The Great Indian Obsession

Wait. Make that, the Great Indian Academic Obsession.

Us Indians, we all know, have a rather despicable and – provided you aren’t suffering from it yourself – a laughable obsession with all things IIT. The obsession itself is also many more things – like complete and utter madness,  for example – but let’s look at the grass on the apparently greener side of the field. We’ve all been a little crazy, anyway.

It has been like this ever since time immemorial. This trend, this absolutely flummoxing trend, has been followed for more years than we can mentally calculate, and has been set by people we don’t know because we don’t have any formal records of the time they existed in. Back in the day, albeit being over-hyped, IITs used to produce the cream of the crop. They still do. But what happened to the time when the very few people who went there really had a heartfelt passion for engineering? What happened to the days when young kids looked up to their parents and said they wanted to become engineers – and meant it?

With the number of seats refusing to increase and the number of aspirants refusing to decrease, the IIT obsession has not only affected people, it has spread like wildfire even amongst those who have refused to be a part of it: even doctors know which of their patients’ children successfully cleared IIT.  The number of appearing candidates has been steadily increasing – from 1 lakh to 2, then to 4; and finally to an estimated 5 to 7 lakhs for the next two years. Isn’t it already evident that there are enough engineers in this world?

The chosen few are also sometimes referred to with only the ranks they’ve secured (‘I knew Rank 35 personally,’), and while it is completely desirable for the ones who would enjoy such transient popularity, it is only superfluous and unwanted for the rest of the group. What would become of those that couldn’t carve their niche in a world solely obsessed with marks and ranks and not knowledge and intelligence – owing it all to just one fateful day in their lives? They would become nameless; and would remain so.

And as saddening as it is, this is the world we live in today.

Now, with the ever-increasing number of IIT aspirants and too less people with seemingly above-par intellectual capabilities (as would suggest the huge list of rejected candidates), is probably the best time to realize that the Indian education system is down in the dumps. And to act on it too. And hopefully somebody will; just as soon as our doctors find a cure for the IIT obsessive-compulsive disorder. Or as it is best referred to as, The Great Indian Obsession.

Srimanta Mitra

Srimanta Mitra is a 16 year old who loves writing, playing guitar and procrastinating. Besides these, he also loves good food, good books, good people and other good things that everybody else loves. And oh, he loves writing. He insists on it being mentioned twice.