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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

IITs step up measures to control increasing student suicides - Pagalguy


28 September 2015


Suicides at the IITs have grabbed enough attention from the public and the authorities at the IITs. Six suicides have been recorded in the IITs, so far this year. We spoke about the barriers that students faced while approaching a counsellor in the campus in the Part-1. Here is what the IITs had to say when PaGaLGuY spoke to them regarding the additional measures that have been initiated in the campus apart from the exisiting Counselling Cells.

Dr Shikha Jain who heads the counselling department of IIT Roorkee says, "IIT Roorkee has a Counselling Cell with student volunteers, instead of just the administration and the counselling team. Since students spend a lot of time amongst their peers, we decided to train these student volunteers to identify any student who may be in need of help," She also added that the training that is given to the student volunteers is done by professionals from time to time. The students also use the anonymous forms to notify the Counselling Cell if they find any student's behaviour unusual. On an average, there are 3 to 4 students who visit the counsellor in a day. "There is no time limit that we have for the sessions while consulting with students. It entirely depends on the students and the extent of their need."

Mikul Patel, who is a volunteer with the cell says, "Certain students may have issues in their personal life or in college. We notify about such students to our counsellors if we ourselves cannot help them in any way."

IIT Madras rechristened their counselling cell as 'Mitr' (Mentor for Individual Transformation) two years ago. They have now redoubled their efforts, not just to reach out to the students who possibly are in need, but also to create acceptance among the students to 'visit' a counsellor. "We have 80 student volunteers, called mentors in the campus who are in the 4th year. Each of them is responsible for close to 10 students of the junior years. In order to acquaint the mentor students with the rest of the campus, we conducted an informal cricket tournament, where both mentors as well as juniors participated. 

 The students spend so much time with each other so it is good to have students involved in helping each other," says an official from IIT Madras. The core members, which include the Student Advisor, and the Coordinators in-charge for the hostels, are trained professionally along with the mentor students.

IIT Bombay started a new Facebook page, ICare IITB, in the wake of recent suicides, in July 2015. This is in addition to the already existing counselling cell in the campus. The institute has also increased their number of in-house counsellors from just one counsellor to two permanent counsellors and one more on a contractual basis. 

"Students can use the Facebook Page to get regular tips on managing stress, anger, anxiety etc. We also come to know about any upcoming workshops organised by the Counselling Centre such as academic stress management," says Aditya Menon, a second-year student.

'Better late than never' is what the mantra seems to be, and the IITs are vigorously trying to make sure that students don't take such extreme steps such as suicide due to distress. Despite the presence of counsellors, IITs have now sought the involvement of the students in order to tackle the growing number of suicides. However, it remains to see if these initiatives will bring about any drastic changes in the rate of student suicides in the IITs.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When it becomes impossible to go on: How can we stop suicides? - SIFY

Source :
By :

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 25, 2015 08:21 hrs

Towards the end of Suicide Prevention Month, yet another student of IIT Madras was found hanging in his room.

Nagendra Kumar Reddy was on scholarship; he had topped his class the previous year. By all accounts, he had a promising, lucrative career ahead of him. But it has been speculated that the reason he took the extreme step was that he had not cleared the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) on his second attempt.

Every time someone commits suicide, we wonder why. The person seemed so happy. The person had such a loving family, and so many friends. Even by the complicated parameters of success set by Facebook – a lucrative job, a beautiful and accomplished partner, a cuddly dog, a child or two, and frequent holidays on the beach – most people seem to be making it. And, yet, an extraordinary number of people are depressed.


What is it about the times in which we live that makes life so terrible, that makes us want to give up so often?

The whole world was stunned when Robin Williams, who became a spokesperson for depression even while he made us laugh, ended his life. He seemed to have it all – a stellar acting career, a supportive family, and professional help with his depression. And yet, he found himself in such a dark place that he could not find a way out. We will never know what pressures he faced, what made him want out of it all.

How many of us are equipped to deal with our own bouts of depression, or those of our friends? Most often, we only end up making depressed people feel guilty about their situations – to laypeople, depression appears to be a state of mind, not a chronic condition. To tell someone that he must count himself lucky for all that he has may further exacerbate the problem, because it invalidates his depression.

One of the most critical steps we need to take in tackling depression, and therefore suicide, is to remove the stigma around psychiatric counselling.

Every so often, celebrities speak out about their problems with depression and mental illness. But visits to the psychiatrist are not the norm in this country, if they are anywhere in the world. To go to a psychiatrist is to admit that one is not able to handle pressure, which is seen as a failure in itself.

Perhaps one solution is to make counselling compulsory in all schools, colleges, and workplaces. If one has nothing to say or share, one could just have a chat about the weather and politics with a qualified counsellor or psychiatrist. But for as long as counselling remains optional, people will hesitate to consult a professional, even when they have access.

Some years ago, a study earmarked isolation, competition, and academic pressure as the most common reasons for student suicides at premier institutes.

These are never going to go away. Work pressure is never going to go away either. Even if you don't go to work, Facebook is watching.

Over the decades, we have fostered an environment where one's success is measured relative to everyone else's. We need to be more intelligent, richer, more ruthless, and wittier than everyone else. We also need to be happier than everyone else.

Under such circumstances, it becomes very easy to feel guilty for being a disappointment. It becomes easy to feel that one has let down oneself and one's family, that one is a financial or emotional drain on everyone else, and that the world would be better off without one.

We don't have the mechanisms to talk about why happiness has become so elusive. To admit that we need help means we are not as strong as everyone else. To admit that we are not happy means we are dropping out of the race.

And so, in our moments of distress, instead of turning to professionals, we turn to those we know and trust, hoping to hear a few words that click, something that will make us snap out of it. For many of us, this is enough.

But there are some who cannot "snap out of it". I recently read a tweet about how asking someone who is clinically depressed to "snap out of it" is like asking someone who is deaf to listen harder. And these people, who are as perfect and imperfect as the rest of their colleagues but plagued by something beyond their control, need to be able to speak about their problems in a safe environment, without being made to feel bad about themselves.

Mandatory counselling for everyone may be a good start.

Read more by the author:

Nandini is a journalist and humour writer based in Madras. She is the author of Hitched: The Modern Woman and Arranged Marriage. She sells herself and the book on www.nandinikrishnan.com

Concerted Efforts Must to End Student Suicides - New Indian Express

By The New Indian Express
Published: 25th September 2015 06:00 AM

The suicide of a postgraduate engineering student at his hostel room inside the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) earlier this week is a grim reminder of the absence of suicide prevention mechanisms on campuses. Three years ago a Human Resources Development Ministry Task Force, headed by eminent academician M Anandakrishnan, had painstakingly drafted recommendations to prevent suicides in the IITs. It recommended in-house counselling to identify students with withdrawal symptoms and help them overcome thoughts of quitting in life. Many IITs are yet to act on this.

