Friday, January 19, 2018
Students and Dalit organisations across the country led demonstrations in the memory of Rohith Vemula. - News Click
Students and Dalit organisations across the country led demonstrations in the memory of Rohith Vemula.
Newsclick Report 17 Jan 2018
Image Courtesy: Mubashir Hameed
Two years back on this day, January 17, Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in NRS hostel in University of Hyderabad. After protesting for two weeks against his suspension along with four other Dalit students, losing hope, Vemula took the extreme step. Outraged over his demise, students of the University led a collective struggle demanding the arrest of University’s Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao, the then MHRD Minister Smriti Irani, the then Central Minister Dattatreya and ABVP activist Susheel Kumar who were influential for the suspension meted to the five Dalit students. The struggle transformed into a nationwide students and Dalits movement which brought to the forefront, the discourse on the condition of Dalit and marginalised students and the functioning of the Educational system in the country.
However, when the central government appointed Roopanwala committee claimed that Rohith Vemula is not Dalit as his father belonged to Vaddera caste (OBC) and his Mother belonged to Scheduled Caste- Mala community, no police action was taken against the accused.
In his suicide letter, Vemula wrote “My birth is my fatal accident…. The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing.” His letter explained his struggles in his life for being born as a Dalit who eventually became an Ambedkarite student activist.
Hyderabad University’s Ambedkar Students Association has organised ‘Rohith Shahadath Din’ in Vemula’s memory on his second death anniversary. Students have taken permission from the campus authorities to allow Radhika Vemula along with six others including Kancha Ilaiyah inside the campus and address the students gathering in Savitribhai Phule auditorium. Last year, on the same day, Telangana police had arrested her when she had tried to enter the campus.
After her son’s demise, Radhika Vemula has been raising her voice against Dalit oppression and has become a part of the Dalit movement in the country.
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, IIT Madras, Osmania University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and other state and central universities have participated today in demonstrations, rallies to commemorate Vemula’s death anniversary.
Sunkanna Velpula, one of the five suspended students along with Rohith Vemula wrote on his Facebook wall, “I don’t know whether we have the right to remember you Rohith because we failed to deliver justice for your sacrifice in Hindutva ruling. But one thing is true… We Missed You. There is no one to replace you. You are Unique.”
Framing and promulgation of a ‘Rohith Act’ which can safeguard the students from marginalised sections in Indian Universities was another main demand from student communities after Vemula’s death. While various political parties, student organisations and social scientists have suggested various drafts for a separate act in Rohith Vemula’s name, however, it has not seen the light of the day in the current BJP-led central government.
Still a cause for concern. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
"Indian students, teachers and others listen to a speaker during a protest against the arrest of a student union leader of New Delhis Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Bangalore, India, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. Scenes of protest that rocked a New Delhi university this week spread across the country Thursday, with students and teachers from cities including Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai joining demands for the release of a student leader arrested on sedition charges. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)" title="">
January 18, 2018 Quartz India
The scales at India’s most prestigious engineering colleges tilt heavily, and not surprisingly, towards men.
Currently, only between 8% and 9% of engineering students are female.
To fix this imbalance, the ministry of human resource development has directed all 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) to ensure that, beginning this year, at least 14% of their seats went to women. Subsequently, the IITs are to add at least 550 seats solely dedicated to female students, the Economic Times newspaper reported.
By the end of this decade, the IIT Council is aiming to pull the ratio up further, enrolling at least one woman student for every four men.
The IITs have been working in this direction for a while now.
Back in 2011, they waived the application fee for women to encourage them to take the entrance test. They have also reportedly been considering awarding merit-based scholarships to female students, besides waiving fees.
However, these steps may not be enough.
Often, the gender disparity becomes apparent even before students enter the exam hall. The number of male candidates that appear for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) is nearly double that of female aspirants. They also have a much higher exam clearance rate of over 6%, compared to 2% for women.
