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Fathima Latheef: Public Memory Versus Memory of The Margin

The memory gives plenitude of potential to threat the very foundations of Brahmin public sphere. Memory shall erupt as rupture.

Fathima Latheef| The Companion

Memory is often a construct. There are many factors influencing the popular memory such as movies, news papers, textbooks and so on. One best example for such construct is around the imageries of B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi. Gandhian stories, his contribution to independence struggle as well as his death remain as a legendary history. While Ambedkar remains as mere constitutionalist. Ambedkar as an intellectual, wonderful mind and the one who questioned caste from the very foundations is never known, celebrated or is under a veil. Power structures, more precisely Brahmanic forces try hard to obscure the visibility of Ambedkar in order to prevent the so-called turbulence in Public Sphere.

Fathima Latheef, a student of IIT Madras, from the very moment of her martyrdom has been veiled or her visibility being denied. An institutional killing has been merely narrowed down in to a case of suicide due to academic pressure. Fathima with her brilliant academic records had questioned the same simple narratives. Why her cause of death is obscured? Why a country couldn’t erupt to a massive protest? If it is not Islamophobia, then what?

This question strangles my mind as a student for past one year. Fathima is still out of popular memory after the few moments of death. In other words, she is somewhere in the Brahmanic archives of killings of Muslim bodies. Being in a predominantly Brahmanic academic space with the brilliance was the first mistake every Muslim like Fathima could commit and Brahmanism will take away your life and erase you out of the memory. This act of omission limit our deaths in to the realm of sacredness.

Fathima left a note to this world, where she clearly mentions name of a professor and the problems of her existence being a Muslim girl and discrimination on her Muslim body. Her note could not find a value beyond the procedural of a suicide note. The potential questions raised throughout her living experiences were erased in the very first moment. Many defined it as her academic inability to withstand the pressure. It was by any means the second brutal killing in the public sphere after Rohith Vemula in recent past. Oh! What else could you expect from Brahminic state or Nation?

Fathima is the question of justice. How minorities in the country are being treated in the higher institutions. Thus the fights for Fatima and Rohith and many to count, who are no longer here, are a struggle for all of us. While the authorities are trying hard to erase these bahujan lives from the memories, they are unable to do so because of the suicide notes left by them. It is a delusion that the subject can be reduced to arguments that suicide is caused by stress and a lack of social interaction.

There were even those who fabricated stories around the date of “November 8th” chosen to commit suicide. The underlying strategy was to portray suicides as a phenomenon created by a virtual conflict and bring the burden of death to themselves. But their suicide notes are able to compose something stronger than such narratives. Thousands of people vow to become another Fatima and Rohith every time they return to their last words.

Whatever the mainstream narrative, there shall be a day when Fathima erupt as a thunderstorm on Brahminic Public Sphere. Her note shall be raised as the foundation to jeopardize many similar narratives. A memory of margin deeply rooted with injustice against discriminated minority of the nation before and after the death. The memory gives plenitude of potential to threat the very foundations of Brahmin public sphere. Memory shall erupt as rupture.

Our sincere Dua (prayers) for you, that you lived in the margins as a hero. You are one of the few who lives among us through death.