While I fully endorse your views that at the micro level, mismanagement is certainly a cause for the students current plight, at the macro level the responsibility squarely lies with politicians like Arjun Singh and his ilk, who have played caste based politics only for appeasing their vote banks and have almost exponentially inflated the number of IITs, as well as the number of students, with utter disregard to the infra structure and without a thought to maintain, if not upgrade, the declining facilities being provided to them. This has caused utter chaos and will almost certainly bring down the quality of students passing out from the IITs and thus negate the present standing of IIT graduates as world class engineers and technologists.
Having been closely associated with the IIT Alumni Association as well as the current faculty, I have full faith in our present faculty members like Prof Madhusudan Chakraborty, Acting director, Prof Amit Patra, Dean (Alumni Affairs), Prof. B. K. Mathur and their likes. However unless they are given a free hand and full budgetary support, how can we expect them to improve the facilities for the students?
Incidentally, even during our days during the 50’s student demonstrations at IIT KGP were not unheard of, but perhaps not known widely, because of the absence of so many rounds-the clock news channels. We remember demonstrating before the Director’s bungalow, wrapped only in towels, when taps ran dry while we were taking baths at our respective Halls of residence. However, there was certainly no violence or destructive action. The mild violence that has been reported in the media after the tragic death of Rohit is perhaps only a sign of the times, when students with political affiliations create havoc at campuses in Kolkata , with or without any valid cause, provoked by their political masters with the sole objective of coming to power and harvesting money. Compared to such incidents, the demonstrations by the students of IIT KGP, were not only mild, but certainly for a just cause. We are thankful that politicians have still not been able to infiltrate and pollute student activities at IIT KGP.
Let all IITians, past and present, unite to do whatever that is possible to overthrow politicians of the day practicing vote bank politics at the cost of meritocracy at Institutions of academic excellence like the IITs, IIMs and premier medical institutions like AIIMS. Improving living conditions of the students should be an important part of this programme. Donations to associations like Technology Foundation and similar bodies should be put on hold, unless they can show what they are doing to improve the living condition of students with the money they are receiving in abundance from the Alumni, both in India and abroad.
Yours sincerely, Ranjan Khastgir 1957 B.Tech.(Mech), Azad Hall