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Updated: June 6, 2013 18:11 IST

IIT-M may enforce more norms

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From regulating students’ privacy to restricting their internet access, the proposed ideas seem to take disciplinary measures to a new level of impracticality. File Photo: S.S.Kumar
From regulating students’ privacy to restricting their internet access, the proposed ideas seem to take disciplinary measures to a new level of impracticality. File Photo: S.S.Kumar

An e-mail exchange between professors reveals a line of thinking that students find disturbingly restrictive, report Prasanth Radhakrishnan and Vasudha Venugopal

IIT-Madras may soon impose stricter disciplinary measures on students, reveals an e-mail exchange between senior faculty members that TheHindu sourced from one of the recipients. Besides what seem like unreasonable restrictions, some of the professors have made certain shocking comments about the character of students.

The e-mail thread is doing the rounds on campus at a time when students of IIT-M are brimming with discontent over what they deem ‘moral policing'. From regulating students' privacy to restricting their internet access, the proposed ideas seem to take disciplinary measures to a new level of impracticality. “Ideally, no LAN”, “Open doors and windows” (in hostel rooms) and “Shelving hostel nights and thinning down cultural nights” — are some of the ideas mooted by professors, some of whom are also administrators.

The e-mails were exchanged in late March, soon after the open forum in which students argued with administrators over rules regarding hostel nights - an annual celebration that all hostellers look forward to.

Students' feedback at the forum seems to have bothered professors quite a bit, going by what one of the professors M.P. Maiya, chairman, council of wardens, suggests. “For the next open forum, if at all there is one, we must get the questions screened by responsible students first”, he says, in order to ensure no “insulting or embarrassing question” is raised. He says this, referring to ‘I am 21 and what is your (read Warden, CCW, DoS, Director) problem if I have sex with my girl friend or whoever it is in the hostel room?' and questions like that.

Shaligram Tiwari, another faculty member, goes further and brings parents into the picture. “I apologise in stating that parents do not have enough education to recognise moral values,” he says. He suggests “generating enough fear towards wrong-doing” among students and “handling them harshly”, clarifying that “Of course, the good and academic students will naturally remain unaffected.”

When The Hindu contacted professors for their response, Prof. Maiya declined comment, while Prof. Tiwari said: “The comments were made in a particular context. Most students are disciplined. Only a handful of them need more disciplining.”

While most of the professors on the mailing list observe that many students are by and large well-behaved, professors seem to sense a crisis on its way. Narayanswamy N.S., a professor and the warden of Tapti Hostel, says: a small quantity of “impurity” in water is “ok” but a larger amount is “not ok”, the latter referring to the current situation in IIT-M. “Your life in iitm is in the academic zone and in the sports fields and in clt and in sac and oat. The hostel is the place for you to sleep. the bathroom/toilet is where you get your privacy” is the message he conveys to students, who he thinks are pampered “in the name of their being elite."

[The references are to the Central Lecture Theatre, the Students' Affairs Council and Open Air Theatre, where academic, cultural and extra-cultural activities are held]

Professors like him are also concerned by what they term “experimentation” and decline in “values”. In a comment that may outrage many, Prof. Narayanaswamy says: “It will be too late when some fellows are found to be having ‘alternate sexual' preferences and also on drugs….and we will be left with no defence...”

A few students who gained access to the e-mails are clearly enraged. As a second year student put it: “This is only an extension of other steps taken to intrude upon our privacy on campus.” She said some of the comments were “vicious” and found the comment on alternative sexuality “homophobic”.

A post-graduate student said: “These e-mails reveal tendencies in the administration that are downright dictatorial. There seems to be not an iota of democratic spirit in these faculty members. I find the comment on our parents to be particularly disgusting.” L.S. Ganesh, dean, student affairs, said that the correspondence reflects only the views of the individuals, and not that of the institution.

“We support the principle that these wardens stand by, not their words because that might have been only for effect.” He added: “Warden and hostel directors are answerable to the parents. They need authority to handle this responsibility. We have to give them certain moral rights over the students to propagate a healthy culture in the institute.”

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While it is important that students be given freedom to develop on their own, we must remember that freedom is not the license to do any thing. The hostels are made available to students at a subsidised rate through the tax payer's money, so it is not a place for anybody to do 'anything'. If a grown-up adult student decides to have sex, then he/she must either go his/her house or rent a place and satisfy their needs. I feel there could be certain regulations in place so that people use publicly funded resources for their pleasure use. The Professors should also learn to react in mature manner and not make disgusting comments about parents of students/students themselves.

from:  Manu
Posted on: Apr 30, 2012 at 20:38 IST

The Hindu is really infringing on the institute's privacy. All the students know about the e-mail exchange and outsiders should not be allowed to know about our private institute matters. To the editor, Grow up and get enough maturity and stop being so voyeuristic. The student community here is sick of your manipulative reports on our life. To all the non-IITM "commentators", this is a private issue and if you respect our privacy, stop commenting on matters that dont affect you even remotely. As students, we have handled this issue quite efficiently and satisfactorily so stop flinging dirt on something that you have no idea about or no right to comment on. The spate of articles and comments has left the student community disgusted.

from:  Surya
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 01:05 IST

Yes, wardens should spend time to look after the hostel. It is been mentioned somewhere that warden of one PG hostel visits hostel hardly once in a month and in the GBM he cooks up stories like "something odd happened in insti, so i am imposing a new rule". Does it make sense??

