An open letter to IIT undergraduates

Your IITian-ness,

You may or may not be conscious of it, but your appetite for comparison and self-congratulation if not narcissism is colossal.

I understand that success in competitive examinations boosts one’s confidence and increases one’s pride in one’s abilities. If such a pride drives you to hone your intellectual abilities, technical capabilities and professional skills further — so you can be among the best in your game — then anyone can hardly have anything against it. It is good to be proud of oneself, for people who do not feel proud of themselves often feel miserable and easily give into self-hatred. Self-hatred is not only an inimical personal trait, it can hardly contribute anything meaningful to society. You must preserve the pride, at times even if it is misplaced, for it is not easy to feel proud in this country.

But for some of you, the success in a competition is nothing less than a certificate of being a superior life form: a certificate of that your thing is bigger than mine. This is irritating. The brand which you call ‘IITians’ and wear it like your last name is nothing less than a caste like Brahmin for it forms a caste-like hierarchy — based on merit than purity — and it makes you speak of yourself in superlatives.

My experiences in IIT Bombay tell me that as far as engineering is concerned, average among you is better than the average among us. And I concede that our jerks are bigger jerks than your jerks. But is it too hard to see, your IITian-ness, that your finest are nowhere near to our finest? You have not produced your equivalents or near-equivalents of a Bose, a Raman, a Saha, a Vishveshvarraya, an Andre Beteille, a Sainath, a Ramachardra Guha, an Irawati Karve, a Kalam , a CNR Rao. And if you are among those who prefer greenbacks over gray-cells (like most of us), then look at the number of richest people in India (you can refer to Forbes list). Compute the ratio or non-IITian and IITians. It must not be hard for you. You rule among the averages and we rule at the extremes at both ends. Moreover, we don’t look for friendly support from fellow caste members (IITians) to build a life for ourselves.

I hope you’ll give it a serious thought before you go around next time comparing your penis with mine. Have fun comparing with each others.

Wishing you a meaningful and productive life [abroad].

Dilawar

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Author: Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

24 thoughts on “An open letter to IIT undergraduates”

  1. Look who is speaking…. a loser ! First become a Bose, a Raman, a Saha, a Beteille, a Sainath, a Ramachardra Guha, an Irawati Karve, a Kalam, a CNR Rao(yes I copy-pasted) and then speak. By the way did I mention the links for Bose and Kalam are wrong. Moreover, IITs did not exist in times of Bose and Raman. Time to do some google old man.

    I expected you to give examples of some great technologists or engineers, when you are talking about Indian Institute of TECHNOLOGY’s undergraduates . Historians, Journalists, Scinetists, wtf man??

    I wont argue with you, because some good man said, “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, else I would have given the extremeties IITs have produced.

    Regards,
    Disclaimer : Email Id given below is fake, as I dont want to mangle with a loser. Moreover, I am not an IITian, just have know some pretty great IITians.

    1. Fixed the links and added one adjective so that you can see the merit of ‘equivalent’ rather than ‘exact’. Besides they don’t go gaga over their engineers, they always romanticise their Silicon Valley chaps. They themselves can not spell out their top ten engineers. And surely don’t expect a wannabe like you to list out even one or two names. You can keep your hidden list with yourself.

      Among engineers, we have the great Vishveshwaraya who can trump them all. One engineer IIT has produced worth the name is Narendra Karmarkar. Even if great engineer exists from IITs then why don’t we have their list on their website? It is also doubtful if the credit goes to IITs or their university from where they have post-graduated. Good universities takes pride in their research scholar and faculty members; that IIT takes pride in their UGs is a statement in itself.

      1. You never do some research before you speak, do you?
        Okay, here you go, if you wanna see:
        Vinod Khosla: Cofounder, and was CEO of sun microsystems once(your blog commen editor sucks man, no way to make words italic or bold!!).

        Romesh Wadwani (IIT-Bombay): chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group.
        (you asked one or two, didn’t you?)

        By the way here is a list you should read
        http://www.sanjeevsinha.com/media/Prominent_IITians.pdf

        You were talking about riches? Count the tech-startups in India and find the ratio of non-iitian startups vs iitan startups. You might get a start by visiting this list : http://www.quora.com/startupsbyiitians.

        They don’t list them on website, because they don’t need to show themselves to fools like you, who are really concerned to write letters to IITians(though they(iitians) will neither care enough to read you dumb letter with un-cited assertions), because they are really frustrated of their experience of not clearing JEE.

        By the way, IITs are expected to produce high quality engineers and they do so. And IIT UG education is not designed for research, for research we have Indian Institute of Science , Indian Statistical Institute , Indian Space Research Organisation ,Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(bet you never have heard of these).

        A free tip for you: Wanna blogging? Do some research first.

