Something is rotten in IIT, Kharagpur

IIT Kharagpur

Something is rotten in IIT, Kharagpur

” Something is rotten in the state of Denmark ” said Shakespeare in Hamlet, and similarly it can be said that “ Something is rotten in IIT, Kharagpur ”.

This engineering institute was reputed at one time to be one of the best in India, but its condition today can be visualised by several fb messages from the student community which I have been receiving since the last 2 days. Two of these are the following :

xxx

“ Sir

My name is  xxx, I have been a fervent supporter of you for a long time now. I like how u talk about the negatives and also the positives of any scheme or government policy. We students of IIT Kharagpur need your help in a matter.

We want out campus to be reopened but our concerns are not being listened to. We are going through sheer torture during this online semester. Endless assignments, at least 3 tests every week, our life is hell. We don’t have the time to think, forget about doing something to relax ourselves. We are becoming increasingly frustrated. Many students are facing mental health problems. Many IIT s and other technical colleges have taken initiative and are at least discussing about reopening their respective colleges but in our college nothing is happening. There has been no curtailment in the tuition fees and the mode of online teaching is a mess as we are learning nothing.

Engineering is about practical knowledge. Today when the pandemic is by far under control, movie theatres, swimming pool, etc. have been reopened I don’t think if a premiere technical institute in the country is reopened it will make any difference. The education we are receiving is no education at all. Please highlight this matter in one of your post. We are suffering sir, you are one of those people who truly think about the development of the country and its people. Please do something about it as it seems we are currently voiceless or at least our voices are not being listened to.”

“ Sir,

We, the students of IIT, Kharagpur, West Bengal, are in a pitiable situation, and need your help and support.

It’s been a year since the campus was abruptly shut down due to the pandemic, and our college life came to a standstill. Despite all odds, we all stood together. We bore the full brunt of the pandemic, hoping one day, things will return to normal, and we’ll get to re-experience what we have been missing for so long.

However, the administration took undue advantage of these uncertain times to foster a culture where the responsible authorities exhibit a total disregard for any grievances or concerns of the student community. In the past year, the administration has never tried to establish any contact with us to know about our issues, our grievances.

Seeing colleges re-opening everywhere and every other IIT’s administration taking steps to call back students to respective campuses, it’s natural to have apprehensions about our administrations working. Our administration is yet to formulate and communicate a clear plan to call at least final year students back to campus.

Keeping all these things in mind, we have decided to collectively boycott all the classes for one day, 15th March as a sign of protest. We demand the administration to establish a transparent communication medium and provide regular updates on the steps being taken by the concerned authorities for the return of all the students to the campus as soon as possible.

Sir, we request you to show solidarity with our movement and make the protest successful. We will not attend any class on the 15th of March, 2021. A mail to all the professors and concerned officials in the administration has already been sent informing them of our boycott on Monday.  Sir, please stand with us and make our voices heard. “

I appeal to the Director, IIT, Kharagpur as well as other authorities to resolve the grievances of the students, which I think are totally justified.

IIT, Kharagpur has till late enjoyed a high reputation, nationally and internationally. Let it not be sullied, denigrated and despoiled now by the acts or omissions of those concerned

Justice Markandey Katju

Former judge, Supreme Court

15.3.2021

(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)

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