And these students are mature enough to decide on sex. one thing that i don't understand is Why to allow girls to boys hostel??. They have so many places to meet or to talk. why to allow them to boys rooms and crying " oh our culture getting rotten". The campus is very big ,why do they want to meet in boys rooms??, jus because you are letting them to meet.

How funny is that one fellow allow girls to rooms,another doesn't even allow mothers to room. the later warden must be "mentally ill".

tighten the punishments, everything will be under control. don't break your heads dear wardens.

you should allow mothers not the girls

from:  rajni
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012 at 17:30 IST

At 22, leaving IITM, one moves to Microsoft and and keeps writing code for the rest of the suffering majority. I get that. Yet he/she is not supposed to touch his zip or her lip.... This is atypical South Indian moral confusion. But lets not just blame the management or scream at them. How many parents ever talk about sex, ethics or morals before we leave our child in the dorm @17? Some of my fellow mates went bananas or some ate just bananas.... For the hard working kid who lived, slept and dreamed only about 0110110101100001011101000110100001110011 (Math in Binary), the first step into single, uncontrolled freedom is sometimes difficult to step over.
Education in every field starts young and remains etched forever... Just as it is easy to cram for M,P,C, so it is to learn about moralities and ethics and our own sexuality! Perhaps, then this whole damn thing will become moot?

from:  Dr. Sarath S.
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012 at 07:29 IST

For all the people over who think IITans have strayed away from the line,let me tell you
We are a responsible set of citizens of the country.If you could actually see the number of blood donor requests honoured by the students,you wouldnt dare to raise your voice against them again. As for the sex comment ,It is not a veiw all the students share(though i am not saying it is wrong).You have to accept that the institute has 7000 students of various cultures including those outside India.
The problem that is faced is the prejudice against students in the institute.
Every one assumes that we smoke ,booze and are addicted to drugs.The percentage of such students is very low.We expect to be treated like normal people and be trusted,but we feel we are being looked down as criminals for no fault of ours
As for the dude who said he saw the booze culture during the cultural fest,there are lots of visitors as participants.Most of the students are too busy organizing the fest to actually chill out

from:  uday
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012 at 01:57 IST

To anyone who says we (IITians) are spending Tax-payers money, please
try to put a check on the canteens of parliament where chicken Biryani
is served at Rs.12.50, leave apart the bigger issues (2G,
commonwealth, whatnot). All of us have toiled for 2/3 years to get in
so if you have the same guts GETIN. The administration at IIT is full
of people who are hypocrites, obviously there are some good people who
are keeping the institute running. To all the outsiders, Please do not
judge a situation where you are not at all involved. Whether it be the
CCW office, or Academic section, security section or any other
administrative office, all of them are ridiculously managed. Instead
of moderated priced stores for students we are being charged insanely
and preposterously (eg the FruitShop where rates are twice the market
or the night canteen where you have specific items at rates 4 times
normal). You get courses allocated by a computer software which
involves "random variables" to perform it.

from:  suraj
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 23:05 IST

I feel IIT profs , they themselves ruining the reputation of the Institute. If a guy is desperate to do mistake no one can stop him. Instead of posing these Jaffa rules, harden the punishment if any one found guilty.
About opening doors if guests are inside--
how stupid is that?? in the campus of 650 acres do they think that only hostel room is the only place do immoral things??
and one warden doesn't even allow mother to visit her child's room,How perverted that warden.Doesn't ppl distinguish 40yrs old mother and <25 old gf or harlet??
and about mitr escorts...
why dont they tighten the security where they are claiming danger spots?? Arranging powerful lights and guards dont cost you much.