The number of students, who end their lives is disturbing. The National Crime Records Bureau’s Accidents and Suicides in India report shows that 1,31,666 students had committed suicide last year. This constituted 6.1% of the total suicides. Of this, 2,403 deaths were due to failure in examinations. Between 1981 and 2014 an estimated 81 IITians have ended their lives. 

Even coaching factories for cracking the JEE are turning into suicide hubs. Last June, five students of coaching centres committed suicide in Kota. While peer pressure is attributed as a trigger for students of elite institutions to end lives, there has hardly been any substantive research to ascertain why students who crack tough competitive examinations fail to conquer academic hurdles.

Another factor that significantly contributes to suicides is that in India career choices are thrust on students by parents. School Education Departments could play an active role by roping in psychiatrists and academics to determine a child’s aptitude in classes X and XII and help them choose the right academic course so that they are not under pressure in higher secondary classes or colleges. Parents too must be involved in these counselling sessions.


A 2012 study entitled ‘Suicide Mortality’ in India published in the renowned British medical journal Lancet pointed out that most Indians do not have access to community or support services for the prevention of suicide and have restricted access to care for mental illnesses associated with suicide. Treatment for depression is also not widely available. Therefore, combined and concerted efforts by the Education and Health Departments on this front would certainly help to curb student suicides.

Despite counsellors, IITs still struggle with student suicide - PaGaLGuY


24 September 2015

Sanjana Donkar


The media has been rife with news about student suicides in the IITs. The issue which has gained a lot of public interest is rooted farther than what actually meets the eye. According to the data by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), out of the 1, 31,666 suicides in the year 2014, students accounted for 6.1% (8032 students). The IITs themselves recorded 14 suicides in the same year. Despite measures such as having in-house counsellors, the IITs are still battling to find a tangible solution and eradicate the problem. There is a gap that exists between having a counsellor and students actually approaching them for help.

This year so far, 6 cases of suicides across the IITs have been recorded. In a society where going to the counsellor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist labels one as having a 'mental problem', it is often difficult for these professionals to reach out to the students in distress and help them. 

PaGaLGuY spoke to various student counsellors in the IITs to ask them about the issues they face while dealing with the students' concerns. "Troubles that the students face and are willing to discuss with us could just be the tip of the iceberg. They are generalised as 'stress which is too small a word to describe what students are going through. And the stigma that comes attached to consulting a shrink is one of the huge road blocks while providing professional help to students," said Dr Shikha Jain, a counsellor at IIT Roorkee. She said it was important to make the students aware and sensitise them in order to avail help.

Even while there are students who openly avail help from the counsellors, at times they face the fear of rumours amongst peer groups. "If anyone from the friends circle gets to know about the visits to the counsellor, eventually they might gossip. It is embarrassing especially if they are issues have like relations and friendship. There are many students who approach the counsellor, but still find it difficult to admit to it," said a second-year student in IIT- Bombay

 A few girls in the IITs also echoed their discomfort to talk about certain issues to the counsellors despite them being friendly and easily accessible. The stigma apart, the students also fear for their privacy. "They don't want to open up about issues, for the fear that their private and intimate information will get revealed. Sometimes their problem might not even be a major issue if you look at it from an outsider's perspective. But for that student that problem could be the cause to get stressed and be depressed about. A lot of us face disagreements in the family, but for a student it could be the trigger, and he or she is not able to focus on studies. Ultimately it can lead to academic pressure and failure. This is then seen as the cause of depression whereas it has been the outcome of the pressure faced by the student," said an official who refused to be identified from IIT Madras. The official also added that it is not a simple equation with a simple solution.

"These are young students, staying away from home. Sometimes it takes them a lot of effort to get acclimatized to the new environment, hostel life and freedom as well. It is important to care for them and address the issues they face. They are in need of constant assurance by their family, by teachers and institute in order to keep going. No issue can be neglected as a minor case. But to reach out to them, and listen to their problem is difficult." said Sharmishta Chakrovorti student counsellor of IIT Kanpur.
Just making the option of professional help available in the campus does not solve the problem. Students may still want to give up and commit suicide. The institutes have been taking measures to address these concerns as well which we will discuss in the second part of this article. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Panel suggestions Still in Cold storage - The Indian Express

By Ram M Sundaram
Published: 23rd September 2015 03:45 AM

CHENNAI: Pro-active suggestions of a special task force appointed by the Human Resource Development (MHRD) ministry to study the increasing incidence of suicides in IITs, NITs and IIMs have still not been implemented even as more and more cases continue to be registered, according to members of the panel.

“We had recommended a counselling system which not only advises students, but also identifies advance indications of people under stress, who are likely to commit suicide. Four years have gone, it has not been implemented,” said chairperson of the task-force professor M Anandakrishnan. This is common among post-graduate students entering IITs and NITs after graduating from ‘lesser’ universities, he said.

The other important recommendation ignored by the institutes was establishing a database of incidents of suicides, Anandakrishnan said. 

A research student in IIT-Madras also pointed out how the institutes want to brush these issues under the carpet, instead of speaking about it in the open. “Fellow students come to know many days later about the death of students. This is the state of affairs,” the student said. The database should not only have numbers, but a comprehensive one providing details of why a student committed suicide in addition to the social, economic and educational background of the victim, Anandakrishnan told Express.

Task force member and psychiatrist Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar said the reason that most PG students commit suicide was either thesis related issues or some problems with their guides or supervisors. “Other reasons include language proficiency and interpersonal problems with their parents who might have wanted them to go for work but they preferred studying further,” said Dr Lakshmi, who also heads the suicide prevention NGO Sneha.

The report also pointed out that these students who might have been toppers in their village or college suddenly feel equal or less in an IIT and end up getting stressed because of this.


“In North India, students are cut off from reality for a year or two at coaching classes and here they are unable to cope with the infinite freedom in the institutes,” Lakshmi reasoned.

Why have suicides become such an epidemic? - The Hindu

September 23, 2015


Suicides seem to have become an epidemic lately. Not a day passes without newspapers reporting yet another unfortunate person, be it a farmer, or a college student or a housewife, taking his or her own life. Each suicide is a trauma caused to the social group immediately proximate to the victim. And so the epidemic as a whole ought to be traumatic for society at large. But it apparently is not.

