Anitha was a 17-year old dalit girl, daughter of a daily wage labourer, from Ariyalur district, Tamil Nadu (TN) dreamt of becoming a doctor after her mother died of lack of medical treatment 10 years ago. She killed herself on 1st of September afternoon after she lost her medical seat due to National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) exam, in spite of getting very good marks in state board exams (1176 out of 1200). She would have got admission easily if it would have been based on the Plus Two examination marks as until last year in TN. She took part in the fight against NEET and had impleaded herself as one of the respondents in a Supreme Court case challenging NEET in TN.
Though the Central government introduced NEET last year, TN was exempted from it. However, it got reintroduced after betrayal of the Central govt., State govt. and the Supreme Court. This step has made the admission tougher for the downtrodden sections as most of them are from state board schools and the NEET exam is based on CBSE syllabus. If we look at the numbers, Maharashra board alone has more Class 12 students than the all-India strength of the CBSE. Researchers from IISc showed that students of many state board performed better than CBSE students in science subjects (Current Science, 2009). Still, CBSE syllabus “pattern” has become the standard, which benefits the minority well-to-do, urban, largely upper-caste Hindu males from Hindi-speaking areas studying in Delhi-headquartered school boards. Now the question arises, is NEET part of the RSS-BJP’s agenda of Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan, the agenda of complete centralization?
After introduction of NEET in TN, where the state board biology syllabus is about 70% different from that of the CBSE, only the rich elites who can spend lakhs of rupees at coaching centers can now enter the medical education. India signed the WTO-GATS agreement in 1995, and after that, it has become the responsibility of the govt. to open the sectors like education and health for profiteering to the foreign and domestic corporates. The NEET is just a cruel symptom of a larger disease, the commodification of the higher education, which is spreading throughout the Indian education system.
While the Brahminical hindutva ideology of the RSS-BJP has caused the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the anti-people agenda of the government (both central and state) has killed Anitha. In Anitha‟s own words, “When nobody gets equal opportunities, who are they deceiving by saying single exam for all..?.” To initiate movements against the filtering exams such as NEET, which are brought in the interest of corporates and those who deny the social justice, will be the best way to pay homage for Anitha! And only by initiating movements against these bhraminical-feudal-hindutva forces we can make sure that we do not lose another bright star like Rohith or Anitha.