Dear wardens,
If you really want to stop so called rotten culture, instead of spending whole time at house let wardens to do surprise visits, if u any one find any1,punish hardly. instead of posing new rules just do your duty honestly.

from:  samps
Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 at 19:42 IST

@Prakash: When did sex become an "unethical activity?"
@ Antara Darshan: The reputation of 'The Hindu' is not flimsy to be "destroyed" by an article. Perhaps they should only publish articles that agree with you? Its a newspaper. People are allowed to express their opinions freely here. Your problem surely lies elsewhere.
Comments by many readers favoring stricter rules only shows that our society has a long way to go before it matures.

from:  vsubroy
Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 at 00:46 IST

Its really unfortunate that such situation has arisen in the
institute.Its human behavior to resist various restrictions being
imposed.Professors should understand that curtailing freedom is not at
all the solution to this mess as this will instigate students all the
more and worsen the situation.Such comments from talented professors
are shocking and disheartening.Parents are from diverse backgrounds
but in no way they lack moral values.There should be proper initiative
from both ends to discuss and reinforce rules(if at all) which are
acceptable to both parties.In case professors try to dominate the
students,it will surely lead to turmoil.IITM has been in existence
since 1958 and since 50 years none such situation had arisen.Its just
the slight difference in attitude which has to fit in
comfortably..that's what generation gap is.But surely,students should
keep their private affairs well outside the campus and obviously for
seeking physical pleasures,hostel isn't the place!

from:  Rituraj
Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 at 00:23 IST

I felt compelled to respond to PrasadSN, allegedly a current student at IIT. He says that IIT students earn the taxpayer subsidy for the duration of their study just by virtue of cracking the JEE exam after Class XII. This again is non-sense and goes to show his ungrateful nature and his sense of entitlement. You earn taxpayer subsidy not on the day you crack the JEE, but over the next 4-5 years of study. In fact -- in an ideal world -- the taxpayer subsidy would depend on your performance at the institute and your fee would vary each semester based on your GPA. Just be grateful that taxpayers are generous enough not to turn the screws on you so tightly! Stop complaining.

from:  Pavan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 23:04 IST

I agree with many of the comments here - IITM is an educational
institution which is free to set its own rules and regulations. If you
are a student there and are not willing to abide by it, you are free
to stay outside or leave it. IIT's main purpose is education and it is
well within its rights to put safeguards in place as it sees fit.
Those who talk about democracy should understand that the institution
has the right to exercise its privileges and create an atmosphere that
is conducive to learning too, just like the students' right to reject
it. If you are 21 and you want to have sex with your girlfriend, please do
so by all means. Only, don't do it in the campus if the rules don't
allow you to.

from:  Jagan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 19:57 IST

Dont get the point the profs are trying to make here... the students are humans first, then citizens of India and then IITians... as long as students are passing, getting their grades and meeting the academic criteria set by these profs themselves ... profs have no right to look into what else a student does ... being an IITian, I know that even the toppers, do go to parties, have gfs, drink and have fun.. it should be left to the student to decide how much time he wants to study and how much to other things... if he gets lower grades, that by his choice and he will suffer later on.. and if he gets good grades thats by his merit... On the point of tax payers money... its like saying that if an employer pays salary to his employee... the employee has no right to go home, drink, party, sleep etc after work... as long as an employee is fulfilling his duties, employer has no right to meddle into what he does after work...

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 17:20 IST

This is crazy. For centuries the 'controllers' of our society have imposed their notion of moral values on us. We see that being done by religious leaders, political leaders, etc. For example, women are told to sit at homes and behave in a 'certain' way, Valentine's day celebrations are attacked. Our freedom of speech and expression have been constantly curtailed or monitored. Now even IIT-M profs want to do that on adult students! What difference is there between them and Taliban, Sri Ram Sena, Shiv Sena - who also want to control the society based on their moral values? As long as nobody is harming an other (or themselves) physically or mentally, I don't see why grown up people cannot be given the freedom to choose how they conduct themselves.

from:  Nishanth Ulhas Nair
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 15:44 IST

Most of the comments above are by people who have absolutely no idea about what really transpired in that meeting. Your views are based on a manipulative article based on a private thread that professors used to vent their anger on the indecent behavior of one selfish uncouth student who voiced his opinions in a derogatory manner. When compared to other institutions, IIT-M is a paradise. There is no curfew, dress-code etc. Boys are allowed to speak and mingle with girls freely. The only restriction imposed till date are a ban on drinking, smoking and sex. Passive smoking is really a terrible problem here. Infact, during hostel nights, drunk students misbehave with girls and one student lost his life after falling from the second floor in a drunken state. It is because of a few selfish students that me and the rest of the students suffer as the institute is forced to enforce extra rules. Most of those who complain should realize that they represent a miniscule fraction of the students

from:  Surya
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 14:30 IST

I passed out of IIT Madras in 2006. I also have the dubious distinction of being thrown out of my hostel by the 'Dean Students' in the last semester for exposing the adulteration in raw materials in the hostel mess. Having personally experienced the iron hand with which the current administrators wish to deal with the students, I can say with confidence that the present measures are symptomatic of a wider rift between the professors and the students.Unfortunately there is a growing horde of professors who are completely unaware of the culture and social mores of an IIT and are not even willing to understand the origins of a unique culture which has evolved over the past 50 years and has produced some of the best talent in the country. If IITians are presumed to be smart, they are smart enough to understand the implications of drugs and premarital sex. If the professors feel otherwise it is time they engage the students in bilateral initiatives rather than pass unilateral diktats.

from:  Rahul Apte
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 14:28 IST

Everyone is entitled to their view. But their views should not be imposed on others unless there is a majority vote on it. If the majority of the faculty vote for moral policing, then yes go for it. But do not start treating the students like kindergardens. They need to learn to be responsible, socially aware, and excel in curriculam. Excellence in academics should not be the only goal as they will spend rest of their lives based on what they do, how they mature in the college days..