The larger issue is that women have constantly lagged behind , courtesy decades of deep-seated discrimination. Often, girls end up dropping out of schools either due to a lack of basic facilities like functioning toilets, or because of being pulled into doing household chores. By the time they turn 18, some 32% of girls are no longer enrolled in the formal education system compared to 28% of boys, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) (pdf) for 2017.
Even during the preparatory stage of their IIT tenures, women, unlike men, are actively discouraged from travelling to distant places and living in hostels while getting coached for the entrance exams.
In 2016, while up to 2,200 women secured a spot to study at the IITs, less than a third actually enrolled. Many choose not to owing to safety concerns.
Pooja Goyal, who cleared the IIT entrance exam in 1992, attended a convent school that did not even have a mathematics teacher for girls. Once at the institute, Goyal was one of the 13 women in her chemical engineering class of 300 at IIT Delhi. The gender divide distorted her very sense of belonging. “The boys did not know how to interact with girls. There were 10 hostels for boys on one side of the IIT Delhi campus, and there was one hostel for girls on the other end. And all the cultural activities took place on the boys’ end,” Goyal told Quartz in 2015.
“Once women enter campuses, there needs to be a much more inclusive approach to their educational experience. Gender-based curfews and restrictions must be lifted, “manels” during fests and conclaves must be discouraged, and initiatives must be rolled out to encourage woman students to participate in all aspects of the engineering life,” Sairee Chahal, founder of SHEROES, told Quartz. SHEROES is an online community for women seeking career opportunities and mentors.
However, the struggle doesn’t end even after securing the revered degrees.
India’s office culture doesn’t really accommodate women, who are mostly forced to constantly juggle work and home. For many, marriage and childbirth can shelve careers. In some instances, the pressure ends up in tragedy. For instance, accomplished IIT scholar Manjula Devak allegedly committed suicide at the age of 28 as she could not escape archaic traditions like the dowry sytem.
So getting women into the IITs may be a first step, but it needs to be so much more than just opening the gates wider.
HRD sends manual to curb student
HRD sends manual to curb student suicide
Picture for representational purpose
MHA SURVEY FINDS
Sunday, January 14, 2018
TNN | Jan 12, 2018, 08:08 IST
AHMEDABAD: What can your eyes reveal? A lot — if reviewed by the right technology. MindEye, a project developed by Uttama Lahiri, a professor at IIT Gandhinagar, has been short-listed from the Army Technology (ARTECH) Seminar in New Delhi and will be shown to PM Narendra Modi on Army Day (January 15).
The project, measuring eye-movement, works on cognition concepts and identifies persons suffering from depression. The initiative is aimed at identifying soldiers with depression and suicidal or violent tendencies arising from it.
Prof Lahiri told TOI that the idea stemmed from her patented technology called 'Smart Eye', which analyzes the gaze through computer algorithms. "Unlike other psychological tests, this screening method doesn't require a question and answer session. A person is asked to be engaged in computerized cognitive activities where they have to look at the screen. The cameras track the eye movement and analyze the patterns to predict the condition. The pilot study on 50 individuals showed encouraging results," she said.
Two other projects from IIT-Gn presented at the event focused on technology for military operations in high altitude. They were an aerosol-based fire detection and suppression system and technology-based rehabilitation for static and dynamic balance for individuals with movement disorders.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
By S V Krishna Chaitanya | Express News Service | Published: 09th January 2018 02:27 AM |
CHENNAI: It reads like a scene from a classic sci-fi flick. But it’s not. It is really a human talking to a machine - a machine being built by 14-year-old Indian-origin whiz kid Tanmay Bakshi, who is currently working with IBM on artificial intelligence (AI). The AI machine that he envisages will have brain of its own and play the role of a human therapist diagnosing and counselling people with mental health illness, especially the kids and teenagers.
And there may be good reason it sounds like a movie. Part of the trick is that this machine is learning to converse by analysing an enormous collection of old movie dialogues. Bakshi is using Cornell Movie-Dialogs Corpus to train the neural networks of the machine. This corpus contains a large metadata-rich collection of fictional conversations extracted from raw movie scripts numbering 2,20,579 conversational exchanges between 10,292 pairs of movie characters from 617 movies.
