Friday, May 27, 2011

From Jairam to Hairam..

Jairam Ramesh's recent remark on IIT and IIMs has brought up much furore among the technical literati. He was quoted as saying, "IITs and IIMs are famous not due its faculty but due to its students and that faculty was not world class." The statement received mixed responses from those associated with such institutions and other learned folk.
While Kabil Sibal straightly castigates Ramesh for making an evidence-lacking remark, an IIT alumni agrees that the amount of research work taken up at such premier institutes is really pathetic. While MIT and Stanford have considerable number of patents to their credit with  45 and 52 respectively,  annually, IIT manages to get between 3 and 6. Maximum faculty is busy in teaching undergraduate BE students and afford less time for research oriented teaching. Jairam Ramesh himself an IIT Bombay alumnus, and remarks from him do create an impression. While generally this fact is also true that the number of Ph.Ds are very less in our country, and that only a handful of students pursue doctorate after Masters. And if not from India, then students migrate to overseas to do MS or Ph.D there as per their interest.
While Chetan Bhagat, famous for his novels that have same-stuff-in-every-novel, was heard commenting , "Jairam Ramesh should comment only if our politicians are world class". LOL, quite visibly the game of blaming and defense seems to fuel up, and in midst of all this hoopla the crux disappears.
IITs and IIMs are the most sought after institutes to pursue engineering and management education in the country. But their inability to work in association with industries is often seen as a deterrent to many people to join in as faculty member. Who would come to teach here where he gets one-sixth salary of what he would get in industry and plus there only government playing roles, no backing by industries ? Has the presence of an IIT in Mumbai done anything for chemical industry in Mumbai ? Has the presence of an IIT in Kanpur done anything for engineering industry in and around Kanpur ? Google, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard  and scores of other companies came up as a result of the encouragement by the professors to their Ph.D scholars to commercialize their laboratory work.
Plus the faculty of IITs is not satisfied with the fee structure and keep on demanding for hike in the pays. True or not I do not have any idea., but even Jairam would have known that his such a comment would end up into an hornet's nest and thus would have taken courage to speak out such words. But lets not forget that his such comments are actually not desired since, these institutes are the ones that impart India its distinguished position in education at an international market.
5  IITs (Delhi, KGP, Madras, Kanpur, Bombay) come into the top 100 engineering institutes in the world and that is a formidable achievement. But IITs and IIMs (though I have just talked about IITs here) are the best institutes in the sub-continent and comments like these won't deter students from dreaming about them. But yes, there is dearth of research students in India and this is one issue that needs to be taken care of, but how...since the will to pursue a doctorate or not rests solely with the student.
But the spicy thing is that like any comment that is spoken every day in Indian full-of-politics Democracy, this will be mocked, taken up, argued, tossed around, played around and then discarded like a rag doll. Everything has now become destined to end up into a bigger LOL day by day. I may sound pessimistic but the news I read every day in newspaper vomit pessimism. Dacoity, murder, theft, kidnappings, attack, death, treachery, and you name it, this is what our newspapers have to offer at the morning tea. In a land that has swallowed such scams, things like these have become order of the day.
Wanna taste this elixir of Indian politics as well to have its first hand experience. It would be a great fun :D

(With inputs from HT)

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