Skip to main content

RIP Jayesh Jeeviben Solanki, whom nobody seemed to care when he was alive

By Rajiv Shah 
Last month-end, a Dalit poet, Jayesh Jeeviben Solanki, passed away. I learned this from Facebook. Innumerable FB friends, including Gujarat’s topmost Dalit rights politician Jignesh Mevani, who won as an independent MLA with Congress support, paid glowing tributes to Jayesh. Young, perhaps in his 30s, the very name suggests that he wanted to proclaim himself to be: that he is not a patriarch. The middle name is Jeeviben, which, I think, should be his mother’s (he wasn’t married) – unusual, as in Gujarat’s patriarchal tradition, it’s a tradition to put father’s name in the middle. 
Be that as it may, as I didn’t know Jayesh personally, and had perhaps never met him, I decided to look up if there was any news about him. I didn’t know how he died. I wondered, whether he succumbed to the cruel pandemic, nothing unusual in the Covid times. None of the initial FB posts would say how he passed way, what disease was he suffering from, and so on. I scanned through several Gujarati sites, including those controlled by top papers Gujarat Samachar and Sandesh, but none had any news about Jayesh. I wondered: If was such a good poet, why was he ignored?
I contacted a couple of journalists, and they told me they didn’t think he was such an important (or influential would be the proper work) poet that would make a news out of his death. So, I decided to contact those whom I thought were common friends of Jayesh. It is then that, shockingly, I came to know that he had committed suicide. I even asked a journalist friend to write about Jayesh and his poems, or get a writeup on him, for Counterview, but nothing happened. Perhaps, journalist-employees working in big corporate media think we are not important enough!   
While I have never read his poems (I am not an avid reader of Gujarati literary works, though sometimes I do scan through, randomly, some of the writeups), I wondered, why should a person, variously described as an excellent Dalit poet, commit suicide? Finally, I read one FB post – which, while paying glowing tributes to Jayesh, went so far as to compare his suicide with that of Dalit rights leader Rohith Vemula, who was a student of the Hyderabad Central University.
It sounded strange to me, as unlike Vemula, Jayesh wasn’t, apparently, involved in any major Dalit protests which would have put him in direct confrontation with the state apparatus, leading to his suicide. So, I decided to ring up some friends to find out exactly why was he forced to commit suicide. The general answer that I got was, he “had gone into depression”. Reason? I was told, he had “no work.” The result was, he would “drink a lot” to overcome his “depression.” In fact, someone even said, “He was adamant not to accept any job offered by a private company.”
I didn’t understand the logic, so I decided to dig a little more: I was told, though a good poet, he wasn’t much educated; at one point he “worked as a manual worker”, but lately he had even stopped doing that; he “knew” most Dalit rights leaders and civil society activists across Gujarat, including Mevani, with whom he went right up to Una as his comrade-in-arm – the “historic” Ahmedabad to Una march to protest against chaining and beating up of four Dalit boys in broad daylight – yet “none seemed to take care of him”, and so on and so forth.
All this made Jayesh “extremely bitter”, I was told. One of his friends told me, “His poems reflected his bitter feelings about civil society, even Dalit leaders, and in personal talks with any and everyone he wouldn’t hide his anger. The result was, those whom he criticised, sort of, left him in the lurch, never talked to him, and he found himself increasingly isolated, leading to his extreme step.” Terrible, I thought. 
Yet, ironically, if the information I receive is correct, there wasn’t any police inquiry into his suicide. In fact, on October 30, 2020 a Besna (gathering in memory of the departed soul) also took place, unusual in Covid times.

Comments

Natubhai Parmar said…
Gone through.RIP Jayesh.

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.