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 14:14 IST

siddhartha is right. The point is not about a single student wanting to have sex in his room. When the authorities decide to have an 'open' forum for various people to put forward questions, there will always be something like this. What do they mean by 'responsible students' screening out questions? If they feel embarrassed to answer, it is those administrators who are insecure, in which case, only professors who can respond in an 'unembarrassed' way should occupy positions of responsibility involving welfare of students. Don't try to be a doctor if you can't stand the sight of blood/flesh. One of the profs in this infamous thread is actually the head of the counselling unit that has been set up for students. How can they trust and call the helpline( which has been claimed to have been set up to prevent suicides etc. ) if the head is homophobic/ intolerant? A person in such a position must have an open mind to deal with issues. How can you ask students to have their doors/windows open?

from:  nikhil.iitm
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 13:54 IST

Appalled by the first few comments condoning moral policing.... why don't you righteous people first rid the country of female infanticide, eve teasing, dowry et al ... rather than try to restrict the private lives of students ... i am sure the same people (making the comments supporting moral policing) are the first ones to demand dowry and beat up girls who are drinking in a club all in the same of our 'great Indian culture' ...shame on you!

from:  Ddeka
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 13:48 IST

This is very sensitive and serious subject. Many times in article
word mentioned 'moral value.Moral value have broad meaning,In
context of article and as generous i can say, manner,discipline
and decency if people are talking in the age of 20+ it seems that
our nurturing age passed without essential knowledge or we have
been not graduated by our parent/guardian.These are the subject
of nescent stage of life.In this age if administration think of
reform in behavior through strict law that would be of course
ineffective hence think tank must add on authentic moral value
subject in institution because moral engineering is more
important than any other engineering.

from:  rehan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 12:38 IST

It is time for administrative people to realize that the students are
old enough and responsible enough to take their own decision.They can
decide what is right and wrong .The right to freedom of speech and
expression has no meaning whatsoever in this country. It is downright
ridiculous to assume people will be responsible enough only when they
are 60 yrs old.Instead of having a rigid mentality that sex, drinking
and smoking should be shunned as they are not a part of Indian culture ,
it is time for a change in mindset and be more liberal.

from:  Supreetha
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 11:29 IST

Students can learn both good and bad by living it. Then, it is upto them
to decide which path they choose. Alternatively, they can be cautious in
their life by seeking guidance from their role models or parents.Also, I
respect the comment of Mr. Ayyappa 'preserve your purity for future partner'. This might help them discover more about social responsibility. There was lot of thought about US culture. I am sure even there premarital sex is not recommended by American elders.Thanks Hindu for bringing out this beautiful discussion.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 11:25 IST

This comment is directed at a Prasanna
I am also a student of IITM when there were no restrictions I enjoyed
my education there did my part in research and now I am also one of
the tax payers who pay for the education of fellow students at IITM
but I dont understand your dictorial tendency to supress students from
doing what they want and do what u want.
IITM was my home where I had the freedom that I dont have now after
coming out from there sometimes I wish I was back there but the way
things are going down in there its apparent that the adminstrators who
like with your conservative thinking(that at present is effecting the
youth and the country in every possible way) are just trying to make
the Institute from a place for innovation to a factory of robots.People can question the students when they are not giving the results in academics and research but that is not the case then why do you want to make students serve a sentence in a prison for the crime of clearing JEE.

from:  sunny
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 10:57 IST

It is for all those who have commented against IIT students and kind
of culture which they have created around the campus by efforts of several years. I, an alumni of IIT Mumbai, severely condemn this practice of professors for challenging the freedom of students. I want to mention that it is not merely the academics of IITs, it is the multi disciplinary extracurricular activities which students are engaged in have played a pivotal role in preparing the true representatives of this nation around the globe.And regarding the concern of disparity in rights with other engineering colleges, I will say if they have potential they can also create an environment according to their own priorities or else its better for them to consider such freedoms as an incentive for IIT students and keep quit.

from:  Anuj Pareek
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 10:21 IST