Sure, lip sympathies are paid: the government announces an enquiry, the parents blame the college, farmers blame the government, colleges feign injured innocence and peer groups feign befuddlement, and life moves on. The usual templates are trotted out to explain each case: if it’s farmer, it’s the debt that killed him. If it’s a student, it’s the academic pressure. If it’s a housewife, it must have been familial breakdown.

It’s when a suicide does not fit any template, such as the death of Maris Stella student Bhanupreeti, or the death of IIT Chennai student Nagendra Kumar Reddy, we are befuddled. Beyond that befuddlement, we must ask the right question. 

The question is not why so many teenagers are taking their own lives, when they ought to be looking forward to life. The point is that they are. The question ought to be what we can do about it. 

It’s not enough to know that academic pressure or indebtedness -- any other explanation that might be -- are trigger factors for suicide. The conclusion we must face is that these social factors are corroding our sense of self-worth, and when that cuts through all defences, a person decides that he or she has nothing to offer to the world and must therefore extinguish oneself.

Counselling psychologist T.S. Rao hints as much in relation to the Maris Stella suicide: “It is clear that stress is not the only factor that drives students to suicide. Students in such colleges (like Maris Stella) are not under great stress. Some corporate colleges make their students cram for 14 hours a day, but this is not one such college.”

While any number of measures might be taken to ease academic stress or indebtedness, what is perhaps wiser to do is to train our sights on shoring up an individual’s sense of self worth. This means that we have to work towards removing the stigma attached to be in debt, or the opprobrium that comes when a child is not a topper and therefore certifies himself or herself a failure.

The epidemic of suicides clearly suggests that we need psychological counsellors as much as teachers in our colleges, and teachers who are friends as much as they are evaluators. By extension, it goes that parents must be parents more than drill sergeants, and so on.

To start with we need trained psychologists and psychiatrists who play a greater role in the centre of this phenomenon and not just at its edges. The number of qualified practitioners of both kinds in India is laughable. According to the National Survey of Mental Health Resources, there are just 4,000 psychiatrists in the country against the WHO norm of 12,000. 

While there should be one psychiatrist for every one lakh population, there is one for every three lakh population in India. No wonder that the psychiatry is among the less preferred specialisations for a medical graduate. Why would that be? Why isn’t the psychiatrist a hero just as much as a surgeon is? That must stem from the belief that storms in the mind are something to be ashamed of, something to be kept secret and suffered in private. That’s where we must begin: with the realisation that the mind is the most delicate of a person’s identity, and must be kept healthy and nurtured just as much as the heart.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Strong support structure for students needed - The Hindu

CHENNAI, September 23, 2015

The student’s death puts spotlight on psychiatric counselling services. In the last five years, at least five suicides have been reported from the institute. Three of them were by M. Tech students and two of them hailed from a modest background.

Psychiatrists say medically the number of suicides is no different from the general population but they call for concerted efforts to prevent them. Three years ago, a report was submitted to the Central government recommending changes to prevent suicides in IITs and centrally-funded institutions.

Alok Bajpai, psychiatrist attached to IIT-Kanpur said: “We have a counselling service at IIT-Kanpur, but despite our best support, they do happen. At one point a spate of suicides was reported with six or seven students from various classes. But it is now more or less controlled.”

Dr. Bajpai said huge societal pressure of unnecessary competitiveness, disappearance of flexibility on the part of their parents and economic pressure “push students over the edge.”

Help at hand
IIT-M has an organisation called Mitr for students to access psychiatric help. “It is a group with students and professors representing various departments. The student group will put us on to professors who then help us consult a psychiatrist. 

Students can also call the helpline and meet a psychiatrist,” said a recent graduate.


Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthy, Director, said: “The Anandakrishnan Committee recommendations had been implemented in full. Ultimately it is for the student to seek out help. He said the boy was doing well in his studies.”

(I)IT's Not Right to Give Up Fight - Indian Express

By Siddharth Prabhakar
Published: 23rd September 2015 03:45 AM

CHENNAI: The suicide of yet another post-graduate student at the prestigious Indian Institute of Madras (IIT-M) has once again put the focus on the high pressure conditions in elite institutions.

For an engineering-crazy society and parents, getting an admission in the IITs is seen as the pinnacle of achievement for any student. Considering the fat pay offered by companies during placement drives, many students from humble upbringing or rural backgrounds enter IITs with sky-high ambitions, but with equal vulnerability, said an IIT-M professor. 

“They fail to cope with the tough and demanding courses,” he said, speaking from his experience as a hostel warden. The situation is worse for post-graduate students, who have graduated from colleges or universities ‘lesser’ than IITs, as there is an exponential rise in the output demanded by the professors and the course structure, said a PhD student.


Another former M Tech student of the institute alleged that there were cases where professors would extend the project or grade it lower, thus damaging the placement prospects of students. The professor who has also been a hostel warden, said students at the institute were aloof and do not have a support system of friends or family to fall back upon in case of a failure in exams or placement tests.

Agreeing with this view, the research student said IITs are vastly different compared to arts colleges or even other engineering colleges where a huge friends group would ensure sharing of grief. “Inside IITs, students who are already under the pressure of a tough syllabus have to deal with failure on their own. This culminates into suicide,” he reasoned.

The aloofness is for a reason, the M Tech student said. “Students condition themselves to be self-centred and driven, with a focus only on professional success to be preferred as best candidates for the campus placements. They don’t have a social life where they relax,” he said.

The professor said every hostel has at least 2-3 members who would be depressed. “It is the warden’s duty to be vigilant and recognise such persons and take him to a counsellor. IIT-M has Mitr — a unit which specifically deals with this. But a counsellor can only be successful if they get complete access to the patient’s thoughts,” he said.


Reasons for suicide have often been trivial. The professor recalled a case where a student killed himself as friends he considered educationally inferior scored higher marks in the GRE examination. “In some cases there are also family issues,” he said.

IIT-Madras Student Hangs Self in Hostel After Returning From Hometown - Indian Express

By Express News Service

Published: 23rd September 2015 03:42 AM


N Narayana Reddy father of IIT student who committed suicide waiting to receive the body at government Royapettah hospital in Chennai on Tuesday. | (Jawahar/EPS)

CHENNAI: In yet another case of suicide by bright young minds inside premier campuses in the country, a 23-year-old post-graduate student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, the only child of an agrarian family from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, was found hanging from the ceiling of his fifth floor hostel room on Monday night.


Naram Narendra Kumar Reddy (23), a native of Kesavapuram in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh, had returned to Chennai only on Monday morning after visiting his native place for Vinayaka Chathurthi holidays. 

As he did not come out of his room in Tamraparani Hostel for a long time, his friends checked through the window to find him hanging, around 5 pm, police said.

