Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Death in IIT, Media and Politics

Some things amaze you, some things surprise you and a few things terrify you. The news of the death of Rohit Kumar, a student of IIT Kharagpur, who died due to the negligence of the authorities of the KGP hospital was extremely terrifying and even more terrifying for me was the response of national media towards an incident which might have affected or changed the future of the country. Full account can be read on

Isn't it time for the country to awake and take a step, stronger and faster, against the negative politics which has plagued this nation and is going to beleageur one of the prides of this nation. You may ask what has politics to do something with an accident like above, or what has politics to do with the negligence of medical authorities in Kharagpur. It has got to do a lot, and I'm coming to that.

India's oldest IIT, IIT kharagpur, is spread in 1000 acres of land or even more, and is located far from any city. Similar is the case with most of the other IITs, after all IITs need to have the best to remain the best. Also, same will be the case for 16 more IITs in the pipeline, by the government. There is going to be an IIT about 100 kms from Patna, near a remote village in Bihar; and another one on the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar. You can't avoid that, as its impossible to open new IITs in the midst of cities. But the basic question is, if the IIT is not in the midst of any city and hence away from adavanced medical facilities, doesn't it need to have facilities which will counter the effect of being away from town. IIT Bombay also has a pathetic hospital, which is used only for pink slips, but at least we have a Hirannadani Hospital right in front of our main gate or a Powai Public Hospital. 16 more IITs will be built and 16*3000 more students will study in IITs, and all these 16*3000 students will not have any easy access to basic good medical facilities. Did the government think of any of these questions while floating the idea of new IITs.

There are more than 25 NITs existing in India which can easily be converted into IITs by adding a few more facilities in terms of laboratories and corporate support. But the politicians just want to play with the three letters IIT, creating a vote bank for them in the form of gullible educated Indians; who can read whats written on the paper, but are unable to understand that what they are reading is just an illusion created by the wonderful use of words. Politicians say they want India to have more number of state of the art colleges with best facilities and they say the only way to have this is create more IITs. We believe them because despite years of studying phrases like "All that glitters is not gold" and "Never judge a book by its cover", we have still not incorporated the importance of these words into our lives.

I end this post with a question the answer of which I am unable to decipher, what hapenned to the media during the coverage of this news. It had all the masala which the news of "Aamir bashing Shahrukh" provided but still you couldn't see any solid coverage of an event which could have brought a change needed urgently in the nexus of politics and education. 16 more IITs will be built from scratch in places which can attract more votes and I am sure no one will raise a word; after all we are more interested in Slumdog winning Oscars......... right?