Published: 16th November 2017
Why is Pa Ranjith angry about a Fine Arts College student who committed suicide three weeks ago? The answer lies in his chilling suicide note
With pressure mounting amid increasing protests from student groups, Minister Ma Foi Pandiarajan said he is willing to reopen an investigation into the suicide. Will it happen?
What could possibly connect Kabali and Kaala director Pa Ranjith and a pretty much unknown Govt Fine Arts student who committed suicide in Vellore three weeks ago? Other than the fact that they studied in the same college, one decade or more apart, the frustration that creeps in when an artist feels that his work is being stifled is something that Ranjith knows all too well. And in the case of Prakash P, the son of a hospital worker at the Vellore GH, that feeling seems to have snuffed out what little life remained in him.
Ranjith recalled to the media how he had faced the same issues during his student days, "I studied in the same college. Even now the college hasn't improved the infrastructure or students' material needs and teaching staff aren't qualified. During my days in this college, I was guided by my seniors. There was no proper theoretical and practical training even during my college days," he said with rage in his voice — the same rage that he had when he spoke out against the deaths of Rohith Vemula and Sasi Kumar.
Suicide note: With his passion towards fine arts, he decided to drop out of BBA degree and joined Government College of Fine Arts
The SFI has been holding a series of protests demanding action against the HOD and Principal who allegedly 'sidelined, insulted and all but pushed' Prakash to commit suicide. Naturally, people like Pa Ranjith and Thirumurugan Gandhi have found themselves on the side of the protestors.
The answer possibly lies in the chilling suicide notes (three of them) and video that Prakash shared before he hung himself on a tree, a little outside Vellore, on October 24.
Not only had Prakash calmly written about what needed to be done with his body after his demise, he had also talked about eye donation, how he would have liked to be laid to rest and also that he had made the video so that his body would be found quickly enough for all this to fall in place quickly.
Here are 8 chilling excerpts from his suicide notes that show how lucid a depressed person can be when they've decided to end it all:
#1 I know that going back to college is of no use. That's why I pretended to be normal to you Appa and Amma. I lied to you that I was going to college but I bunked classes for two weeks and was just roaming around town. You did not know this
#2 I knew what I have to do next, so I decided to finish all the pending work that I had and submitted it. I even managed to finish some work that I had taken on from my friends. It is all done
#3 Gradually, I stopped talking to my friends, even phone calls and text messages were reduced. I don't want them to know about this suicide and depression. I don't want them to get in trouble
#4 I tried buying sleeping pills so that death would be easy but it was a tough job for me to find them, and it was too costly for me to afford, so I decided to hang myself on a tree
#5 All I am worried about is my parents. They had always supported me in terms of my career decisions, even when I decided to drop out of BBA and joined Fine arts. Appa, Amma I want you guys to live with Anna. God will take care of my HoD for what he did to me so don't worry about me
#6 I wanted to tell people about my suicide through Facebook so someone would let my parents know about it. I wrote a 3-page suicide note and I recorded a video and posted it on Facebook and I have mentioned the reasons behind this suicide
#7 I have made separate copies for my parents and I have written everything that I have wanted to tell people before I die. You can identify them with the mobile numbers and details given in the pages below
#8 I want to donate my eyes after death and about the burial procedure I leave it to my parents to decide. Our house owners have been very nice to me so I don't want to burden them with keeping my body there. It can be taken to the GH and the last rites can be done from there directly
'They are not teachers. They are Anti-nationalists'
Social activist Thirumurugan Gandhi and Ranjith indicated that Prakash's death was on the hands of the college and the government because there was no preventive mechanism to keep him safe, "These deaths are not new in this college. In 2010, a student called Sasi Kumar committed suicide inside the campus. if they had taken action and preventive measures. we could have avoided this topper's death," he said. Supporting the view that the HOD was to blame, he added, "This government have been supporting this kind of professor and are protecting them. I don't see them as qualified professors but as anti-nationalists."
Ranjith went as far as to dare the police to step up and do their job, or face the risk of more protests, "It is our duty to bring it to the notice of the government to avoid this kind of issue in the future. According to Prakash's FB video and his suicide note he had clearly stated the reasons for his suicide but still, the government hasn't reacted to it and no further steps have been initiated.I think questions have to be raised against the police department for not taking action against the accused."
Down! Down!: A group of protestors from SFI gathered near Chepauk State guest house with a list of demands to seek justice for his death
Enquiry found that the teachers were not at fault: Ma Foi Pandiarajan
Under mounting pressure, TN Minister for Tamil, Art and Culture, Archaeology and Museums Ma Faoi K Pandiarajan said that he was more than willing to reopen the enquiry if needed. Speaking to Edexlive, he said, "No one from SFI had reached out to me.If the SFI group members want to reopen the enquiry I am willing to initiate the orders immediately."
He also affirmed the fact that the Disciplinary Committee initiated after his suicide had given the professors in question, clean chits, "According to the reports from the college disciplinary committee, we have received good remarks about Professor Ravi Kumar. Even a group of students from the college had said that the boy's comments on the professor are false and exaggerated and the boy had been irregular to college for a while."