from shadows to the stars

“Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and done. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than
being alive. ‘From shadows to the stars.’”

This is an excerpt from Rohith Vemula’s suicide letter. Rohith killed himself due to the
institutional harassment he faced for being a vocal and politically active Dalit student. The state tried to and succeeded in suppressing many of them.

Among the events the state suppressed was a candlelight vigil organised for him in
Delhi. Attending this vigil, I started recording some sounds and ended up making a filmic piece, Special Service. This article is a reflection on making the work, contextualising it with the sequence of events around it.