Not long has it been to Rohith Vemula’s suicide, attempted under pressures of being a Dalit, has Mahesh Balmiki, an IIT – BHU (Banaras Hindu University) student, survived Vemula’s shellshock.Pursuing B.Tech in mining and belonging to a poverty stricken background, repaying a loan of Rs. 2.70 lacs, undertaken for studies, was a nightmare to the family. Compounded by the fact that he was often ill, looking for someone to buy his kidneys was the only possible option that he could see. Unfortunately, it was his caste that rejected the proposal of the purchase, it caste repelled the benefits.
Degrading the situation further, the boy who received immense appreciation from his teachers had to leave his studies midway and opt for a sweeper’s job in his village, earning Rs. 4000 a month. Struggling with incompetence of his circumstances, he wished to suicide. Sandeep Pandey, a social activist and Magsaysay award winner, came to Mahesh’s rescue. Pandey collected money from BHU alumni and paid off Mahesh’s loan in order to bless him with a smooth academic life.
Despite paying off his loan, Mahesh still works as a cleaner to survive. As reported to TOI, Mahesh stated that a number of 5 hospitals in Varanasi and Alwar informed him that his kidneys won’t be accepted because of his caste.Coming from Gootasapura village in Alwar, the 19 year old boy is second among his three brothers. A family with a paralyzed father, the income comes in by the elder son and their mother who works as a house maid.
Having scored a brilliant number in high school, Mahesh secured the top ranks in IIT entrance test and got a seat in IIT- BHU, yet the prolonged illness subjected him to work at a degraded level. Pandey came as a godsend to Mahesh’s life and made it possible for him to escape Vemula’s fate.
( * With inputs from TNN)