Tuesday, 11 April 2023 | 17:30 to 20:00 EDT | Room 280N, Second Floor, York Lanes, York University
We Have Not Come Here To Die powerfully chronicles how a Dalit student and activist is driven to suicide after years of harassment and discrimination by both his university administration and right-wing Hindu supremacists. What transpired after was a moment of solidarity across the country, uniting mothers, student activists, and numerous marginalized groups. To this day, this movement is strong, and both actions and discourse to fight against these discriminations continue. The tensions between race and caste among India’s many ethno/religious communities have also been felt heavily in Canada, as Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) groups continue to mobilize here in the diaspora. By screening this film, we hope to add nuance and urgency to the conversations around caste in Canada, in light of the rise of Hindu supremacy on this side of the ocean.
This in-person event is moderated by: Yasir Hameed (Environmental Studies).
Film Synopsis: Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD research scholar and activist at University of Hyderabad who was persecuted by the university administration and Hindu supremacists, died of suicide on 17 January 2016. His suicide note, which argued against the “value of a man being reduced to his immediate identity” galvanized student politics and solidarity movements. The ensuing outrage gave rise to protests across India, calling the neglectful treatment and systemic oppression faced by Dalit people into question, and encouraging solidarity with minority groups facing similar discrimination from Hindu nationalists, students, administration and aligned governing authorities (110 minutes, India, 2018)
Deepa Dhanraj is a writer and award-winning filmmaker based in Bangalore, South India. She has been actively involved with the women’s movement, with a focus on political participation, health, and education, since 1980. Deepa has taught video to women activists from Southeast Asia and regularly lectures on media theory in both academic and public settings across India. She was one of the lead researchers on a multi-centered research study, ‘Minority Women Negotiating Citizenship.’ Deepa is also the founder of Bangalore-based filmmaking collective Yugantar, an organisation that produced films about women’s labour and domestic conditions in Southern India. In addition to her extensive work on women’s rights, her activism also extends to issues related to education, particularly problems faced by children who are first generation learners.
This event is presented by SADAN—South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network-Canada and the York Centre for Asian Research.