A fortnight ago, I read an article in the TOI, that the JEE cut-offs had been reduced to single-digits. Possibly, this might be because of the increase in the total intake, due to the ‘establishment’ of new IITs.

I would like to put forth, two issues, not quite related to each other except that they deal with IITs and IITians.

Firstly, the government policies are strongly detrimental to the growth education in India. Politicians allow reservations in order to preserve their vote banks. Regarding the IITs, there was an act of the Parliament that 30% seats for the OBCs would be made available per branch per IIT. The implementation would be carried over a period of 3 years, 10% increase every year. What no one realises is that an IIT with say 10 hostels would obviously now need 13 hostels. But no one seems to be bothered about constructing new hostels. The new IITs established by the honourable HRD ministry of India are just on paper, at least, as on today 09.09.09; as an example, IIT Gandhinagar is being run at IITB and similarly other ‘IITs’ are being run at other older IITs. So the total burden of an entire IIT is being borne by the older IITs. There is a severe dearth of good faculty for these newly established IITs. This results in incapable persons trying to get into the teaching business by showing off their ‘research papers’ published in spurious (mathematics) journals such as the “Antarctica Journal of Mathematics” at Guntur, AP. I am not sure, but I think, there was a move of having a quota for professorship at the elite institutes. God, save India!

My second issue deals with the so-called IITians. In this aspect, I think, the US is better than us. As Indians, we are told to achieve as much as we can, and perhaps even more! Engineering and medicine seem to be the only respected jobs here. Doing anything else means that you are a stigma to the human race. Naturally, there is a cut-throat competition to enter the IITs; whether you wish to be an engineer has nothing to do with it! People slog for years in mugging up those indefinite integrals and redox reactions only to realise that this is not what they have wanted to be. Most of the times, this is in the second or third year of engineering. There is a popular joke on this:
An engineering student’s mind in each year of his BTech:
F.E. (First year of Engg) – Fond of Engineering
S.E. – Sick of Engineering
T.E. – Tired of engineering
B.E. – Balls to engineering!

It comes as no surprise that most IITians are not at all interested in engineering. In fact, there are so many extra-curricular activities cropping up all the time like the Mood-I, hostel matches, GC, the famous (or notorious) IIT LAN, Techfest, freshies’ night, some singer’s live performance, inter-IIT selection, … that there is hardly any time and energy left for the curricular activities. No wonder, IITians have rarely contributed anything, worth the government money spent in breeding them, to the society. An IITian, if at all, focuses on getting into good management colleges or going to the US in the attempt of getting the H1 visa. Both, money-making measures. A taxpayer’s money was never better wasted.

I believe that the NITs (National Institutes of Technology) are faring much better. Resources given to these institutes are limited and so are the students’ resources. (I recollect Shashank going all the way to the department just to get the datasheet of an IC, because internet was not available in the hostels) Yet, the students there (as much as I have seen) turn out to be better engineers. (May be, the best NITian cannot beat the best IITian; but I am talking of density of performers here.) So, if at all, I earn so much as to be able to donate some amount to the infrastructure of some engineering institute, I’d happily enrich my BTech college rather than my MSc.