It remembers me about the Indefinite strike that happened in my college a few months ago. Though it is not as prestigious and privileged as IITs it still is a most sought after frontline college in the state - which is actually gaining a dubious distinction of hosting students suicides in the recent past.
You IITans talk about 'having sex a girl in your room' as your right. But what they fought for was right to privacy which is very basic to human existence.Can you digest the fact that a woman dean inspects frequents hostel rooms in the name of inspection and chides away students for sleeping in the room with bare chest - not wearing anything 'to cover their body' and stands near toilet to tell those inside that 'its time to be in class room not in toilet.come out!!'.
whether you believe or not but that's what did happen in my college.
ok fine.i am not trying to sell my whining story here i just wanted to record here that they went unnoticed without attracting much attention. even with all those restrictions you IITans still are in a better position. because people atleast get to hear what you say. ofcourse this is not to be taken reason to be complacent. my point is freedom becomes one of the basic need besides food, clothing and shelter for students particularly when they are in their formative years.

from:  E.Sundaravathanan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 09:08 IST

Here comes the moral police! Shame on you guys, clean up the rest of India full of filth, bribery, dowry, girl-child killing then criticise an IITian. The entire stupid generation of indians bewteen freedom fighters and current 20 somethings is completely rotten, as soon as they see somebody doing well, they must bring them down. My fellow IITians, ignore these idiots, life is guaranteed success if do not self destroy, keep working hard.

from:  NBakshi
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 08:38 IST

I see a comment from one "Arun", a current IIT student saying merrymaking is funded by students themselves and not the tax payer. This is simply non-sense. All money is fungible. If taxpayer subsidy is removed, your fees would skyrocket. Then, try asking your dad for money for merrymaking and see what happens! Mr Arun seems to be totally logically challenged! All the complainers among current students at IIT need to understand that they should maintain the decorum of the institute or simply leave. Nobody is forcing you to study at IIT or to stay in the hostels. I am sure there are many other desperate students that would love to replace you if you leave the institution.

from:  Pavan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 06:35 IST

The fact that we are able to discuss and deliberate this issue, albeit unnecessary, points to the fact that we are able to exercise our freedom without an axe looming over our heads. This issue would probably be blasphemous in most countries. Given that we are a "FREE" country, I fail to understand what the hullabaloo is about. Freedom does not come with limitations. You are either free or you are not. Period! I graduated from an IIT myself and like to believe that I am just as human as the others around me are and am susceptible to the temptations of life. Unfortunately a lot of people in this country seem to believe that we are some special species who are expected to only work, acquire theoretical knowledge and not explore ourselves and the world around. The world is not all black and white and the process of self discovery involves exploring and understanding all the gray in between. Anyone who does not understand this has clearly not explored life and isn't entitled to a comment.

from:  Ashwath K
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 02:08 IST

I am an ex-IIT graduate. Some of the comments address how ridiculous
the whole policing thing is, but quite a few comments above reflect
why there is a problem. For eg, those who say "Indian culture". Perhaps you mean Arabic and Victorian culture. AFAIK, pre-Arab and pre-Victorian Indian culture had a place for open and healthy expression of sexuality.
Secondly, about "shattering parents dreams" and "responsibility" and "subsidies". Students have a responsibility to be sincere in their work. But what they do with their partners is no one's business, and I would hate to see tax money wasted policing this. To remind you, subsidies are not donations or charity here---the students earned it by qualifying through the JEE. The last I checked, the opportunity to >earn it is open to all in India. Please think for yourself, and please don't parrot some medieval nonsense. "Purity" and "character" has very little to do with consensual sex, whatever you have been indoctrinated.

from:  PrasadSN
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 01:07 IST

It's absolutely shameful that IIT-M behaves likes this. One expects better from those
who study science and technology. Culture, like science, is fluid and changes, except for some fundamentals. The fundamentals of Indian culture are not to harm anyone and to not be deceitful. It's the same old story of the old guard being scared of younger people and trying to impose morals from 50 years back on them. There's more to young people's freedom than hormonal surges. It's about privacy, personal growth, the right to have conversations, the right to explore. You don't really expect complete has-beens like faculty at IIT to understand that. The only reason they are in a teaching profession is because they didn't really have the guts to be entrepreneurs. So much easier to teach a little, and consult with some multinationals on the side, than actually have the guts to go do something that requires real performance and dedication.

from:  Yamini
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 01:03 IST

As a parent of a female student in IIT-M, I am most concerned by this. I have brought
up my daughter to make good judgment, and understand the consequences of her
behaviour. I have met my daughter's classmates, and whilst they are still young, they are all responsible. By infantilising them, you're making things worse. Tomorrow, if she goes abroad for her Masters, will the wardens follow her there too? The foundations of character have already been set. By not giving them freedom, you are forcing them to be dishonest and increasing the stress on them. Perhaps the profs at the institute have nothing better to do than to sit around and fantasise about the private and personal lives of students. If she can marry at the age of 18, and vote at the age of 18, why can't she be given some privacy? This smacks of older men feeling jealous of young people and the opportunities in their lives. Shame.

from:  Kaveri Vaidyanathan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 00:56 IST

