Rohith Vemula’s suicide: This is what Carl Sagan’s wife had to say about his death

Carl Sagan's wife Ann Druyan has reacted to Rohith Vemula's suicide. This is what she had to say.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 1, 2016 1:59 pm
rohith vemula, university of hyderabad, demands met, classes begin from monday, protest continues, rohith vemula suicide case Rohith’s body was found hanging from a fan at the Hyderabad Central University on 17 January. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal )

“I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.”

These were the last words of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit PhD scholar who committed suicide last month. His suicide note, where he refused to hold anyone responsible for his death, showed his immense love for science and an aspiration to be a writer, like cosmologist and astrophysicist Carl.

Watch video: Delhi Police’s brutality on protesting students outside RSS head quarters 

With Rohith mentioning the astronomer in his suicide note, Rajeev Ramachandran, a journalist at MediaoneTV, thought of writing to Carl’s wife Ann Druyan seeking her response to the protests that are currently underway following Rohith’s suicide. He posted her response on his Facebook page.

In her reply, she said:

Dear Rajeev Ramachandran,

Deeply grateful to you for writing to me about Rohit Vimula, whose death and lost promise I mourn.

To read his suicide note and to learn the details of his predicament is to get a vivid inkling of the actual cost of bias to our civilization. If we could somehow quantify the totality of lost contributions and innovations as a result of prejudice, I believe we would find it staggering.

You tell me, Rajeev: Is it possible that the attention paid to Rohit’s story will lessen its chronic repetition? I am trying to find something hopeful in an otherwise heartbreaking example of needless suffering and squandered potential.



Track the latest developments in the suicide case, and the on-going protests, here.

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  1. Shiva Doesit
    Aug 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm
    565 days.. where is justice?
    1. M
      Feb 1, 2016 at 7:21 am
      There is no "scientific" courage in suicide of a scholar (uming a scholar require to be an adult at the very least)! Science require courage and not one that gives up before his or her time comes! Glorifying a looser or showing sympathy would set a bad precedent. Sorry Rohith, you should have ried something different to make your point!
      1. R
        Feb 1, 2016 at 6:34 am
        Very good response from Mrs Sagan. I do hope we recognize Mr Vermula's action as a plea for action against prejudice and caste-ism. We can't lose bright PhD students - need to nurture these promising youth who can bring about a better tomorrow for India.
        1. Ashish Biswas
          Feb 1, 2016 at 9:03 am
          Scholars do not commit suicide unless of course Rohit was less than scholar.
          1. T
            Feb 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm
            Those RSS/BJP radicals who celebrate the first Bhagwa terrorist of India The Godse as Shaurya Divas, literally or practically have no right to raise fingers on ROHITH VEMULA. Why was the BJP government quiet on January 30, 2016 when a bunch of Bhagwa Radicals were celebrating as this terrorist inated hi ji in a brutal manner in INDEPENDENT India. Those Chaddis who were chanting the GODSE MANTRA on "SHAHEED DIVAS of hi* should first commit suicide in shame of their ideny. Undoubtedly their forefathers would have offered the disgraceful MUKHAGNI to Godse and were also present their when his bones were being dumped into the river.
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