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True to his name, ‘Bhim’ set to join Oxford against all odds

True to his name, ‘Bhim’ set to join Oxford against all odds

CHENNAI: Standing true to his name, M Bhimraj, a 28-year-old PhD scholar from Vyasarpadi in Chennai had to fight against various discrimination while pursuing his course at South Asian University. Bhim, who belongs to Dalit community after being expelled from the university in December 2022, applied for a PhD degree with Oxford University.

After being accepted in March, he is currently preparing to join the university in September this year.

Bhim after completing his law degree from Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar University in 2017, joined the South Asian University for master in laws, where he worked on caste discriminations addressed in international law.

Subsequently, he joined Phd in the same university on environmental justice analysis of solid waste management in India, with particular reference to Chennai.

Bhim’s journey till Oxford is not an easy one and in an interaction with DT NEXT, Bhimraj narrates the ordeal at the university, casteist slurs thrown at him for crowdfunding to join Oxford and considering suicide at his weakest moments.

Bhim at the South Asian University was allegedly targeted for indulging in a series of protests against the management.

It began in 2021, when he spoke up against the management depriving him of his stipend of Rs 38,400.

Additionally, he claims he was also deprived of stipend from the institute.

Besides which, in the following year, Bhim also protested against a supervior’s harassment towards another scholar and lastly against management’s inaction regarding demands made by scholars.

Following this, Bhim and a few of his friends were allegedly targeted and suspended from the university for different duration.

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Ultimately, Bhim was expelled from the institute in December 2022, forcing him to find another means to pursue his education.

“There is no doubt I was subjected to various kinds of mental torture by the management. Besides this, I was also discriminated against on the basis of caste, “he said.

Bhim says that when the students at the university were speaking against the management’s action, Bhim was specifically barred from speaking on the mike and sharing his thoughts.

Additionally, he said that he was also stopped from sitting on a chair during a discussion with the senior faculty at the South Asian University.

“Due to an extend of torture at the university, I was pushed to depression, ultimately also considering suicide. But, honestly, as I am not courageous enough to kill myself, I saved me, “says Bhim.

He also goes on to add that he watched several documentaries on ‘death by merit’ to grasp the mental agony one could go through such discrimination. “While considering for suicide, I watched several videos to understand if my death will bring the attention it should. Those moments were truly depressing and I am grateful that I crossed over, “he said.

Adding to this trauma, Bhim was also subjected to casteist slurs online, while crowd funding for his PhD course in Oxford.

Some of the casteist comments Bhim received online read; toilet cleaner, if any reservation and free education at Oxford, begging is in the blood, begging in the name of Ambedkar and online beggars.

However, Bhim pointed out that South Asian University has no reservation and he secured first in the entrance exam.

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“I was selected on the basis of my merit everywhere, unlike most people’s opinion online,” he noted.

  • June 25, 2023