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.

Punditry
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.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

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