    2. Hi Sunny! I quite strongly disagree with your list of startups/prominent figures. The startups by IITians( except Sun Microsystems) are not good AT ALL. When they came and gone remains in oblivion. Compare them to the startups of other world famous persons. That should be enough to shut your stupid mouth.IIT’s SUCK when compared to other GOOD universities.( Stanford,Harvard, MIT to name a few)
      Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, EVEN THE INTERNET( on which you’re bickering) were developed by people NOT from IIT’s.(http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/50_things_that_mit_made)
      The next time when you say that IIT’s have done something good, please seethe above link. I’d bet you won’t assert the greatness of IIT’s.
      Good day, Sir!
      PS: I am the one who posted blow too!

      1. PPS:PS: I am a current IIT UG student. I want to preserve my anonymity so I’d give the rank bracket. My rank in JEE was between 100-200.

    3. I am mechanical engineer ,in cad cam books it is written that this shit invented in MIT that shit invented in MIT,what IIT have invented?did they made another kalam sir or vikrambhai sarabhai

  2. india is a poor country and iit-jee promises a job guarantee that can make middle class guy rich.we should not blame people who are looking for better livelihood.research will become popular and important only when people have better living standards and infrastructure.in the annual budget our finance minister allocates rupees 100 or 200 crore for iisc like institutes cuz they are least bothered about inventions.institutes too are not interested in spending all the amount cuz its useless with such a small amount of money and siphon of certain amount to their personal account.india is a country with individual selfish interests,why to blame only iit-jee guys.iit means high salary job for poor indians and thats the reason people spend all their teenage in coaching centres,inventors don’t spend their teenage in coaching centres but in school or personal labs .

    1. Problem does not look as simple as it seems. Better standard of living need not improve research output. We have a huge middle class which can afford to do research without any worry of livelihood. It is also noteworthy that we produced most of our best scientists when we were relatively much poorer.

      I do not have any problem if IITian opt of works which gives them higher salary (or status). What I find irritating is their narcissism.

      1. You know what, Dilawar, in all honesty, this narcissism is well-warranted.
        But then, it takes an IITian to know what exactly this tag entails. The expectations, the workload, the pressure, the competition, the skill demanded out of us, and so on. There is a lot that IITians have to do, much more than the oh-so-many stupid engineering colleges that are there in India.
        At the end of the day, the hefty pay packages and the narcissism is all well-deserved. We work hard, grind our asses off, and what we get is all proportional to what we work for.
        But then, I suppose you are one of the oh-so-many people who weren’t able to enter any IIT and are just railing at us IITians. Well, go on then. If that makes you feel any better, keep railing and raving and ranting.

        This article, and your follow up comments, all just convey one specific thing – That your thought process is still quite mediocre as far as it comes to understanding IITians. I hope life gives you the chance to understand one.

        Regards,
        An IITian

  3. These so-called IITians are seriously mediocre and overhyped. Another case-in-point of Indian tendency to celebrate mediocrity. I’ve never come to understood why the hell would a nation proud itself on a bunch of engineering graduates who are yet to give any thing worth mentioning to India, leave alone world.

  4. I dont really see what you mean by “You rule among the averages and we rule at the extremes at both ends”. I think it makes no sense really to make such a generalization. And the methodology you suggested for the ratio of rich iitians to non-iitians is pretty flawed. That measure means nothing. You should rather calculate the percentage of iitians who are among the richest ppl and the same for others. (Not that I have any time or enthusiasm to make this computation) But yes I agree that this narcissistic attitude is truly irritating. In fact this attitude seems to be even more prevalent among the ones whose only “achievement” seems to be that they have been to IIT. I am sure you know IIT alumni who will not relate to this kind of an attitude by any stretch of imagination. The only reason that I am writing this reply is that people have always taken up careers which seem lucrative to them (isn’t that also the reason that most indian parents want their children to do engineering and medical?) And we must not attempt to “blame” them for the choices they make. Do students from other colleges make career decisions based on what is good for the country? So I am not really sure why you are confusing 2 different issues by mixing up iit’s contribution with the attitude which a subsection of iitians possess. I find that attitude irritating because they fail to realize that coming to IIT has provided them with an opportunity which they must utilize to the maximum; it is not an insurance of a successful career. And this will (and does) eventually harm themselves.

    1. Well, one can always look-up the forbes list if ‘one prefer greenbacks over grey-cells’. They have done a pretty good job on these lines.

      Percentage is not the thing we take into account as sociologist. Percentwise, you can also show that Jews are the most intelligent people in the world and women are stupid. And Brahmis are mentally superior by birth.

      It is fact proved by sociology that individuals behave the way their society raises them. And they usually think the way their society has enabled them to think. To put is simply, as Karl Marx said with the exaggeration of neophyte, ‘it is the society which thinks in me’. There are few exceptions to this general pattern, but they are to be studied by psychologists. We deal with general patterns. I definately do not see IITian to be different. The library in my village school is used more often on per-capita basis than the libraries in IIT is used (not counting the examination days). And their obession is ‘foreign-degree’ is as intense that the obsession of village kids with high-school diploma. They are status symbols. And their behaviour on ‘profile-reading’ is as obscene as the drukard in my village during Holi. They do have some nice technical and cultural groups.