I think IIT-M has really hit lows here. Instead of focusing on things that would get
them academic status worldwide (they may produce good graduates, but the quality
of their research is quite poor), they want to engage in micro-managing the lives of adults. It's absolutely absurd. It's also a hangover of the caste-ist, sexist professors who teach there. The truth is, they don't want people to broaden their minds, but only score well enough to land a mid-level job in some big IT company. Adults who are subject to such absurd rules and thought control will never end up being risk-takers and entrepreneurs. The state of education in Chennai makes me sad. To think I grew up there and graduated from IIT-M. Things have certainly become worse.

from:  Ramalingam
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 00:51 IST

Please don't penalize the whole student community in the Institute for a handful of so called wrong doers. If somebody cast illegal vote, you cannot repeal the right to vote of the nation. Please for god sake change the way you govern.
our national leaders themselves are historically known for their experiments in sex and adult life. When I was in IIT M it meant freedom. I used to think, why such freedom is not emphasized elsewhere in other institutes. They concentrate on how a person behaves than how he is performing or contributing to society. It does matter to value moral but it is a necessity to value freedom to explore to realize the value of moral. Or else it will be like religion, where nobody has seen god but can talk tons about god. It was the freedom what saints possessed to experiment in their life to realize the ultimate truth. No amount of reading or teaching can match experiences and this idea can never be disputed.

from:  senthil
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 00:27 IST

First, it is quite disappointing that the Hindu would manipulate the views of the professors in such a manner just for the sake of cheap publicity. I was present at the forum and was disgusted at the way the student was raising points. Most of my fellow students agreed that his stance and statements were indecent, disrespectful and in low taste. Most of the students here (myself included) do not take part in activities like boozing, smoking or have sexual relationships. Infact the above measures to crackdown on smoking is welcome as most of us are affected by passive smoking. It is because of a few selfish students (like that uncouth gentleman) that the majority suffer. The thread that was leaked by students (I do not believe for an instant that a professor leaked it) was infact, a means to vent their fury on the derogatory comments raised. In my four years, I have not come across one instance of moral policing. Even the hostel nights went without incident. Let us not misuse freedom.

from:  Surya
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 23:33 IST

It appears, the situation in the college is going from bad to worse due to some power yielding narrow thinking proffessors in the administration. I have not met a single proffessor of this kind so far in the last one year and am surprised to find their names and words being mentioned here. It tells after all, IITM is just like the rest of the country with some wrong people in high places. I think they are now excited about introducing new rules which are in line with "our culture" and which protect the student community from evil "western influences". They dont want to see students as individuals or grown ups. What is stopping these people from thinking broad mindedly? Or have people from RSS and like minded groups infiltrated into the campus?

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 22:33 IST

The Indian way - blame the other and wash our hands ! It is clear that there are issues with both the sides.
These students have proved themselves before entering the campus. Thanks to those hectic coaching classes which helped to effectively crack JEE. But many lose their interest in studies and consider it as a side business once they enter the campus. They have free internet, free LAN with amazing speed, lot of pirated movies and what not. They already got the IIT tag and all they want is to somehow get out of the IIT with a certificate and a job, with as less hardwork as possible. But there is a minority of students who are brilliant and hardworking, which makes our hopes meaningful.
Well, there is enough issues with teachers too. It is stupid to think that students of this age can be controlled by force and restrictions. Teaching and learning shouldn’t be bookish, and when it is, those books will be thrown away, if not burnt.

from:  sree
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 22:09 IST

IIT is the prestigious institute and student are more precious than
IIT. Current IIT’s brand is so much known in the world is not
because of few great professors, it is all because the JEE qualified
students. They are showcasing their talent on world platform in
all walk of life. It is the freedom of think, which bring all the
creativities in the mind of IITians.The internet is only source
connecting them to other world. And,if authority put restriction on
it, then this will seriously brings a barrier on the highly fertile
mind. Ask to those professor( ban supporter) did they qualified
JEE and had lived the life on IIT hostels. Answer will be obvious
they haven’t experienced. I am graduated from IIT-Kharagpur and I
guess i can better tell u the experience than these media and those
pro-ban profs. Internet is only source of quick entertainment in
the college and major souce of knowing world cutting edge
technology. They (pro-ban profs) shouldn't curb this.

from:  Sumit Jha
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 21:54 IST

I'm a student of IITM. I'm not just concerned, but downright disgusted at these Orwellian ideas among the administrators of what seems to be an institute that thrives to create the leaders of tomorrow. The only genuine reason why IITs are so special is (or atleast was) the pure and uninhibited freedom they offered. Not exceptional teaching (Courses in online platforms like Coursera are INFINITELY more interesting than the current curriculum which probably hasn't changed over 15 years) OR excellent research opportunities (I rather not talk about the quality of the labs in a public thread). This freedom fed our creativity and helped us explore different identities and find our passions. That is until now.
Knowledge can be transferred but wisdom has to be discovered. What a man does in his castle is his business and he has the right to enjoy this everywhere and not just the toilets. Primitive techniques of moral policing are adopted by a group who get awkward around "alternate sexuality"

from:  Nirmal S Kartha
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 21:41 IST