Sharing details about his path-breaking venture ‘E-Therapy’, Bakshi, who on Monday delivered a keynote address before jam-packed audience on artificial intelligence and machine learning organised by E-Cell of IIT Madras, said depression-driven suicides were on the rise and in almost 80 per cent of the cases, teens who commit suicide give out clear patterns. “In Australia alone, 40 per cent of calls to the helplines go unanswered because of shortage of manpower. This is where artificial intelligence comes in handy. Eight months down the lane, we will be ready with a prototype (proof of concept) that will engage in a conversation with a human and diagnose at least a few types of depression,” he told Express on the sidelines of the event.
Bakshi said the reason why movie transcripts are being used to train neutral networks was if the AI machine can learn and make sense from such huge volume of data, it would be easy to make the machine think and analyse a limited scope like mental illness.
A mobile app is being designed for public to volunteer and share their data. “To design a prototype, at least 2,000 hours of conversation are needed. AI will allow a free flow of conversation between AI therapist and the patient. We are not here trying to replace professional therapists. We are only trying to mimic them to bridge the gap so that a teenager who needs help get it on time just over his/her phone.’’
The Indian government has started counselling centers at many educational institutes, including IITs, to address mental health issues among students.
By Little India Desk | January 9, 2018
Almost 26,500 students in India committed suicide between 2014 and 2016, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In the span of three years, 8,068 (2014), 8,934 (2015) and 9,474 (2016) students killed themselves. One of the main reasons, which accounts for almost one-fourth of the suicides each year, is failure in exams.
As many as 2,403, 2,646 and 2,413 suicides were committed due to failure in examination in the country during 2014-2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in Lok Sabha last week.
In 2016, the suicide by 57 students in Kota — known as a coaching town for engineering and other subjects — had raised alarm bells. By 2017, the number of suicide cases dropped by 70 per cent due to intervention by the Rajasthan government. The Ministry of Home Affairs data indicates that although there is no one reason for suicides committed by students, failure in examination has been a big contributor.
To comfort students, the government has started counselling centers at many Indian Institute of Technology premises in India. However, such measures have been taken only at premier institutes of the country, and other universities in smaller cities and towns are still much behind in addressing the mental health problem.
The fear of failure among students and the resulting anxiety has also forced various state governments to issue public service announcements annually before exam season. They also bring celebrities on board to show to the youth that good scores in exams is not the only way to success.
Parental pressure and expectations as well as largely unaddressed mental health issues are also contributing towards the growing number of student suicides.
A dangerous trend that caught on in 2017 was the Blue Whale Challenge, which led to widespread panic after several cases were suspected to have occurred because of the online game, in which students commit suicide as the last task in a series of challenges.
“Health being a State subject under List- II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, States are empowered to implement their own programs,” Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, said. “However, the Government of India attaches highest importance in the matter and has approved implementation of the District Mental Health Program in some of the districts of the country with added components of suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, life skills training and counseling in schools and college.”
According to the data, Maharashtra has the highest suicide rate, followed by West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.
More and more students in India are killing themselves every year
“It [the study] says that 10% of Indians have one or more mental health problem in a nation of 1.3 billion people… If you put it in context, the number of Indians suffering from mental health problem is larger than the population of Japan,” President Ram Nath Kovind had said earlier this year while speaking at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru.
A person attempts to die every three seconds in India, and it is one of the top three causes of death among people in the age group of 15-35 years, according to Aasra, a non-profit organization that works on suicide prevention.
Tuesday, 09 January 2018 | Neerja Birla
India has the highest rate of suicides in the world amongst students — simply due to the unbearable pressure of exams. Between 2010 and 2015, almost 40,000 students committed suicide. The education system in our country is an extremely and unforgivingly competitive one. The cut-off marks for admission into certain colleges and streams can be a ridiculous 97% or 98% or even higher. The pressure of exams bears down so heavily on students that it plays havoc with the mental well-being of their minds. Neerja Birla, chairperson, Mpower, talks about the mental health of children during exams and how to cope with stress & anxiety
Around 1.3 million students vie annually for about 10,700-odd seats in one of the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). Since the competition is extremely tough, each year 1.5 lakh students from all over the country flock to Kota, Rajasthan for IIT Joint Entrance Exams or JEE coaching ($45-million industry). What is shocking is that in the last five-odd years 60 students have committed suicide in Kota.
