Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju while attending an event at IIT-Bombay had claimed that IIT-ians had no genuine love for India.
Mohan Prasad, an alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Lucknow, sent this piece to ScoopWhoop as a counter to what the former judge said.
Here's what he wrote:
Let me tell you a small story. There was a country called â€œBâ€. Every year its citizens organized a cut-throat competition to select its most brilliant crop of adolescents who were 17-years-old. Only one of every 2000 applicants could get selected. Some bad apples managed to get in, while some brilliant ones forewent the competition.
Nonetheless, with the selections done, this elite group was trained for four years, preparing them for the future. Thereafter, they were let out in the world to contribute. About one-fifth, moved out of their country every year and the others stayed back.
Every rupee spent on this selected group has resulted in a contribution of Rs 15 to the economy. Everyone, on average, has managed to create a job for a hundred compatriots. Have we then wasted our resources on their subsidised training? The value of an IITian, or for that matter any engineer, is not in the type of job they select right after college. It is in the value they would create for the Indian economy throughout their life.
To begin with IITians are mostly all from middle class families; some from poor backgrounds. Half the seats are reserved for traditionally backward communities. Through their qualification, the entire group of about 10,000 has proved they should be receiving the best training of the land.
The four years are short compared to their careers ahead. Moreover, their parents fund most of their school education, a significant part of their engineering education and for some even the post-graduation. The government subsidises only 4 very costly years out of the 18-20 years. The wards of the rich aren't going to IITs, because itâ€™s not worthy of their time. Probably they donâ€™t even want to work so hard at a young age.
These graduates will have interesting and diverse work profiles, a lot of which will have nothing to do with their initial training. Yet they are humble enough to acknowledge that IIT really helped them. Who says they are not patriots? The definition of patriotism itself keeps evolving with circumstances, along a basic core. If fighting on the borders or serving the government defined patriotism, then Gandhiji would also lag behind.
The campus of IIT Bombay | Source: Facebook/ IIT Bombay
Patriotism means working for your nation, for your compatriots, making sure they have peaceful and prosperous lives. IITians as a group, are contributing to this every day. Some as entrepreneurs, others as venture capitalists; some as social entrepreneurs, others as politicians; some as innovators, others as business heads; some as writers and artists, others as institution builders. They are sending back remittances and carrying the flag of our nation high in technology and medicine in globally-renowned institutions.
Demeaning NRIs has also become easy for many of us. Till a few years ago, we were calling our NRIs selfish. Now with the remittances and increased stature of India in developed nations, we are all gung-ho about them and are proud of them. They are not the most educated as is popularly perceived. Most of our NRIs are earning well, but rarely with an IIT or Ivy League degree.
Most live in the countries in the middle-east. For every Silicon Valley NRI technologist, there are more than ten NRIs who donâ€™t even know what Silicon Valley means. The rich among them are mostly businessmen, and only a few are IITians. Canada is full of Punjabis, Middle East is full of Malayalis and the USA full of Gujaratis, regions hardly known for producing IIT aspirants. And they are not dictating lifestyles and opinions to us living in India.
I hope Mr Katju realizes how wrong he is on so many levels in his flashy statement, that is based not in reality but perception.