By Edict Staff
On 28 September 2022, the Vice-Chancellor sent an email to the entire student body informing them of the unfortunate death of a student. This was a follow-up to an email sent by the Dean of Student Affairs a day earlier asking about his whereabouts when he didn’t return to campus for a few days. However, some hours later the police confirmed that he had taken his own life.
The Ashokan community gathered in mourning on the 28th evening to remember his life, one which had impacted several. The Edict reached out to some of these people, and this is what they had to say.
Professor Rajendra Bhatia, who teaches Mathematics at Ashoka, said, “I first met him online when in the Monsoon of 2021 he took my course on Linear Algebra and Matrix Analysis. He was then a second-year student and this was a third-year course. Soon it became clear that he was at the top of the class, doing all the assignments----some of them hard, answering and asking questions”. He was so impressed by him that when classes resumed he asked the student to meet him, but the latter never showed up. He also didn't go to a farewell party that had been organized for the outgoing Mathematics students. “So, I missed seeing him. It became clear that he was shy and withdrawn,” he continues.
However, to his joy, he was teaching the student a course this semester as well. He recalls, “The week before the semester began I invited him to see me. He came and we chatted for some time. I told him he was ahead of most of his fellow students in his mathematical abilities. When the course began, he was an active and enthusiastic participant. When a question was asked, he would raise his hand, and proceed to answer. He was one of those students because of whom you raise the level of your teaching. There was no inkling that he was unhappy or depressed. I, and my colleagues, were looking forward to grooming him into becoming a successful mathematician.”
Professor Krishna Maddaly remembers that teaching him was quite satisfying. He says that his best interaction with the third-year was when “he challenged me on my answer to a question and it turned out that I was wrong and he was correct”. Recalling some of his best qualities he said that “he was punctual, was almost always the first to join the online classes and was the last to leave (I guess he did not want to miss even a single word of the class).” Professor Maddaly said that if there was something he could tell him, it would be that “talk to me about anything you want to. I had this chance and I said this to him but to no avail”.
Kumarjit Saha, also a Mathematics Professor, said that he first “met with the student for the first time during this semester only.” Acknowledging the gift he held, he further added, “He used to work with his laptop a lot during lectures, and later I realized, while doing that, he was taking note of important points from the lecture. After receiving the first problem set (which was not homework or assignment), the student typed and sent me the solution in less than two hours”.
“Somehow, during his cremation, I felt that he passed away very lonely. I don't know how to express it but that is the saddest part for me. Still, we have some bright memories about him and I hope he will live forever through these memories”. Professor Saha’s words are one’s to live by.
The name of the student has been omitted for privacy reasons.