His family reached Chennai on Tuesday afternoon. The family members came to the institute to collect his belongings before heading to the Government Royapettah Hospital where the body was kept. They returned to their native place by road in the evening. So far, no suicide note has been found and the reason behind the suicide is unclear. 

There were no indications as to why Naram Narendra Kumar Reddy took the drastic step. Even as they admit that they are yet to unravel the mystery behind the suicide, officials from the city police say he could not clear the GATE exam during consecutive attempts in 2014 and 2015. “He was also upset that his juniors were well-placed ahead of him,” said an official.

However, his friends in the campus are not convinced by this, pointing out that Narendra was a bright student whose education was being sponsored under a scheme by noted company, L&T, under which he was drawing a stipend of  Rs 13,000 per month.

“His job is already secured as per the agreement,” said his under-graduate classmate, Subodh.

Echoing him, Akhil, another of Narendra’s friends, dismissed the police version, pointing out that the deceased was ranked around 2,000 in GATE 2014 and 700 in GATE 2015.

“This is ridiculous. Do you think that someone can simply walk into an IIT? He is strong in his academics,” he said.

His family members told the media here that he had spoken to them last around 8 am on Monday morning.

“He told me that he was tired and was planning to take a nap. About 12 hours later, I got a call from his friends that he is no more,” said Narendra’s distraught father, N Narayana Reddy.

IIT Madras Student Found Hanging in His Hostel Room - NDTV


IIT Madras Student Found Hanging in His Hostel Room   Reported by J Sam Daniel Stalin
Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh
Updated: September 22, 2015 21:15 IST

A student of IIT Madras was found hanging in his hostel room

CHENNAI:  On Monday, Nagendra Reddy, a student of IIT Madras, returned to the campus after meeting his parents in a village in Andhra Pradesh. Hours later, he was found hanging in his room.

The 23-year-old, who was completing his master's degree, was the only child of Narayana Reddy, a farmer in Cuddapah.

"He came to visit us on Saturday and returned to Chennai on Monday. He never told us about any pressure," Mr Reddy said.  He was stunned when he received a call from the IIT, so soon after seeing him off.

No suicide note has been found, say the police.

The police suspect Nagendra was depressed after he failed to ace the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or GATE conducted by the institute for doctorate programmes or jobs in leading public sector units.

He had reportedly been offered a job by engineering conglomerate L&T, but was looking for a government job.

In his first attempt at the test, he placed 2,013 and he later improved it to 722. But for the job that he wanted, he needed to make it to the top 200.

IIT Madras said in a statement that it was not known why Nagendra took his own life.

"At this time, we have no indication of the reason for death. The student's parents have been notified. The Institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss," the institute's director said.

Over the last three decades, 68 students have killed themselves in the IITs or the Indian Institutes of Technology, which produces some of the world's best professionals. Experts blame the suicides on the inability to manage disappointment and failure in school.

Story First Published: September 22, 2015 13:28 IST

Chennai: M-Tech student of IIT Madras found hanging in his hostel room - dna


Tuesday, 22 September 2015 - 2:15pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk


A 23-year-old IIT-Madras student committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his hostel room on Monday.

According to reports, M-Tech second-year student N Narendra Kumar Reddy of Kadapa district in  Andhra Pradesh was reportedly depressed after he failed to clear the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering to study abroad.

"At this time, we have no indication of the reason for death. The student's parents have been notified. The institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss," reported NDTV quoting the institute's director.

Kumar had returned from his native place on Monday. When he did not come out his room for lunch and dinner, his friends checked in on him and found his body hanging.

The police is investigating the death and the institute is cooperating with the Police, reported ANI.





IIT Madras student hangs self after failing to clear GATE - Hindustan Times


  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chennai| Updated: Sep 22, 2015 14:53 IST
Nagendra Kumar Reddy, who was pursuing a master’s degree at IIT Madras, was depressed after failing to clear the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) to study abroad. (AP File Photo)

  •  1307 65Share4 
An IIT Madras student was found hanging in his hostel room late on Monday night with police saying it appeared to be a case of suicide.

Sources said Nagendra Kumar Reddy, who was pursuing a master’s degree at the institute, was depressed after failing to clear the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) to study abroad.

Residents of the hostel discovered his body suspended from a ceiling fan hours after he returned from a visit to his home in Andhra Pradesh during Vinayak Chaturthi celebrations.

Police officials said no suicide note was found but they did not suspect any foul play. The body would be handed over to the student’s family following an autopsy, they said.

The incident comes a week after a student at IIT Guwahati reportedly committed suicide while an IIT Bombay scholar allegedly took his own life in May.

“IIT Madras is deeply saddened to report the death of student on its campus on 21 September 2015,” institute director B Ramamurthi said in a press statement. “The student has been identified as an MTech scholar from Andhra Pradesh. The police is investigating the death and the institute is cooperating with the police in its investigation. At this time, we have no indication of the reason for death. The student’s parents have been notified. The institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss.”

Sources said hours before his death, Nagendra called up his family in Andhra and told them he had reached Chennai safely.

Engineering remains a preferred career of choice for parents figuring out what they’d like their children to do, while the Indian Institutes of Technology, or IITs, are regarded as the premier schools of technical education in the country.

But experts say many students who make it to these prestigious institutes have trouble coping with examination stress, pressures of finding proper recruitment and sky-high expectations of their families.

IIT-Madras student commits suicide - Business Standard

IANS  |  Chennai 

September 22, 2015 Last Updated at 23:04 IST

Narendra Kumar, a M.Tech student at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), committed suicide in his hostel room, police said on Tuesday.

According to police, the body of the 23-year-old Kumar, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his hostel room in the morning.
While no suicide note was found, it is alleged that he might have taken the extreme step as he did not score high marks in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) exam.

Kumar's parents have reached here, police said while his body has been sent to Royapettah Government Hospital for autopsy.


IIT-M postgrad student hangs himself in hostel - TNN


TNN | Sep 23, 2015, 03.51 AM IST

CHENNAI: A 23-year-old postgraduate student at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), hanged himself in his hostel room on the campus on Monday night. 

Police said N Nagendra Kumar Reddy was the son of agricultural workers Kanthammal and Narayana Reddy from Kesavapuram village in Cudappah district of Andhra Pradesh. 

The second-year MTech student (construction technology and management), his professors and classmates told police, was a bright student. 

Reddy did not leave a suicide note and investigators have yet to determine why he committed suicide. His friends, however, told police that he had been dejected about failing to make the cut by one mark in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), which he also failed to clear on a previous attempt. 