Even when the stress of exams doesn’t lead to suicidal attempts, it doesn’t mean that all is well. The problem starts with the parents, who become so insecure about the future of their children in this dog-eat-dog world. In fact, kids are conditioned into believing that if they don’t achieve those lofty targets, they will not get into a college of repute, and eventually, miss out on a good job.
Studies show that fear of failure and rejection is hardwired into the human brain, even more than the fear of death. This, in turn, leads to stress, anxiety and depression. Consequently, kids begin to have irrational thoughts about the outcome of the exams. A sense of negativity, self-criticism and worthlessness creeps in. When these toxic thoughts begin to rationalise that ‘I’m going to fail no matter what I do’ that’s when the thought of self-harm begins to look a way out.
Sadly, parents do not put much importance on the mental health of their child when it comes to exams. The bitter truth is that our education system needs immediate reforms. It must give knowledge, hope and security to young minds; not struggles, insecurities and mental issues.
Meanwhile, parents and schools can jointly take steps to help students to deal with anxiety and stress of exams.
First, parents should stop setting ridiculously impossible goals and targets for their kids. A child must be allowed to breathe and feel motivated to achieve a goal, not get smothered by it.
Second, instead of only talking about what to expect in the exams and how well they need to do, parents and teachers can talk to students about how they’re feeling.
Third, telling a child how many hours their peers are cramming is harmful. What someone learns in half an hour, another child may learn in 20 minutes or 45 minutes. By blindly comparing studying schedules, one ends up putting unnecessary pressure on a child.
Four, parents can teach children a psychological process called mindfulness’. This means that a child should be encouraged to focus on the moment and what they’re studying instead of worrying about the consequences.
Five, kids must eat well, keep themselves hydrated and get sound sleep. For example, it is a medically proven fact that the deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause acute depression, paranoia and hallucinations.
Finally, if the pressure of exams is getting to a child, parents must not hesitate to seek help from a psychologist or a counselor.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Even as counselling centres are becoming the norm in institutes such as the IITs, centres with resident psychologists who can intervene at the onset of mental problems — which often coincide with the physical and psychological changes that an adolescent or teenager experiences — are yet to become commonplace.
EDITORIALS Updated: Jan 05, 2018 09:26 Ist
A mental health patient at The IBHAS, New Delhi. (Representative picture). The country’s leading academic institutions often fail to realise the enormity of student suicides and their linkages with mental health problems. (Ravi Choudhary/HT PHOTO)
Between 2011 and 2016, 49,249 students have killed themselves. Statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that 6,654 students committed suicide in 2012; 8,423 in 2013; 8,068 in 2014; and 8,934 in 2015. The number spiked to 9,474 in 2016, says NCRB data shared by the ministry of home affairs in Parliament last week.
A cocktail of enormous parental expectations, ragging and the inability to cope with a new environment are among the factors that tip students over the edge. But what’s sometimes ignored is that students often nurse mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression which can trigger suicidal thoughts. Last week, speaking at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, President Ram Nath Kovind said India was looking at a possible mental health epidemic. Quoting a study, Mr Kovind said what was alarming was that mental health problems were also affecting the young, who were in the prime of their lives. “It [the study] says that 10% of Indians have one or more mental health problem in a nation of 1.3 billion people... If you put it in context, the number of Indians suffering from mental health problem is larger than the population of Japan,” said the President.
