India Fatal Fires of Protest

Why Singh's decision to improve the lot of lower-caste members has driven so many Indians to commit suicide

Rajiv Goswami, 20, does not have the obvious makings of a hero. His father is a postmaster, and he grew up with six doting sisters in a typically middle- class family belonging to the Brahmin caste, the highest in the Hindu social order. At Deshbandhu College in New Delhi, he was a mediocre student, and he hoped to start work as a refrigeration engineer after graduation.

Ramakant Chaturvedi, 26, showed no more tendency toward dramatic self- sacrifice. The son of a political-science teacher, he also came from a middle-class Brahmin family. After finishing college in Bhind, he tried in vain to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!