Reddy's friends said he hoped to land a government job despite being an L&T Build India scholar who the technology and construction major had assured of a job. In his first attempt at GATE his rank was past 2,000 and in his most recent attempt it was just past 700. 

One of Reddy's friends went looking for him at 9pm after he failed to show up for dinner and found him hanging from the ceiling fan in his room on the fifth floor in Tamraparani Hostel. 

"Reddy spent the weekend in at home and returned to the institute on Monday morning," an investigating officer said. "He did attend classes on Monday and remained locked up in his room through the day." 

Police sent the body to Government Royapettah Hospital for postmortem. 

"He came home on Friday and spent the weekend with us," his father Narayana Reddy said while waiting to receive his son's body at the hospital morgue. "On Sunday night, I saw him off at the bus stop. He appeared disturbed but he told me he would be all right. We had high hopes for him because he was the only IIT-ian in the taluk." 

Classmates and teachers said Reddy was a reserved person and did not like to socialize much. 

IIT-M civil engineering department head Prof A Meher Prasad said he and other teachers were aghast when they learned of the suicide. "Nagendra had no academic problems," he said. "Our antennas go up if a student's academic performance dips noticeably but that was not the case with him." 

Prasad said there were no exams underway and the third semester was relatively easy for MTech students because they had only two courses with an additional project as compared to five courses in each of the first two semesters.

IIT student from AP commits suicide -The Hindu

CHENNAI/KURNOOL, September 23, 2015


  • STAFF REPORTER
A topper all his life, Kadapa native gives up hope after a farewell visit to home

A 23-year-old second-year M.Tech student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) hailing from Kadapa district allegedly hanged himself in his hostel room on Monday night.

According to police, Nagendra Kumar Reddy, from Kesapuram village in Rayachoti mandal, was found hanging dead in his room in the Tamraparani hostel of IIT-M on Monday night by fellow students. They alerted the management, the police and the young man’s parents. A case has been filed under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (unnatural death) and an investigation is on. Police suspect Mr Reddy ended his life due to academic pressure.

Nagendra Kumar Reddy completed his schooling in his hometown and his B Tech in Kurnool. His father Narayana Reddy, who went to Chennai to take his son’s body back home, said his son had been selected by a private company in campus placement. “The firm paid the fees for his M.Tech. and provided him a stipend of Rs. 13,000 per month,” said Mr Reddy, a poor farmer.

“He was good at studies and was focused on getting into the civil services. He used to study for 16 hours every day. He wanted to lift our family out of poverty. He did not have many friends either in his hometown or in college,” said the victim’s cousin, Harish.

Nagendra Kumar went home last week and returned to Chennai on Sunday evening. Mr Narayana Reddy recalled his last meeting with his son: “As we walked to the bus stop, I asked him if he had any problem. He said he was alright. On Monday morning, I called him again to check if he had reached. He said he was tired and was going to sleep.” 

The only son of Kanthamma and Naram Narayana Reddy, a farmer with a landholding of five acres, Nagendra Kumar was a topper since childhood. He passed SSC as well as Intermediate with flying colours from Raju School at Rayachoti. As he secured 975 marks in his Intermediate, Indian Oil Corporation granted him an annual scholarship of Rs. 36,000 to study B. Tech. (electrical engineering) at G. Pulla Reddy Engineering College in Kurnool.

His academic record earned him a job in Larsen & Toubro firm at Manapakkam in Chennai and a scholarship from the firm to study M. Tech. in IIT, Chennai. He topped the M. Tech. first year at IIT and was awarded a medal.

Not only his parents and relatives, but the villagers of Kesapuram were grief-stricken upon hearing the news of his death. He visited his native village on Saturday and took part in the Ganesh idol immersion on Sunday. He left Rayachoti by bus on Sunday night and rang up home at 5 a.m. on Monday to inform his mother K anthamma about his safe arrival at Chennai and went back to his hostel.

(With reporting from M.V.Subramanyam, Kurnool)



IIT student commits suicide - The Hindu

CHENNAI, September 23, 2015

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  • STAFF REPORTER

Nagendra Kumar Reddy


A 23-year old second year M.Tech student of the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IIT-M) allegedly committed suicide by hanging in his hostel room on Monday night.

According to police, Nagendra Kumar Reddy was found dead hanging in his room in Tamraparani hostel on Monday night by the students. They alerted the college management, police and the deceased’s parents.

A case has been filed under section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (unnatural death) and investigation is on. He ended his life due to the pressure to perform well in academics, the police suspected.

Nagendra Kumar Reddy completed his schooling in his hometown in Cuddapah district and did his B Tech in Kurnool.
His father Narayana Reddy, who came to the city to take his son’s body to his hometown, said that his son was selected by a private company in the campus placement. “The firm itself paid the fees for his M Tech and also provided him a stipend of Rs. 13,000,” said Reddy, a poor farmer in Rayachoti Taluk in Cuddapah district.

He was good at studies and was focused on getting into the civil services. “He used to study for 16 hours every day. He wanted to lift the family out of poverty. He did not have many friends either in his hometown or in the college,” added Harish, the victim’s cousin.

A few days ago he had gone to his hometown. “On Sunday evening he returned to Chennai. When I was walking with him to the bus stop, I asked if he had any problem. He said he was alright. On Monday morning, I called him again to check if he had reached. He said he was tired and was going to sleep,” said Narayana Reddy.

The only son of Kanthamma and Naram Narayana Reddy, a farmer with a land-holding of five acres, Nagendra Kumar Reddy has been a topper since childhood. He passed SSC as well as Intermediate with flying colours from a school at Rayachoti.

As Nagendra Kumar Reddy secured 975 marks in Intermediate, Indian Oil Corporation granted him an annual scholarship of Rs. 36,000 to study B. Tech. (Electrical Engineering) at G. Pulla Reddy Engineering College at Kurnool.

His academic record earned him a job in Larsen and Toubro firm at Manapakkam in Chennai and scholarship from the firm to study M. Tech. in IIT, Chennai.

He topped M. Tech. first year in the IIT and was awarded a medal. Not only his parents and relatives, but villagers of Kesapuram were grief-stricken on hearing the news of his death.

He visited his native village on Saturday and took part in Vinayaka Chathurthi idol immersion on Sunday. He left Rayachoti by bus on Sunday night and rang up home at 5 a.m. on Monday to inform his mother Kanthamma about his arrival at Chennai and went to the hostel.

Suicide prevention organisation Sneha can be contacted at 044-24640050; 24640060.

