23 AM

      Somnath , your comment is pure rubbish and an attempt to hide rampant castist harrsement prevalent in all premier Indian institutes. Its matter of time before table will turn and hunter would be hunted soon . God bless this country when SC/ST understand the design of upper caste ppl and decide to break this century old caste shackle.

    • September 9, 2011 8:00 AM

      Somnath, your attitude sums it up! A shameless byproduct of caste system. What competitiveness? I mean, how scientific is the education in India? How many of these Professors in top notch institutions stand in terms of extensive research and honours at Global level? Your version of competitiveness is pure rubbish!

      • January 14, 2012 10:54 PM

        you argument is truly rubbish and shows the hypocratic face of our society. for kind of your information both mr.jaspreet singh and mr. balmukund bharti were the excellent students. balmukund cleard three prestigious exams in the same year including IIT-JEE . jaspreet singh on the other hand had naver failed in any subject until his final year. latter a three member group of professor re-evaluted his answer sheet and found that he had infact pass his exam. now what more evidence do you want???

  4. Ron permalink
    May 6, 2011 9:36 PM

    Very very good initiative by Insight Foundation and thank you Mr.Shivam for publishing the same in Kafila. Indeed it is a death of merit and wastage of important human resource of a very significant section for our country.

    Caste related mentality exist among a significant section of India population……i have seen people “proudly” displaying their ‘higher’ caste as a badge of honour… wonder the same people when in position of power will indulge in discrimination against others especially dalits and adivasis….

  5. Yojimbo permalink
    May 8, 2011 7:23 PM

    What is the most troubling point in this problem is that genuinely meritorious students get targeted. People who would have been able to make a genuine improvement for their community have had their lives cut short. That there are non-meritorious getting through is not an excuse to torture a meritorious one – nor are sub-standard students limited to any community – I know several ‘sub-standard’ students from upper-caste communities.
    What is appalling is that instead of helping a hard-working student at every step of the way – the doctors at AIIMS actually impeded or were indifferent. These doctors would have contributed far more to the health of society if they had helped one meritorious student from this community. The fact that they would not – only points to intrinsic caste-based discrimination !!

  6. rajeeve permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:22 AM

    The word Merit itself has too many social connotations than the ordinary eye can see. That is why those who champion for Merit seldom sees (or more aptly, refuse to see) the factors of caste, religion and the like. They do not realize that the merit they advocate itself is a construction of these factors which had put them up in social scale, whereas it has put a majority behind it. That is why people come up with the logic like “issues of self esteem on not having been able to cope with competitive pressure” and etc.

    • somnath permalink
      May 9, 2011 1:44 PM

      Rajeeve, a lot of sophistry to give a belaboured caste colour to a simple issue of “fit”…There is a certain level of academic standards expected in certain types of schools (lets say the IIXs)..You can critique those standards, ut not accuse those who are setting them of casteism..The issue of measuring “success” is a social one – it is complicated enough by itself, does not need caste colours…Most perversely, accusing institutions, some of India’s best, of having casteist biases is not just wrong, its just a conveneint diversion to the real issue.

  7. nitin permalink
    May 17, 2011 12:06 PM

    this is true picture of indian society .which has many backlashes . there are many of dalit family who are discriminated after six decades of independence .dalit is basis for discrimination not only in institution but also concluded in society and in village . after having provision for sc / st .in indian constitution for reservation .it is of no means ‘ if dalits are not secured at all.

    • Kumarpushp permalink
      May 29, 2011 7:46 PM

      Hindus are born racist,dalits are being killed in day in and day out in India but no body is care about them.India is being ruled by ruthless ,barbaric hindus who are protecting their cousin.Medias ,both print and electronic are being run by tha same clans where dalits should go they donot have even a friendly country who can support at global level. i think best way to protect dalit lives in india they should get arms training to protect their lives.

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