Rohith Vemula was born on 30 Jan 1989. He committed suicide on 17 Jan 2016. He was a student. He was 27 years old.
Lieutenant Umer Fayaz was born on 08 Jun 1994. He was shot dead by terrorists on 10 May 2017. He was an Army officer. He was 23 years old.
Rohith’s death was mourned by politicians, human rights activists and other similar people and organisations. Awards were returned, candle light vigils were organized, and the issue was even raised in the UN Human Rights Council. The bereaved mother was visited by politicians of all hues and colours and by the media honchos.
Umer’s death was mourned by his brothers in uniform and by his immediate family. Period. No candle light vigils, no political slugfests, no tears. No one from the political establishment attended the funeral. Why should they? Wouldn’t their precious lives be at risk if they ventured into those areas?
A nation gets the heroes it deserves. Rohith Vemula was a hero. Umer Fayaz was just a statistic. Like countless others who have laid down their lives for the country.
And the country does not care.
But we, who are proudly wearing the uniform or have worn it in the past, do care. We are proud of you, little brother. Rest in Peace in the Valhalla of the Brave.