Troubling the trouble – Part 2


I explained my father Hanlon’s Razor the other day. He owns a BSNL sim card which had validity of 6 months. So far he has been adding only top-ups. He asked me to recharge his mobile account through BSNL website and I obliged. To my surprise the BSNL web site has no option to recharge prepaid accounts you can only top up. So my father went to a mobile shop and tried to recharge his phone. He tried several denominations but none of them worked and each time the account was top-uped. Frustrated he said this is a ploy by BSNL to steal our money. On that statement I explained him the Hanlon’s Razor which says

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I think there should exist an inverse as well. It should be something like

What you might immediately attribute to stupidity or incompetence might have a larger malice and planning behind it.

What Kapil Sibbal has tried to do might appear as his usual incompetence. Please understand that Mr. Sibbal is a Supreme Court advocate, he is a Congress Spokesperson.  A corrupt party like Congress needs country’s best smoke screen makers as their spokesperson. Mr. Sibbal has done his job well, every now and then he has created artificial controversies and news and has managed to divert the attention of media and public to non-existent issues. For example during 2G scam he not only claimed that there was Zero-Loss instead he tried to fabricate previous NDA ministers into it, he brought up the issue of VSNL land which eventually boomeranged into him. When he realized that Team Anna effectively used Social media and SMS to raise awareness how quick was he on implementing DnD rules and other restrictions on social media.

There is much deeper side to what Mr. Sibbal is trying to do with JEE and why he will have his way. A person with Sibbal’s intelligence (or cunning) knows very well that the reason why students get stressed has nothing to do with the exam/s but the utter “lack of supply” in higher education. That “reducing student’s stress” is the smoke screen that Mr. Sibbal is creating for much greater malice in his brain.

Congress party has systematically controlled almost every institution in the country. Income Tax department, check, CBI check, Indian Council of Historical Research check, Human Rights Commission check, CBSE check, NCERT check and the list goes on. The party and it’s leaders keep their cohorts in control of this important bodies. As long as these cohorts continue to serve the interests of the leaders they stay in the position and vice-versa.

There is a side effect to this kind of control. With time the people understand that these institutions are not credible. They stop affected the public psyche for which the government gave them so much importance. For example our syllabus generally hails Jawaharlaal Nehru as a visionary. However my parents generation has seen through that lie. Most of them have realized that he is to be blamed for a lot of problems we face today most important being that of poverty. No amount of verbal gymnastics by NCERT can change that reality now. Same is the case with CBI or ICHR. Have you seen Romila Thapar on television these days ? Many of us probably will have to do a Wiki search to know who she is.

There were few institutions which stood the test of time despite their imperfections. Indian Institute of Technology -X were some among them. It is always wrong to paint all IITs in same color because they vary in their character by a great degree but the public image of these institutions is same for all. These institutions were looked upon as factories that produced world class engineers. These engineers were then hired by large corporations and they all flew abroad. Occasionally we heard about few of them making a lot of money abroad. The decade of 2000 saw the rise of people like Nandan Nilekani who got rich in India itself. Many of then quietly built billion dollar businesses on outsourcing model. How many non CS IITians have set up billion dollar companies in India ? Can you name one?

Now a days reach of technology has increased. Government can not stay immune to that fact anymore. I am sure each one of us have cursed the government whenever we tried to book a ticket through IRCTC. Even the politically illiterate crowd is now getting so much information from all sides that  it has no option but to shed it’s apathy. For decades the government so successfully covered the dark secrets of Gandhi family but now due to Facebook they are getting shared viraly.

If people like Kapil Sibbal have to stay in power, they have to control technology. If they have to control technology they have to make laws that do so. To make laws they need to create necessary background. This background is best created by controlling those institutions which can manipulate and form public opinion about technology. IIT-Bombay supports government’s new IT laws etc. headlines is what Kapil Sibbal wants.

Besides if you read TheMovingFinger’s comments on the article on Hindustan Times

you are missing the point: the common exam is just the thin end of the wedge. It will be followed by various dilutions and / or reservations. It is not about the smart getting in, it is about the unsmart getting in because that is exactly what is sought to be achieved. Non-IITs are not being pulled up, but IITs are being pulled down. It is also about debasing the currency of the IITs. Why is that thousands of engineering college places in TN and Maharashtra had no takers last year? Because, New Yorkers, it is a debased coin and no one wants it. Gold is gold, copper is copper and each is weighed and valued differently. Dont mix them up; else, they both will become as valuable as iron.

If Kapil Sibbal behaves in this fashion there is nothing surprising but why are all IITs so silent. Why they have bent before the minister ?

The reason is simple. Kapil Sibbal controls many people inside IIT. A large number of faculty are those who are simply resting on their past laurels. They do have good degrees and so on but they are now saturated. They have not done any new research, they dont find time to upgrade themselves yet they want to promote themselves as the visionaries. They have found friends in MHRD. MHRD sponsors them to visit conferences abroad, MHRD creates phony “research” projects so that these professors gets a steady stream of money. Awards are given to each other, speeches and exhibitions are made. They praise the ministry, ministry praises them.

Don’t get me wrong. IIT Professors are not some masked criminals whose objective is only to steal public money. Some of them actually believe that MHRD is doing all these phony projects for good, some of them pretend to believe so. In any case they are happy once they have one such project in hand. Now if they speak against the ministry these projects might get cancelled, even worse they will get subjected to much strict audits.

At this juncture I kind of feel cheated. There is not doubt that IIT Bombay is a great institution with some wonderful people and faculty. But to look closely it is not really holier than all. Soon there will be a convocation, we will be told that were are the great alumni of this institution and we will have to go out and set high standards in whatever we do and so on but then who will ask them if they have practiced what they are preaching ?

I am beginning to understand that it is perhaps lot more simpler to become and engineer than just stand for what is right! Hope better sense prevails or else karma is a real bitch.

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