(With reporting from M.V.Subramanyam, Kurnool)

His academic record earned him a job in Larsen and Toubro firm at Manapakkam in Chennai and scholarship from the company to study

M. Tech. in IIT, Chennai

IIT Madras student commits suicide after failing to crack GATE - India Today

IIT Madras student commits suicide after failing to crack GATE

Reddy has returned from his native his native village on Monday after a vacation of Vinayagar Chathurthi festival last week.




IndiaToday.in   |   New Delhi, September 22, 2015 |

In its statement, IIT Madras expressed shock over the incident. "IIT Madras is deeply saddened to report the death of student on its campus on 21 September 2015. The student has been identified as a M Tech scholar from Andhra Pradesh," said an statement from the Director if the institute.

"The police is investigating the death and the Institute is cooperating with the Police in its investigation. At this time, we have no indication of the reason for death. The student's parents have been notified. The Institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss," added the statement.



Alleged suicide by IIT-M student - The Hindu

CHENNAI, September 22, 2015


Vivek Narayanan

The student Nagendra Kumar Reddy. 
Photo. M. Moorthy

Nagendra Kumar Reddy arrived from his hometown on Monday morning, went to his room in the Tamarabarani hostel and did not emerge from it.

A second year M.Tech student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in his hostel room on Monday night.

According to police, Nagendra Kumar Reddy arrived from his hometown on Monday morning. After this he went inside his room in the Tamarabarani hostel.

“His friends checked his room as he did not come out for a long time and found him hanging dead. They informed the college officials, who in turn alerted us,” said a police officer.
Nagendra Kumar Reddy's father, Narayana Reddy, said his son visited them a few days ago.

“He was focused only on academics,” Mr. Narayana Reddy, a farmer in Rayachoti Taluk, Cuddapah district, told The Hindu.
Director of the institute Bhaskar Ramamurthy, in a statement, said: "it is an unfortunate and devastating loss to the parents. 

The police are investigating. At this time, we have no indication of the reason for death. The student's parents have been notified."

The institution offered its deepest condolences to the parents, he added.


IIT-Madras student commits suicide, found hanging in his room - Indian Express


23-year-old Nagendra Kumar Reddy was found hanging in his room at the premier technical institute here last night.

By: PTI | Chennai | Updated: September 22, 2015 4:21 pm - 

Caste, as India’s original sin, still casts a shadow on almost every debate. But post OBC reservations, the moral imprimatur of India’s reservation policy has diminished. 

A 23-year-old student of IIT, Madras allegedly committed suicide at his hostel room, police said today. Nagendra Kumar Reddy was found hanging in his room at the premier technical institute here last night. The reason for the M.Tech. student taking the extreme step was not clear since he had not left behind any suicide note but police were probing his death, they added.  

He had recently returned to the hostel after visiting his home in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh for Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations, they said. Expressing condolences over the death, the institute said in a release: “IIT Madras is deeply saddened to report the death of (a) student on its campus on September 21. The student has been identified as a MTech scholar from Andhra Pradesh.” 

IIT, Madras was cooperating with the police in its investigation, Director of the Institute, M Bhaskar Ramamurthy said in the release, adding, “We have no indication of the reason for (the) death.” “The student’s parents have been notified. The Institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss,” he said. - 

See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/iit-madras-student-commits-suicide-reason-investigated-by-police/#sthash.2iHwUH3I.dpuf

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

IIT-Madras student commits suicide - TNN

IIT-Madras student commits suicide

Sindhu Kannan,TNN | Sep 22, 2015, 01.18 PM IST

CHENNAI: A 23-year-old IIT-Madras student committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his hostel room on Monday.

N Narendra Kumar Reddy of Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh, an M Tech second-year student, took the extreme step after returning from his native village. He was studying on a sponsorship offered by a private construction firm at Manapakkam here.

Kumar, who went to meet his parents during the Vinayagar Chathurthi festival last week, returned on Monday morning. He had not come out of his room for lunch and dinner. His friends, who peeped into his room through the window, found his body hanging from the ceiling. They informed the police.

The exact reason for his death was not known. Police seized his laptop. No suicide note had been found, police said.

Meanwhile, IIT Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi issued a statement condoling the death of the student. "The police are investigating the death, and the institute is cooperating with the police in its investigation. We have no indication of the reason for death. The student's parents have been notified. The Institute offers its deepest condolences to the parents for the unfortunate and devastating loss," the statement said.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

IIT-Guwahati student found dead - ZEENews

Last Updated: Friday, September 18, 2015 - 20:25

Guwahati: A final-year student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) was on Friday found dead near his hostel, police said.

Security guards at the institute found the body near the IIT-G`s Brahmaputra Hostel. The staff of the institute later informed police.

"We have sent the body for post-mortem examination. It is difficult to say at this moment if it is a suicide or a murder. We are waiting for the post-mortem report," a police official said.
An IIT-G spokesman said the student was identified as Ujjal Shailabh from Bihar.

"He was a final-year B.Tech student of mathematics and computing stream. We have informed his family members about the tragic incident," the spokesman said.

Last year, two IIT-G students had committed suicide inside the institute.

IANS 
First Published: Friday, September 18, 2015 - 20:25

IIT-Ghy student found dead - Nagaland Post


GUWAHATI, SEP 18 (IANS)
Published on 18 Sep. 2015 11:29 PM IST

A final-year student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) was on Friday found dead near his hostel, police said. Security guards at the institute found the body near the IIT-G’s Brahmaputra Hostel. The staff of the institute later informed police.

“We have sent the body for post-mortem examination. It is difficult to say at this moment if it is a suicide or a murder. We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” a police official said. 

An IIT-G spokesman said the student was identified as Ujjal Shailabh from Bihar. “He was a final-year B.Tech student of mathematics and computing stream. We have informed his family members about the tragic incident,” the spokesman said.
Last year, two IIT-G students had committed suicide inside the institute.

IITian found dead - Assam Times

Submitted by AT News on Fri, 18/09/2015 - 19:26

A B Tech student is believed to have committed suicide in the morning leaving the Guwahati IIT in utter shocked on Friday.
Identified as Ujjal Salil, the body of student from Bihar was found at the campus early in the morning. The inmate of the Brahmaputra Hostel was suspected to have jumped to the ground.

Police recovered the body and investigation is going on. This is the third such tragic incident at the country’s premier seat of science and technology in Guwahati during the last 12 months.


