Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Calling a Spud a Spade

Dear Shri Kapil Sibal,

In your efforts to make every engineering college in India an IIT I suggest you go a step further and declare Tihar Jail to be one too. The other option obviously is starting an ITI there but ITI Tihar, or ITIT, is something I would advise you against. It's just too much IT in one college for our country's self respect.

On the other hand, IIT Tihar (IITT) shall probably overtake the newest IITs opened in Bhubhaneshwar, Patna and other obscure corners of the country because a lot of experienced faculty members from various IITs, including directors of the institute (and this and this) and JEE organisers, could (allegedly) be headed there soon ensuring a good start as far as faculty strength is concerned. That said the quality of the faculty is debatable but all other IITs face the same problem and there really isn't much you can do about it apart from, you know, raising salaries and stuff so there's no point worrying about that. And just in case some of the professors turn out to be gay, some of the Tihar inmates might actually welcome them unlike how one such case was treated at Hyderabad.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, IITT already has a lawsuit-free campus and that by itself puts IITT far ahead of the newest IITs. To add to that, IITT also boasts of academic infrastructure like a library and classrooms and complete residential infrastructure which includes mess halls, sports fields and jail cells much like the sort of facilities available to students in the original IITs. The slightly secluded nature of IITT also ensures that the campus develops its own culture and remains independent of the city around it, as was the philosophy of our fore-ministers who built the original IITs on the outskirts of major cities, or in the middle of nowhere as is the case with Kharagpur, for the same reason.

The curriculum can be based on the traditional IIT syllabi, highly theoretical without real life applications. I would also recommend the complete absence of any laboratory or workshop sessions because if students actually know how to apply their knowledge in even the slightest of ways then they might find out how to bend the metal bars or weaken walls or some such to escape from their jail cells. God forbid they start making antennae with the bars on the windows and gain access to the internet during curfew hours. The icing on the cake is that such constraints do not allow you to have a post-graduate program allowing massive savings which would have otherwise been stipend money. The cherry on top is the fact that the undergraduate students will stay in IITT long enough to comfortably finish their final year projects and more.

There are many other secondary aspects that make IITT a worthwhile investment. The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility of another quota. Tihar Jail can have a 100% convict quota which gives you, as a member of the Congress Party, a strong leverage with most of the political powers and citizens in UP allowing Rahul Gandhi to do something more useful with his time. You can also prepare under trials to join the esteemed institute and break the monopoly of the coaching centres. This should be fairly easy given the long period of time under trials spend as under trials before they either join full time or die. The diversity within the inmates might also save a large percentage of the freshmen population from the trauma of ragging; I can't imagine a robbery final year trying to rag a first degree murder freshie, can you? There will still be a few that will get ragged or will be frustrated or depressed for various other reasons but the high security and the bare minimum living condition such as the absence of ropes and open terraces ensures that students cannot commit suicide either which saves you from some annoying journalists at least if nothing else. Also, Tihar shall forever remain Tihar as it is one of the few things in our country that can't be renamed after Rajiv or Indira Gandhi, or even Sanjay Gandhi, just in case someone in your esteemed party has a sense of humour, and therefore any costs incurred in the name changing process and the ensuing confusion because of the same (is it IIT Madras or IIT, Madras or IIT Chennai?) can also be avoided.

I hope all the advantages listed above convince you that this is indeed a good idea. I look forward to sending my domestic help to IITT in the near future if and when I catch her filching food from the fridge although she plans to become the President of India one day.

Yours sincerely,
B.Tech., IITX

Update on 21st Oct 2012: Rahul Gandhi's time wasting link was pointing to some site that seems to have been hacked. The link has been changed.


  1. and sibal would have a precedent here. iit kgp was started on Hijli Detention Camp (now known as Shaheed Bhawan).

    and i am pretty sure that with the likes of kiran bedi, iitt would have better recreation facilities than the existing ones.

  2. Oh, very nice.

  3. good one !!! :)

  4. Brilliant piece Das !

  5. TM, soon there shall be FIFA and AOE on Tihar LAN and Kiran Bedi shall be forgotten.