Odisha-based Dalit music rapper and anti-caste activist Sumeet Samos on Tuesday raised over Rs 27 lakhs on a crowdfunding platform towards his tuition fees at UK’s prestigious Oxford University.
Sumeet’s application for MSc in Modern South Asian Studies in Oxford University was accepted in March this year. He sought several central and state-funded scholarships, including National Overseas Scholarship, but failed.
On Tuesday, he took to his social media account to start the fundraiser, citing several failed attempts at seeking scholarships and grants. The fundraiser, posted on crowdfunding platform Milaap, saw an overwhelming response as Sumeet received over 27 lakhs in a record three-hour time.
In a statement, Sumeet wrote: “I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love people have given me. Some have been words of encouragement and some others have been able to send some money. Now that my course fees are covered in less than three hours, I am relieved that my seat will not be taken back.”
Anti-caste activists across social media came together to spread the word with #SumeetToOxford.
Another 10 lakh was raised after his tuition fee was covered before Sumeet stopped the fundraiser. “This means a lot and I will definitely make this opportunity count,” he said.
A staggering 37,17, 905 rupees were raised from 1,575 supporters in less than a day, towards Sumeet’s education at Oxford.
About Sumeet Samos
Born into a Dalit Christian family in Koraput district of Odisha, Sumeet completed his post graduation from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
Sumeet has been a part of the music scene since 2018, since his debut single Ladai Seekh Le was released, wherein he narrates his own experience of caste discrimination.
The lyrics of his first-release go: Aadhi Raat Azaadi Foonkati Chhappar Teri Bastiyon Mein” (At midnight, the freedom burns down the huts in our neighborhood); in which Sumeet Samos narrated, figuratively, what happened in Laxmanpur Bathe, Bihar in 1997 when Ranvir Sena killed 58 Dalits at midnight.
He has since then put out a steady stream of hard-hitting tracks, speaking of localized histories and incidents, and cases that make national headlines, as well as the everyday violence that people from DBA (Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi) communities continue to face in the country.
Besides Ladai Seekh Le, his other famous single is Jaati, released in 2020. The underlying question in the hard-hitting track is: When, in India, will Dalit lives finally matter?