Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rage Against The Machine

The incoming general secretary of our institute now stands impeached because he had a few too many drinks with his batchmates who're passing out this year on the night of their farewell. I'm told it wasn't just because he had a few drinks, that people have a drink all the time. It was the fact that he got caught in the act, that landed him in a world of shit.


The students of the Mechanical Engineering department have been subjected to atrocities beyond comprehension by their HOD. An almost fetishist obsession with a new rule will now cost at least 50 students their hard work.

The rule states that the student be present in the examination hall 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the examination. This was put up in an A4 circular on a notice board in the Mech. Dept. And the enforcement of this rule has been thus,

Anyone who enters the hall after 8.55 am (for a 9 o'clock exam) will not be allowed to write the examination until and unless he collects a permission slip from the Head of the Department. The catch here is that the HOD has stooped to undertaking "rounds" of the examination halls. To catch the students in the act personally and to also make himself impossible to catch in the hour of need. The result is that these students end up waiting for at least 20 to 25 minutes after the examination has begun to get his permission.

One particular professor in the Metallurgical Engineering department actually listed out 12 questions, 7 0f which would appear in the examination, 8 days prior to the examination. The aforementioned professor resorts to using slides prepared by the senior students as a part of their assignment submissions as teaching material. Without changing the names on the title slides.

We have classes in which the attendance drops to 5 students for a particular class (in a class of 60) at least twice or thrice a semester.

The IIT hostel regulations disallow entry to any Non-IITian female student. Even on the production of an identity card.

The Dean of Students and the rest of the IIT-Madras administration actively encourages the student population to snitch on their fellow students. The actions taken in the regard are,

- All hostel general secretaries were called into the deans office. Here the secretaries were asked to disclose the names of all students who indulged in the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and/or any other intoxicant.

- If the hostel general secretaries refused to oblige, they were threatened with impeachment, disciplinary action for being "indirectly responsible for the intoxicant situation" and expulsion from the hostels pending further notice from the dean.

- In the case of one particular hostel, where the aforementioned drinking took place, the expulsion orders were signed and waved in front of the students even before they refused to divulge the names they were asked for.

- The Dean now has a list of everyone in the institute who indulge or has ever indulged in the recreational use of marijuana. The extent of indulgence has also apparently been made known to him. There are also reports that a 2200 strong list of students who partake in alcohol consumption has been compiled.

Big Brother is watching you.

I'm afraid. But I'm pissed off.

They say their doing all this because the quality of the students is dropping, and so is the sort of research and commitment they are able to provide.

- They need to improve attendance in the classes, so they threaten to cut the placement privileges of anyone who doesn't.
- They want to deal with the fact that a couple of students were caught with whores from velachery or the fact that somebody got knocked up, and so they repress sexuality.
- They want to know who's breaking the rules in the hostels, and so they make your roommate snitch on you.

When I joined this institute I subscribed not just to its rules and regulations but it's spirit. As corny and cliched as it sounds, it's true. And that spirit was built not just by the institute but by the alumni who passed through these very same corridors. It was a liberal and free thinking spirit which engendered entrepreneurs. We made mistakes, some of us really fucked up. They even lost one or two every batch. But everyone who made it through survived and was a better man for it. And that liberal thought pervaded every sphere we stepped in, be it from industry or academia or even administration. We were known for being broad-minded. That openness of thought is what led us to become leaders.

And now it's dying out. I do not know where I can voice my concerns. I am afraid of the consequences if I do. The dean can easily make my life more "difficult" and put me through hell for my degree if I so much as think of stepping out of line. And get caught thinking it of course. I feel like I'm in 1984.

This is just the sort of shit that makes someone pick up a sniper someday.

So here I am attempting to protect myself from passive implosive anger.

I HATE THE SYSTEM. It's made me a fearful and paranoid student. I cannot have a drink without being caught. I cannot walk around the campus at night with a female for fear of being harassed by a security guard. I am forced to attend classes taken by incompetent professors who are killing my interest in the subject with every passing second. And I don't know what to do but rebel.

I want to rebel. I want to chant and sing inflammatory slogans and songs against anyone who tries to impose any rules on me, from a moral higher ground. It is my opinion and I have a right to it. And in my opinion the dean and some professors are fascist, moralistic, holier-than-thou, prudes who allow their prejudices to affect the way they work. And they are lesser men for it.

All that said, I love IIT. It is my home. I now stand here defending it in whatever little way I can. I will publicize this post and invite trouble. Strip me of my degree. Detain me for a year. Fuck, execute me for all I care. But I will not stand back and watch this happen to an institute that has given me so much life and living.

"We don't need no education.
We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teachers leave them kids alone."

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