Trigger Warning: Suicide
The institutional murder of Aishwarya Reddy, a second-year, Mathematics department student from the so-called prestigious Lady Shri Ram College for women
Aishwarya Reddy was a brilliant student. She got admission in LSR through merit and was pursuing her second year B.Sc. (Hons) in Mathematics. A 19-year-old girl who was the pride of her village (Shadnagar, Telangana), she was the first person from her village to get admission in Delhi university’s topmost college, said her mother in a press invitation. The catastrophic institutional murder of one of our own has left the entire student body in a state of trauma and rage.
Aishwarya’s parents mortgaged their home in Telangana, pledged gold jewels for their daughter’s education.
She was worried about the financial status of her family, everything was falling apart for her. She was supposed to get the INSPIRE scholarship in March 2020 but due to the pandemic, the erudition money couldn’t reach her. It was becoming challenging for her to attend online classes due to the lack of resources (a laptop and proper internet connection), Aishwarya couldn’t submit her internal assignments and got 0 marks in her practical subjects.
Her family was willing to do everything they could for their daughter, her younger sister even dropped out of the school so her elder sister could study. All of this led Aishwarya to think that she was nothing less than a burden on her family. While everything was going wrong for Aishwarya, LSR decided to take away the roof off her head, the roof she earned and worked hard for.
All first-year students had signed an agreement to evacuate their hostel rooms after they got promoted to the second year. Aishwarya was planning to come to Delhi to vacate the room all of this during a global pandemic, during the time of worst economic downturn, during a time when her parents did not even have the money to buy her a train ticket to Delhi. Aishwarya did not give up too easily, she even wrote a mail to the Bollywood actor Sonu Sood after knowing his initiative to offer a scholarship to students.
We can only imagine the happiness she felt when she got admission in LSR, little did she know that LSR is going to be the deathbed for her.
Education is a right, not a privilege, it is high time that the institutions responsible for her death are held accountable.
How many students are supposed to die before the government releases the scholarships? How many suicides are needed for the institutions to realise their responsibility? We will not tolerate this, we will continue to demand a higher level of professionalism, democratic behaviour and responsibility or we will continue to take appropriate action. We will not stop, we shall rise, for Aishwarya.
This is an institutional murder, not a suicide. Rise in Power, Aishwarya Reddy.