I am a current student of IIT Madras and I feel the views presented here and the comments there after do not reflect the real situation. Everyone here thinks IITians are going homophobic and/or drug addicts! We are not against admin keeping checks on us, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. Every time the council of wardens meet, that line is extended, stretched really, to be precise. From random raids in any room at any god-forsaken time, Administration has gone on to take desperate measures like having an open room all the time and what not! Even IITians have a life,they deserve a life (not just in a toilet!), or should they go to the court screaming for their right to privacy or right to have a girlfriend or right to choose the sex of their partner. The problem were never the RULES, the problem is the 'mentality' of admin to actually think about making them. One step from the admin side will really cool things down, we just want to be trusted and we guess, we are trustworthy

from:  Niraj Yadav
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 21:19 IST

It is a really sad situation. The comments section is also upsetting given that there are some alumni from IIT supporting the Professor's statement. Why nobody is discussing the underlying philosophy and assumptions these Professors are subscribing to? Any organization needs to have certain rules for its proper functioning, but it doesn't mean they can strangle personal choices. May be the discussion should be framed as to when people reach adulthood and can make their own choices regarding whatever it is important to them. What is wrong in a relationship based on mutual consent? And the argument that IITians are beneficiaries of tax payer's money and hence their personal choices should be restricted is clearly absurd. It is also sad to note that India's premier institutions haven't come out of a paternalistic moralizing system. Don't know what the rest of the institutions that are looking up to IITs take home from this.

from:  Vishnu
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 21:14 IST

Educational Institutions are temples. Strictly one should follow sanctity (both teacher and student)and student duty is pursuit of knowledge nothing-else and teacher has to impart that. Other pleasures may be obtained elsewhere. Oh teacher / student! follow the moral code of contact and be a role model for future generations.

from:  K. Arun
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 20:52 IST

I am a former student of sathyabama , and i totally agree to this article. people like Mr. Jeppiaar are living in the archaic stone-age world. The institutions in the state, especially the tech ones around chennai are stifling creativity in this era of the internet.In workplaces, we find difficulties in interaction with the modern gender, which is an embarrassment and some of the folks from other parts of the country where professional education is a dream are startled by such a pathetic idea.

from:  Jeganath.J
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 20:31 IST

The issue here is whether one is willing to abide by the moral ethics that one has. Yes, if you say 'I want to do whatever with "my" body', then you are entitled to that "right". But that does not serve the virtue of having good moral ethics. India has for long has been the good image for the west in having good morals. Let us not tamper with that.

from:  Samuel
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 20:28 IST

If you are 21 and can do whatever you want anywhere in campus,they are
the professors to impose any kind of rules for discipline in the
institution.Did they come to study or to shatter their parents dreams?

from:  Sabari Ganesh
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 19:35 IST

If everyone was a little more open minded, things will not come to a standstill

from:  mudit
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 19:31 IST

The points brought out in the discussion are all true and no one is
wrong. But it remains that being an institute which has the best Engineering Education in India (and should I add the best Electrical Engg Dept in the world excepting maybe the Americas) I feel the purpose of the institute is lost if you come here to just get high and have sexual intercourse. The point remains that you are a free thinking individual and you have your basic rights. But this is a government funded and run institute and we owe it to the government to repay or should I say we need to give back to this country. But all the same, the point of losing the purpose of having an engineering college which produces some bright minds who choose to go into something else and not engg. is plain stupid. I should remind one and all that we are the best and we will be the best. The media just wants some juicy stuff to put up on its pages so that it can increase readership but this is really terrible.

from:  Sufiyan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 19:18 IST

My request is that the professors stop harassing students with
homophobic emails and use their power and position to turn the attack on
students. As for students you are mature enough to understand that being
in an IIT does not make you the cat's whiskers.You are there to study,so
study and pass out. You have all your life afterwards for late night

from:  Ms. Sangeeta Das
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 18:59 IST

I think these professors underestimate the rebellion in youth. The more you try to restrict them - the more they will find ways to break the rules and will turn reclusive. And yes, the last time I checked India's constitution, it makes an individual an adult at 18 - and there is certainly no legal argument that can be made restricting a 21 year old student having intercourse in the walls of his room - married or not.

from:  Sanket Korgaonkar
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 18:54 IST

I was at IIT Madras from 2000 - 2005, and I loved the place. While I
am fairly distraught by what is happening over there, I see some
silver lining.I always used to think that IIT Madras was at risk of being of being attacked by Islamic terrorists, because it is a "high value" target. However, I think things have changed a bit now -- given that the Taliban has actually taken over the management of the institute. They usually don't attack their own kind.

