“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. – B R Ambedkar
More than a month has passed since the institutional murder of Payal Tadvi, a second-year MD student at Mumbai’s TN Topivala National Medical College (TNMC), hailing from the Tadvi Bhil Muslim community, a Scheduled Tribe. Tadvi’s case is the latest in the series of atrocities being perpetrated against Dalit, Bahujan and Tribal students in institutions of higher education across India.
Despite being the first such incident to gain nationwide attention post the advent of Modi 2.0, her death sadly failed to trigger nationwide protests, a la the wave of protests following the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula in January 2016. There are similarities on what ensued following the “institutional murder” (a term coined as part of the resistance movement) of Rohith Vemula and Payal Tadvi. In the case of the former, there were attempts to use technicality to try and establish that Rohith was not a Dalit—and, in the case of the latter, the so-called report sneakily confirms evidence of ragging but not the caste-related discrimination and humiliation.