The country’s leading academic institutions often fail to realise the link between suicidal thoughts and mental illness. Even as counselling centres are becoming the norm in institutes such as the IITs, centres with resident psychologists who can intervene at the onset of mental problems — which often coincide with the physical and psychological changes that an adolescent or teenager experiences — are yet to become commonplace. Such mechanisms are almost non-existent at smaller institutes in the country’s tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
In 2017, the ministry of human resource development instructed all Indian Institutes of Technology to evolve induction programmes to help soothe students. Along with counselling at schools and colleges, the State must also bolster the infrastructure of helplines that promise anonymity and instant redress of a teenage student’s anxieties.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
SHAREPicture for representational purpose
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Team MP | 2018-01-01 18:17:23.0
Gurugram: The New Year party celebrations turned deadly as a 32-year-old died of falling from the 10th floor of his residential building here on Monday. The deceased has been identified as Hitesh.
The police are now trying to ascertain whether there was any ulterior motives involved in the tragic incident or was it just an unfortunate incident. The body has been sent for post-mortem.
The incident was reported at 1:30 am on January 1 when Hitesh along with his colleagues was celebrating the New Year party at the balcony of a residential society.
The joyous event, however, turned tragic when Hitish tripped from the balcony. He was rushed to a nearby private hospital, but succumbed as lot of blood had been lost.
The deceased had moved to the apartment just one and half months earlier.
"We have begun our investigations in the matter and are grilling the friends who were present there at the incident," said a Gurugram police official.
This is second major such incident in less than four months. In September 2017, Ankit, a 26-year-old graduate from IIT Kanpur, allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the 23rd floor of DLF Magnolias at Golf Course road.
Police said the main reason for Ankit's suicide was acute depression faced by him.
Law enforcement officials had claimed he was grappling with depressions and was dissatisfied with his job, which led him to take the extreme step.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Subhro Niyogi | TNN | Jan 1, 2018, 07:59 IST
KOLKATA: Parents of Soham Mukherjee, the 25-year-old IIM-Lucknow second year student who was found hanging in his hostel room on November 15, have written to Uttar Pradesh director general of police, outlining several inconsistencies in facts that contradict police's claim that he had committed suicide. Should the police fail to explain the contradictions and prove it was suicide, the duo plan to move the court and seek a CBI probe.
Pranati Bandhyopadhyay, Soham's mother, and his father, Niharendu Mukherjee, disagree with the Uttar Pradesh police's hasty conclusion that their son committed suicide and rubbish the reason they have cited for his extreme action.
"We believe Soham was murdered. He was either drugged or smothered before being hanged," said Badnyopadhyay, pointing out that it was odd that no pillow had been found in his room and that fresh blood steaks had formed on the morgue floor when his body was pulled out for identification.
According to her, there are other discrepancies in material evidence in Room No. 71 allotted to Soham. IIM Lucknow authorities and police claimed the room door had to be forced as it was locked from within. But several students and even constables who were present that day told the parents a gentle push was all that was required to open it.
"Even when we checked the room, the latch wasn't broken as it would have had the door been forced. Neither was there any crack in the door," Bandyopadhyay said. There were certain oddities too. "Where did his wallet that contained ATM/debit card, credit card, IIM-Lucknow ID card and Aadhaar card disappear?" she asked.
The couple has taken strong exception to the police's claims that they barely communicated with their son during the past 12-18 months, leading to a sense of alienation and depression that triggered the suicide.
"Soham is our only child and our world revolves around him. We were in constant touch with him and spoke 15-20 times a month. In October, due to his engagement in the placement cell, he had asked us not to call for a fortnight. Thereafter, we were in regular touch. He called on the landline on November 10 and spoke to his father and me. It was a normal conversation. On November 12, it was late when we returned after a visit to the doctor. So we didn't call him. I tried his number on November 13, 14 and 15 but there was no reply," said Badnyopadhyay.
These traders of education turned murderers must be behind bars immediately. These Professors at IIM Lucknow are criminals harassing students to death.
She further argued that there was no reason for him to be depressed as he had done his internship at Aditya Birla Group and was about to appear for placement in December.
The only discordant note that the parents have found was a jotting in his diary where he sounded perplexed about the sudden