      I know many IITians do not make much fuss about being an IITians. In the same way, I know many Brahmin who do not publicly admitt that they are superior life form. But they still like to keep this ‘brands’. I have nothing against it even if they feel proud about it. As long as it does not lead to measurement of penis.

      From a point of view of sociology, IITians like to say that they are ‘branded for life’. This is exactly the compulsion behind the caste. Granted that access to this caste is not fixed by birth and you need to do some hard work and need some luck also. But it has many features of castes. One is it compares and contrast sharply. You can notice the superlatives used on the t-shirt designed by them. Moreover, as Brahmins do not do some work which were considered ritually defiling, IITians whould not do certain jobs which may not do justice to this brand (i.e. concern for status). IITian is a not a brand like ‘engineer’ which does not compare itself with other brands such as lawyers, doctors, social-scientist, least in the terms of heirarchy. And one has to do some amount of engineering to be able to carry this brand of engineering. But like ‘Brahmins’,one need to do any professional work to carry the caste called ‘IITian’.

  5. when u donot get a seat… u r incapable
    not the IIT’s

    u r inefficient

    and iits donot need to promote their names by using success stories of their students… the are actually the cause for student’s success…

    I AM AN IITian… and i am PROUD TO BE

    when u are inefficient… u don’t have any other work except for comparing your penis with others…

    fuck away

  6. I think…

    Life is too short to hate,criticize someone, which is very simple to do. We actually need no time to find shortcomings of others but find it very difficult to appreciate one’s good work.

    I personally don’t find anything wrong in UGs feeling proud of being an IITians.. because, It is their efforts, hard work, smartness that has paid the price to get a seat in IIT and they should be proud of it. Now, it depends on them as to how they use this.. whether to criticize someone who is inefficient/incapable of doing/understanding something which they can understand quickly or to help others understand !

    Instead of wasting our energy on these futile things, we(UGs and PGs) can try to make the most of the opportunity/platform we have got in IIT(which only approx 0.01% of the Indian students get !).

    Lets help each other and build a great nation which every Indian will be proud of!!

  7. IIT’s SUCK. They produce people who can do only one thing – rote. People who have made it to IIT’s can do only rote and vomit it out the next morning( Mind the exceptions, please!). Seriously, people are FORCED to choose streams even berfore they get to know what is in those streams( for the uninformed ones- people HAVE to choose their major even berfore they enroll). And, of course, the selection process is in itself an utter piece of shit! People who hate Chemistry ARE supposed to do that crap. One exam shouldn’t be the decisive factor of one’s career.

    Professors in IIT’s only speak out what’s written in books. No emphasis on novelty at all!
    Yes, the U-grads at IIT have done a LOT to be proud of. They should be proud of all the hard work they did. But they should never ever be pround on the IITian tag. It stinks.

    PS: I am a current IIT UG student. I want to preserve my anonymity so I’d give the rank bracket. My rank in JEE was between 100-200.

    Good day, sir!


    (Comment is formatted by moderator. No word is changed.)

  8. dear Sir iit’s suck. u r saying this only because you weren’t able to get into the Iit.also don’t tell lies that you are an iitian coz u aren’t. also the curriculum and teaching methods of Iit are far more superior than other engineering colleges across the country.

  9. Simply speaking …IITs are full of dumb people who only know to read books and do virtual kind.of stuff they are told form very early of their lives that entring into anIIT will secure their future but reality is something different ….

  10. I actually hate this concept of IIT…..the country trains all the lifeless nerds here, wasting the country’s money and resources and then helps them get into some foreign company and help them build their economy. SERIOUSLY…..WTF

  11. We Indians are pride hungry, if our neighbor is doing something we will also do that without even giving a thought of why we are doing it. same is the case with IIT-jee and CAT, 70% is giving them coz everyone is talking about them. And moreover, intellect is not involved in jee preparation, it’s all about the type of questions asked and our cattle crowd students practice day and night to learn how to solve those questions, that’s it. it is a cattle race, if you can afford to waste your precious time in preparing for an overhyped exam just to prove something not so important,than you can go for it, otherwise introspect and try to figure out what you want from your life. it is far better than wasting 2 years to prepare for stupid jee and then 4 yrs in living the iit life with inflated chest and then introspecting wtf we want from our life. Explore, innovate and create value, don’t go by trends of being an IITian or an alien.

  12. I totally agree with Sunny Bansal! People waste all of their childhood to become an IITian and then what. Narayana Murthy says only 10% of the IITians are at par with the world engineers. Excluding some exceptions, I have seen many IITians who are not at all smarter than even a high school student from a good school. Many of the IItians are not even employable. It’s not their fault because Indian education system doesn’t give us time to do something creative and unique. It just forces us to do book study. I agree that JEE lends many poor people good jobs but what about middle class people and posh people who form a great majority and want to explore science. What about those people who could pay a bit higher fees to want to get some good research based education. Huh? Moreover, JEE just can’t decide smart future engineers. That’s why only a fraction of Iitians even get jobs on campus placements. To know more about JEE and its feasibility visit my blog– http://www.vividh98.wordpress.com

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