Submitted by Narender Singh on Fri, 18/09/2015 - 21:19

Last year in the same month i.e. on 14/09/2014 our son Tushar Yadav was also found dead behind his room in Kameng Hostel, before we reached there from Delhi IIT Guwahati declared it as suicide. Same thing happened in today"s case.  After our strong oppose case of conspiracy and murder was registered since then Police and IIT Guwahatidid nothing at yet, we at our level providing evidences, activities of suspects but all in vain. You the media also continuously describing as suicide why? On that day you the media failed to did your duty to find out facts then wrote such thing. If you did that in so hurry then why not you published the story of conspiracy and murder. This IIT has continue taking life of young engineers no media no ngo no political system no UGC no NHRC no Court take notice of it. We the grieved parents of Tushar can understand the loss that the family of Ujjal Shailabh have to bear through whole life, what else we can say   Narender Singh ( Gurgaon)

- See more at: http://www.assamtimes.org/node/15059#sthash.TZ9m36nd.dpuf

Suicide whiff in IIT student death - The Telegraph


Suicide whiff in IIT student death
PANKAJ SARMA

Guwahati, Sept. 18: An IIT Guwahati student was found dead near a hostel on the campus today, with the preliminary police probe suggesting suicide.

The body of Ujjwal Shailabh, 24, who was from Bihar, was found face down in a pool of blood near the four-storey Brahmaputra Hostel around 11.30am by some students, said Labanu Konwar, the assistant registrar (public relations) of IIT Guwahati.

The students reported the matter to the IIT authorities, who informed the police.

IIT sources said Ujjwal, a final-semester student of BTech in mathematics and computing, was depressed because of poor academic performance. The police suspect the student, who stayed on the ground floor of the hostel, might have jumped from the roof.

No suicide note has been found in the hostel room of Ujjwal, who hailed from Triveniganj town in Bihar's Supoul district, the police said.

This is the third suspected suicide at IIT Guwahati in the past year. Tushad Yadav, a first-semester electronics and communication student, and Shoaib Ahmed, a second-semester MSc student, were found dead on the campus in September last year and March this year, respectively. While Tushad was suspected to have jumped to death, Shoaib was found hanging in his hostel room.

The officer in charge of North Guwahati police station, M.M. Mahanta, said: "The preliminary investigation suggests that Ujjwal committed suicide. Students close to him have said he was depressed for some time."

The IIT sources said Ujjwal's academic performance "had dipped" and he could be depressed because of that.
Assistant registrar Konwar said Ujjwal's family had been informed and his relatives were expected to reach IIT Guwahati tomorrow.

Ujjwal had taken admission to the IIT in 2009.
The IIT sources said that since the institute was set up in 1995, "six or seven" students were suspected to have committed suicide. "We don't have the exact number of unnatural deaths," Konwar said.

"All I can say is that this is the third instance in the past year."

He said IIT Guwahati had four psychologists to counsel students.

The institute has more than 5,500 students.

IIT student commits suicide in Guwahati - Asian Age

Sep 19, 2015 - Manoj Anand | Guwahati

A final-year B.Tech student, Ujjawal Shailabh, on Friday committed suicide by jumping from the top of his hostel. In what has set alarm bells ringing, this was the fourth incident of suicide since March 2014 at IIT Guwahati.

The security guards of the IIT spotted a body in the backyard of Brahmaputra Hostel, which was later, identified to be of Ujjawal Shailabh who hails from Tribeniganj in Supaul district of Bihar. The police said that preliminary investigation has indicated it to be a case of suicide as student is suspected to have jumped from fourth floor of the hostel.

The police said that it took time in identifying the body as it was damaged beyond recognition. A team of forensic experts has gathered the evidence for further investigation. The spokesperson of IIT Guwahati Labanu Konwar said that security guards noticed the body at about 11.30 am and informed the administration, which rus-hed its chief medical officer to the spot. However, doctors found him dead.

He said that Ujjawal Shailabh had joined the IIT in 2009. He was appearing for his B.Tech final examination this year. It is significant that a student S.M. Shohaib Ahmed, a second semester M.Sc. student of Mathematics department, had committed suicide on March 11, 2014 in the hostel room. It was followed by another incident in the IIT Guwahati on September 15, 2014 when a first-semester student Tushar Yadav committed suicide.

IIT-G student found dead - The Hindu

GUWAHATI, September 19, 2015


A final-year student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati was on Friday found dead near his hostel, the police said.

Security guards at the institute found the body near the IIT-G’s Brahmaputra Hostel. The staff of the institute later informed the police. “We have sent the body for post-mortem exam. It is difficult to say at this moment if it is a suicide or a murder,” a police official said.


An IIT-G spokesman said the student was identified as Ujjal Shailabh from Bihar. “He was a final year B. Tech student of mathematics and computing stream. We have informed his family,” the spokesman said. - IANS

IIT-Guwahati student found dead - TNN


IANS | Sep 18, 2015, 07.16 PM IST

GUWAHATI: A final-year student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) was on Friday found dead near his hostel, police said. 

Security guards at the institute found the body near the IIT-G's Brahmaputra Hostel. The staff of the institute later informed police. 

"We have sent the body for post-mortem examination. It is difficult to say at this moment if it is a suicide or a murder. We are waiting for the post-mortem report," a police official said. 

An IIT-G spokesman said the student was identified as Ujjal Shailabh from Bihar. 

"He was a final-year B.Tech student of mathematics and computing stream. We have informed his family members about the tragic incident," the spokesman said. Last year, two IIT-G students had committed suicide inside the institute.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Guwahati IIT student found dead - Indian Express

This is the third incident of a student’s death in IIT Guwahati in the past one year.


Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: September 18, 2015 8:18 pm


The body of a B Tech final year student of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) was found outside a hostel here on Friday morning with the police still trying to find out the exact cause of the death. The body has been identified to be that of Ujjwal Shailabh, who hailed from Triveniganj, a town in Supaul district of Bihar.

Police said the body of the student was found lying face downward on the grass outside Brahmaputra Hostel early Friday morning, with the authorities immediately informing the police about it. He was a boarder of the third floor in the Brahmaputra Hostel. A case of unnatural death has been registered with the North Guwahati police station.


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“We have carried out preliminary investigations, while a magistrate has conducted the inquest. A forensic team also examined the body and the location, while the post-mortem examination will be carried out after his parents arrive tomorrow,” a senior police official of Kamrup district said.

Sources in IIT-G said the student had joined the B Tech class in 2009 but had yet to clear a couple of papers for the final examination. This is the third incident of a student’s death in IIT Guwahati in the past one year. While one Tushar Yadav had reportedly committed suicide in September last year, another student called T Parameswar Rao had reportedly committed suicide in December 2014.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/guwahati-iit-student-found-dead/#sthash.WVzfEQdT.dpuf

IITs help engineering students beat stress with offbeat subjects - Economic Times

By Prachi Verma, ET Bureau | 19 Sep, 2015, 04.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: What's Odissi got to do with engineering? Or painting, sculpture and music for that matter? Everything, it would appear. India's top engineering schools have come to realise that allowing their students to acquire some of these skills is essential for all round development, especially when it comes to dealing with stress 

Recruiters say it's a much-needed step that will enable more creative and balanced thinking of both engineering and real-world problems. 


