Published: 04th September 2020
You're taking undue advantage of your caste: Kolkata student attacks Adivasi prof with shocking casteist remarks on Facebook
Dr Maroona Murmu has been trolled incessantly on social media after the incident two days ago. However, she has been receiving support from students' communities across the country
An Associate Professor from Kolkata's Jadavpur University was attacked on social media recently when a student of the Bengali department in Bethune College has spoken of her Santhali adivasi heritage in what is being described as the vilest of terms. Dr Maroona Murmu, who is an Associate Professor of History at Jadavpur University posted on her Facebook wall on Wednesday expressing her opinion on the government's decision to conduct exams across the country despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Professor Murmu wrote about whether exams should be held during the COVID-19 crisis this year or not and how students' lives are being put at risk. "A year's loss is not worth sacrificing your entire life," her post added. Responding to this, in the comments section, the Bethune College student wrote, "It's not about losing one year but about how some unqualified people are taking undue advantage of the reservation system and their caste is now helping them be successful rendering the others jobless. Our parents are stepping out, taking a risk every day, while you are sitting at home and getting paid for doing nothing. I ask you this as a student."
Soon after this, professor Murmu has been facing incessant trolling on social media for the past two days. An Adivasi, her ability to teach has been questioned repeatedly. "I don't even know her, I had expressed my opinion on something that is being debated across the country. She did not comment anything on that matter but went to comment on my identity and how reservation gets us jobs but we do not deserve those or have the ability to teach. My question is can I not say anything about an ongoing matter? So, every time I express an opinion people will pull up my surname and rebuke me for being an Adivasi?" asks the professor.
She tells us that later on, the student had also put up other posts on her wall which she was unable to access as she had already blocked her, although she was never in her friend list. "My friend forwarded what has been going on for the past two days. I have been extremely disturbed by this and haven't been able to concentrate on my online classes and regular work. Trolls are in trend these days and they make your life hell on social media. A senior teacher at Bethune College had put up a post in solidarity but she had to take it down because of trolls. She is not used to such a massive amount of hate on a daily basis, which sadly is our reality. I have spoken publicly about casteist and anti-adivasi violence in the past, I have written about the atrocities faced by communities like ours numerous times. My ability to teach has been questioned every single time. The students' community has also extended solidarity and I am glad that the youth at least seems to be in the right direction," professor Murmu told Edex. Support has been pouring in from students' communities, teachers across the country on social media for the professor and for what she has faced.
The Bethune College Students' Committee on Thursday released a statement in solidarity with the professor. "It is extremely disheartening and condemnable that a student of our college is still unaware of caste dynamics in India and the need for reservations for the underprivileged. The incident in question is extremely shameful and has brought the institution into disrepute. Therefore, on behalf of the students of Bethune College, the students' committee here unequivocally condemns the student and resolves to stand by Dr Maroona Murmu and the struggles of all Dalits in our campus, state, and country. We are in the process of investigating the matter further with the goal of creating a safer environment in college," they wrote.