The rotten state of IITs

This news comes from the director of IIT Guwahati. Well, not quite rotten, but if you are not literal you will get the gist of the apparition, not to speak of the continuum of illusion. For all the so-called brilliance of those entering the institute, we have a thriving coaching class business that makes them ‘ready’. In a candid disclosure, Gautam Barua says:

On entering the IITs after undergoing excessive coaching, the students are almost burnt-out and mentally fatigued. Then the IITs for them become a place to relax. Coaching is the primary reason that affects the performance of students. A mindset has been created that if they (students) do not opt for coaching, they may not have the chance to get admission to the IITs.

And do these students wish to go to into engineering at all? Remember the film 3 Idiots where the maverick protagonist calls the fiancĂ© of the woman who he will fall in love with a “gadha” (donkey) because, after all the admission to the prime institute, he ended up in a swivel chair? For him everything had a price tag. Mr. Barua’s views express similar sentiments:

IIT has a brand value. Parents and students want to enter IIT without thinking what they will do. So after they graduate from the IITs, many of them don’t go for engineering jobs; they rather go for the finance sector, management or do jobs which have no connection with engineering. We have seen that about half of the students from IITs are really not interested in engineering.

The IITs are creating a brahmanical bubble of being the superior race and the chosen ones. The fact that some of them are grabbed for a few crore rupees’ salary makes news; the rest become certified purple-robed job seekers. Or, they just have that brand on them and think they can do anything and be certain that with the campus story to back them they are worth a good deal.

People who join medicine have to shell out capitation fees and are made to feel responsible about how that seat is so important. Do the IITs give that sense of accountability to the students? Obviously not. So, why are they such prized mice in the rat race in other fields? Ah, why is the lady carrying the Ferragamo bag with nothing else to show given a better welcome or the man who alights from a Mercedes offered a stiffer salaam? It is the tag.

We are living in times when this is all that seems to count.

In a rather tragic-comic comment, Mr. Barua states:

It is time for the government to create IIT-like institutions in the field of humanities. Let there be IIT-like institutions in economics, philosophy and other fields of humanities, with IIT-like campuses and branding. Then it will no longer be necessary for students to get admitted to IITs and later join non-engineering jobs.

I really do not think we need this sort of tagged legitimacy to move around like dogs with collars. Many universities in any case have ‘names’ and cater to some sort of elitism, whether monetary or intellectual, the latter an iffy word because the purity of such intellectualism is largely diminished if they make puppy eyes about being Stephanians or leave scruffy ideological paw marks about JNU. Where is the individualism?

There was a time when we worried about students being spoonfed. Now, with technology and the availability of information within seconds, the term has taken on different connotations. The IIT person is assumed to be prepared for anything. A bit strange that one who might have been a cordon bleu chef chooses to stand at the buffet table. The only difference is that someone is there to carry the plate.

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"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (From Hamlet. Marcellus to Horatio, after Hamlet follows his father's ghost)


  1. Perfect observations.

    Students who are not interested in engineering whatsoever, take to the discipline just because of brand value and peer pressure. People of India must get wiser and start recognizing talent in every field, as was the case 100 years ago.

  2. Thank you. Recognising talent in every field can also come about if we look beyond five professions and, more important, do not make the 'unusual' ones only for their newness, that may not always translate into great ability.


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