The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Rohith Vemula's death indicts us all

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. Exports have fallen for the 13th successive month, giving further cause for concern as global demand remains sluggish.
2. The Delhi Police Special Cell, not the most trustworthy agency, claims to have arrested a 32-year-old Jamshedpur resident for his alleged links to Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.
3. New Delhi has no details on the four Indians whom Syria's deputy prime minister said last week had been detained in Damascus.

The Big Story: Shame
There are no two ways about it. The suicide of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar who was suspended for questionable reasons from the University of Hyderabad, should shame us all. It may have become fashionable to insist that caste no longer matters or matters less, and that those complaining about India's intolerance are nakedly political operators out to bring down Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But every aspect of Vemula's story lays this bare.

His life was hard enough as it is when he entered the college, as he depended on a scholarship stipend to make ends meet. Then, while protesting the hanging of Yakub Memon in August, he got into an altercation with students from the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing.

The youth wing students complained, causing Vemula and four other Dalit students to be suspended from their hostel, and Vemula's stipend to be frozen. But a proctorial board that looked into the incident found no evidence that Vemula and his fellow students had committed the assault. Once again, intervention was sought, this time from Bharatiya Janata Party minister Bandara Dattatreya, who wrote to the Human Resource Development Ministry about "antinational, casteist" elements at the university. And so the same proctorial board found the Dalit students guilty and expelled them from the hostel.

Vemula committed suicide after having spent his previous days sleeping in the open outside his old hostel, demanding the expulsion be reversed. Without his stipend, he had little money left.

The case throws light on several uncomfortable truths: the conditions in universities, the involvement of the BJP's youth wing and a union minister who has been charged for abetting Vemula's suicide, as well as the co-opting of the university administration. The fact that it was always political is not a good sign for the case, because it means the way we understand over the next few days will inevitably be drenched in all the spin around. But that does not mean we stop ourselves from understanding what went wrong with Rohith Vemula – and why we should all be ashamed.

The Big Scroll
Read the note Vemula left before he committed suicide. Apoorvanand writes saying Rohith Vemula wanted to reach for the stars, but his bid to break barriers killed him. And Mayank Jain explains how the University of Hyderabad learned nothing from a spate of student suicides in Andhra Pradesh over the last few years.

Politicking & Policying
1. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has gone ahead and filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court permitting construction of hydel projects in the Upper Ganga stretch, despite objections from the Water Ministry.
2. Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the party has no plans of tying up with the Congress for Bengal elections.
3. The Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party is once again making noises about splitting with the Shiv Sena for next year's municipal polls.

1. A leader in the Business Standard says alarm bells should be ringing over the latest export data, since India's peers haven't had such a bad time.
2. Michael Greenstone, Santosh Harish and Anant Sudarshan in the Indian Express conclude that the odd-even project did reduce particulate air pollution in Delhi.
3. Splurging taxpayer funds on venture capital as part of Start Up India is illogical and a travesty of the “minimum government” promise, writes Praveen Chakravarty in Mint.

Support our journalism by paying for Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.