HYDERABAD: ‘I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature’- read Rohith’s suicide note.
Amidst Dalit activism and struggle for social issues, the deceased research scholar continued to pursue his love for science and people. He wanted to undertake academic work on scientific issues from people’s point of view.
His PhD guide, who wished not to be named, said that Rohith excelled in studies and scored high marks in PhD admission interview. “He was articulative, a bright student, had clear ideas about his research work,’’ the guide said, adding that Rohith was interested in science and society interface. In the letter Rohith also mentioned that he wanted to become a writer of science like Carl Sagan.
Friends of the scholar said that his academic curiosity at times irritated lecturers as they could not answer Rohith’s questions. Though he spent less time in studying for exams, he topped the class. Rohith was a second year PhD student in Science, Technology and Society Studies at the Centre for Knowledge Innovation and Culture Studies, School of Social Sciences, UoH. He joined the Centre after quitting PhD at School of Life Sciences.
“We knew about his academic brilliance. All the professors liked him. Though he attended workshops, lectures at the Centre, he did not interact much and never shared his personal aspirations with us,” he said. The young research scholar used to be actively involved in Dalit activism and other marginalised sections. His Facebook posts reflect his stand on the communities.
“He was ideologically, politically active,” the guide said. The scholar’s younger brother, Raja Chaitanya earlier said that Rohith had high intellect.
Rohith’s best friend Shaik Riyaz, who studied B.Sc at a degree college in Guntur, said that lecturers complained against Rohith for asking questions. The complaint hit them back as when principal enquired, he found that the lecturers lacked prowess to answer Rohith’s questions.
“The principal asked our lecturers to learn when they don’t know about a topic and teach students. Before starting a class, lecturers announced that students can meet them in person to clear doubts, but not to disturb when the class was underway” Riyaz said.
He added that Rohith scored more than 90 per cent marks.
“But that does not mean he was a bookworm. He spent a lot of time having fun, played cricket. When we had doubts, he used to write notes and used to understand it. He was full of curiousity,” Riyaz said.