The conflicts in both the University of Hyderabad and the IIT-M illustrate a deep fracture between the Hindu Right and Dalit-Bahujan ideologies, particularly those of the Ambedkarite strain, a fault line that cannot be papered over by electoral alliances of convenience and occasional instances of power-sharing between the two sides. The Sangh Parivar at every level, from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party down to the ABVP, stands against equality, whether between castes, religious communities, or the sexes.
Ekalavya did not die and neither did Satyakama, but Rohith did. This sad fact could lead to various conclusions. It is a reflection on the unexpected cruelty and the adamantine ideologies undergirding the modern state and its institutions of higher learning. Drona and Ekalavya, Gautama and Satyakama could to some extent negotiate the terms of their relationship. Rohith ostensibly had the might of the Indian Constitution behind him — his fundamental rights as a citizen, reservations policy for students of his socioeconomic background, and the empowering discourses of the Ambedkarite student group which gave him a certain political awareness and the radical energy to fight for the equality he fully expected and deserved, but never got. And yet, when he was rusticated and ousted from his hostel, when he and his companions felt pushed to stage a “sleep-in” outside the university gates; when his stipend was withheld and he had to borrow money, and when he finally felt like he had hit a wall and had no options, Rohith was far worse off than his metaphorical brothers in the ancient literature.