Take Nikhil Jain, for instance — he had always wanted to try his hand at art and music. Peer pressure and his parents, however, drove him to the Indian Institute of Technology at Varanasi, where he is a dual degree (B Tech and M Tech) student. But he's also enrolled for a course on human values, a subject not typically associated with a professional engineering degree. 

Apart from the disciplines mentioned above, pottery, theatre and music appreciation are among the offbeat subjects that are now found in the curriculum of the IITs, the country's top engineering colleges. The objective is to make IIT graduates smarter, with well rounded, balanced and holistic training.

"Now, having attended these courses, I intend to do something that would truly give me satisfaction, like either organic farming or something in alternative education," said Jain. "Before joining the course, our batch was very competitive and reeling under peer pressure. Also, the goals earlier were highly materialistic. I was always bothered about my placement in a big corporate and the size of the pay package."

When Jain and his batchmates step out into the world, they will be armed with more than just knowledge of engineering — they will also be equipped with the life skills needed to tackle real-world problems. 

Along with physics, mathematics and computer science, among others, most IIT students are now required to get credits in subjects such as pottery, ceramics, photography, meditation, architecture, human values, music appreciation, film critique, theatre, music and dance. These subjects are also intended to take the stress out of the students' lives.

"Learning at the IITs is mechanised and many students have been affected by this. Students in the past have dipped in academics due to pressures, both academic and personal," said IIT-Guwahati Director Gautam Biswas.

According to Biswas, three out of 10 IIT students suffer from pressure, leading to depression. 


"These students need to de-stress with non-academic subjects that would also help them to rejuvenate mental strength," he said. Professionals from all streams — engineering, finance, medicine — suffer from such anxiety and picking up a skill like writing, dancing or singing can help them beat this, according to Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist and director of the Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Healthcare in the Capital. "If these skills are made part of the education system, especially in the higher education system like in the IITs, it will work as a stress-coping tool," Parikh said.

Much-needed step 

Recruiters say it's a much-needed step that will enable more creative and balanced thinking of both engineering and real-world problems.

"As an organisation, we believe in cross-functional, 'whole-brained' teams," said Rahul Gama, head of human resources at Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. 

"When we recruit from engineering and business schools, our hiring strategy is to attract young and talented India, especially people who are also passionate about their interests outside work." The IITs are attempting to do just this, by focussing on aspects involving interests outside the workspace. IIT-Bhubaneswar recently started Odissi dance as a B Tech subject. IIT-Guwahati introduced unconventional courses like the Assamese Sattriya dance, instrumental music (violin and tabla) and Hindustani vocal music. At IIT-Varanasi, every student is required to pick one humanities subject every semester. Arts courses here include painting, sculpture, music and dance, and are part of the credit requirements, as is a subject like human values. "Courses such as human values develop sensitivity and self-reflection. Such engineers would be better in teamwork with leadership qualities," said Rajeev Sangal, director of IIT (BHU) Varanasi. 

"I am glad that this institute is offering and trying to integrate more such courses into the curriculum. I will get more exposure in the field that I always wanted to be in," said Jain.

Adding new courses 

Last semester, IIT-Hyderabad started courses like sculpture, painting, poetry, clay modelling, theatre and dance. It is mandatory for every student to pick up at least two of these courses under "creative arts".

"Every semester, we intend to add new courses to creative arts. The next we will add ceramics, and in future we will also increase the credits for these courses," said Deepak John Mathew, head of the department of design at IIT-Hyderabad. "There are often complaints that engineers lack in life skills. These courses will help the students to connect to society and country." At IIT-Mandi, first year students can opt for one of three credit courses: art and architecture, music and dance, and drama. .. "In addition, in their third year, they have an optional course of four credits in which they go out and interact with society. This will help them design more useful products as an engineer," said a faculty member at IIT-Mandi. While IITs are roping in experts in various domains for these courses, some have had to delay introducing these subjects for want of faculty. IIT-Madras offers such courses to students for credits whenever it gets experts. "Since we do not hire full-time faculty in these specialities, offerings partly depend on availability of guest faculty, their willingness, their ability to adapt to a classroom ambience, teach in English, and so on," said IITMadras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi. "It is well-established that any good programme, be it in science, engineering or medicine, should include a certain number of courses in the liberal arts/humanities. This gives a wellrounded education," Ramamurthi added. About 50 student enrol at IITMadras each time courses on art history and music appreciation are offered.

Not All IITs on Board 

However, not all the IITs are treading this innovative track. IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi do not have any such offbeat courses or subjects as of now. 

There are enough extracurricular options on campus to take the stress off students, including a range of cultural, educational, athletic and social activities, according to the website of IIT-Bombay. It also has a number of student festivals, the most wellknown and popular of which are Mood Indigo, Techfest and the Performing Arts Festival.

At IIT-Delhi, there have been discussions about bringing in these courses, said a faculty member at academic affairs. A decision, however, may be taken only when the curriculum is revised two years from now.

Even so, there's one other reason for IITs to look beyond conventional subjects: to balance development of both sides of the brain. Music, art, intuitive thought or pre-mature meditative/rapturous states are features of the right side of the brain, which can help balance out aspects of engineering streams that are associated with the left side, said Joy Sen of IIT-Kharagpur, who is the principal investigator of Sandhi, a project on the interface between science and heritage, which has been introduced at the institute. "I do believe non-engineering inputs will balance their left-brain strengths with the right. This should enable more creative and balanced thinking of both engineering and real-world problems," said Prabir Kumar Jha, global chief people officer (designate) at Cipla. Subjects such as graphic design, visual communication and design semantics are already taught to students at IIT-Kharagpur 

At the department of architecture, music and dance as rhythms of anthropometry (the systematic collection and correlation of measurements of the human body) are also covered while explaining vernacular forms, styles and patterns.

ET View: Imagineers, Not Just Engineers 

ndia needs engineers. It also needs 'imagineers'. For that to happen, a neglected area has to be brought under the spotlight: study of the humanities. While introducing 'off beat' subjects — the unfortunate term being used, thereby underlining their unimportance in any holistic knowledge-equipping process —institutions should push students to break out of traditional silos that make for good executioners, but lousy innovators. It was one of the world's most iconic physicists (an adept violinist, too) who said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Our future engineers and technologists, as well as their teachers, must realise that being playful with their acquired knowledge is the biggest 'skill set' 

Read more at: