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Stories of struggle on Muthukrishnan’s Facebook wall

This January 30, 2017 photo shows J. Muthukrishnan at the Taj Mahal. Photo: Remembering Rajini Krish/Facebook  

A look at the Facebook wall of J. Muthukrishnan, who allegedly committed suicide on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Monday, reveals the discrimination and struggle that this first-generation research scholar faced all through his life.

Muthukrishnan vividly describes his early days in long posts on Facebook. The odd jobs to meet his family's needs as well as to fund his education, the double whammy of poverty and hailing from a marginalised community and discrimination that is rampant in one of the most prestigious universities in the the country.

“When equality is denied everything is denied,” begins Muthukrishnan’s last post, written three days before his alleged suicide.

The post describes his childhood days in Salem, Tamil Nadu. They were on how he bought ‘Maana’ (beef/meat in colloquial Tamil) for his family and boarded a bus and how he had to come across dirty stares from fellow passengers, and even his schoolmate refused to speak with him, because he was carrying meat.

“Many people turned aside, and crossed opposite side, after seeing the Maana carry bag. In those days there was no equality for Maana, but nowadays there is no maana , that is to say there is no equality (sic),” he says.

Muthukrishnan further writes: “There is no Equality in M.phil/phd Admission, there is no equalitiy in Viva – voce, there is only denial of equality, denying prof. Sukhadeo Thorat recommendation, denying Students protest places in Ad – block, denying the education of the Marginal’s (sic). When Equality is denied everything is denied.”

Many sides of ‘one side’ love

In another post dated February 15, Muthukrishnan remembers his crush from college days, and his interactions with a girl. He goes on to reveal that the girl is a married woman now and that he too has moved on.

“And I don't want to become ILavarasan, Gokul Raj, Shankar ! most importantly all my crush said, You will get Better girl In the World! (sic)” Muthukrishnan writes, drawing parallel with the murder of three Dalit youths in Tamil Nadu for marrying caste Hindu girls.

History is Maths

At a time when JNU students were protesting against a new proposal of the University Grants Commission to do away with entrance tests for M. Phil and PhD aspirants and conduct admission only through interview, Muthukrishnan wrote this post.

He recalls how a Maths teacher targeted him for not joining private tuition. His post also mentions how he was humiliated, mentioning where "he hails from" and for “having a new hair cut”. Muthukrishnan goes on to say how he hated the subject after that. He also says he took it up as a challenge and went on to become a first generation graduate trying “to build a chances for others.”

He ends the post with an appeal to the Acting Chairman of UGC: “please give chance to the first generation Marginal’s, otherwise, he/she will misunderstand Maths means enemy! Education means depression! He/she will misunderstand university means discrimination! Please change, please give a chance!”

Remembering the lady he loved

Recalling another incident, during a visit to Taj Mahal, Muthukrishnan remembers his grandmother Sellammal and her perseverance to build a house for her family. Sellammal, he says, worked as a sanitation worker at a private school and lived on her earning till her last days. He recalls his grandmother’s occasional advice not to indulge in liquor and look after the family. He couldn’t pay his last respects when Sellammal passed away due to paucity of funds to travel from Delhi to his hometown. From the ‘monument of love’ Muthukrishnan writes: “In Taj Mahal, without girlfriend, I was thinking about only my Sellammal Aaya, I actualised My sellamma is my soul.”


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 1:06:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/stories-of-struggle-on-muthukrishnans-facebook-wall/article17460771.ece

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