from:  Akhilesh
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 18:36 IST

For all those who have made the above comments. I just have only one thing to say.If you are not a student of IIT, Never speak about what students do.Everything you say might be a image of media or whatever. Try being a IIT student.We guys are studying on your tax money, okay so what, Its not you who qualified IITJEE. When we are given too much pressure to do the things, then we should be given freedom too.

from:  Sundar
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 18:25 IST

'It's hard to think of anything like IIT anywhere in the world. It is
a very unique institution." Bill Gates, Microsoft. this quote tells us
the quality of our premier institutes in the past. As a alumni of IIT,
i am proud to say that it is god's gift to pursue studies in these
IITs. vested interests of politicians degraded the quality of these institutes. once upon a time IITs were pure technical institutes, grooming talented people by providing all the educational support and with lot of freedom. It was like the air in IIT filled with technical thoughts.
The freedom provided to students, made them handle all the activities
and build leadership qualities, an important asset to be carried in
successful employee / employer.

from:  venkatakiran
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 18:20 IST

One of the comments above says "IIT is a temple of Learning". A
wonderful statement! I am an M.Tech student from Tuticorin. If a student
is involved in activities like sex, drugs and such unethical activities,
he is worth nothing. He is useless. I'm not from a premium institution.
Still, I know that technical education demands a lot of time and
discipline. So I think these students must be expelled. No use of
bringing mere rules.

from:  Prakash
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 17:37 IST

The institute was established to strive for excellence in technology 50
years ago. 50 years later they have incorporated various other
departments and degrees. The brand-name is always and will always be grad owned. Any other student/professor not a part of JEE process
is as good as a bad cook there. Whether it be learning/teaching , there is always history.

from:  Sunder
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 17:03 IST

The average age of a new entrant into these institutes is 18 years. They are adults for god's sake and ought to be treated likewise. Its highly disturbing to see how the elderly (mis)treat the young. Respect the individual's privacy. Are we really progressing? I think not. Even ancient India was much more liberal than whats happening in our times. Another instance of being let down by my countrymen, really ashamed.

from:  Kushaal
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 17:01 IST

I find it incredulous that a private conversation between professors at an academic institution is worthy material to publish in a national newspaper, and constitutes as a serious breach of privacy. As a student at IITM, and having read the actual mail conversation, I think the snippets of the mail in this article are severely taken out of context. Speaking to one of the professors concerned, he made it explicitly clear that not a single measure was proposed. Several professors were expressing their frustration at the kind of questions and remarks that students raised. I do not imagine my own parents (or those of a majority of other students) reacting differently to the questions thus posed.
The administration at IIT has been far freer than any other academic environment, but they are still answerable to parents, the government and the media. The institute rarely infringes on student's privacy, and I think students should think twice before infringing on the privacy of professors.

from:  Arun Chaganty
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 16:40 IST

Why has this whole article turned into a discussion about one student wanting to have sex in his room? Look at the other issues. The administration wants to remove doors, windows and LAN. They are denying privacy! One professor has already commented that parents do not have enough education to recognize moral values! Another hostel warden has compared alternate sexual preferences to doing drugs and that they will be left with no defense against this! What is wrong with them?

from:  siddartha
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:50 IST

It is really paining to see that SOME of the IIT [temple of learning] students behaving badly telling that they can do whatever they want in their rooms etc. If that is the case, he should marry that girl and lead a proper married life rather than spoiling the good atmosphere of such a reputed institute. As one of the alumnus of IIT says, IIT is a temple of learning.

from:  Malathi
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:48 IST

What many of the so called supporters of the administration don't realize is that they are justifying the means with intent. Sure its understandable that some professors may feel that the present
generation's attitude is "Blasphemous" or "Vulgar", but that doesn't
justify the means they are taking. If one says that the work of
students is to only study and nothing else then one can go on to say
that the work of professors is to only teach and they shouldn't decide
anything outside class rooms or labs and should stop there. But we all
know that the system should be holistic for both the students and the
professors. If the professors want a certain behavior, one would
expect such people to realize that restricting it would probably do
just the opposite of what they intended.
One can also wonder that if this the tone of their views, are they
deserving enough to hold power!

from:  Vinit
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:37 IST

Reply to a question must be an answer and not a ban to the questioning itself...

from:  Harish
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:27 IST

Quite a few comments here mention about 'tax payer' money being used for merry making of the students. as a student of iitm, i would like to clarify that tax payer money is not used by students for merry making. the hostel nights are funded by students themselves (amount is collected in advance by the hostel council). if any student indulges in drinking, or smoking etc, it is their own personal cash that they are spending on it. I would also like to point out that there are professors who smoke and booze inside the campus (both in their office rooms and campus residential quarters). By the logic of many people commenting here, they should do this outside the campus by renting their own homes rather than availing campus residence. College is meant for the overall development of a student. He/she learns to distinguish between right and wrong, be mature etc. When will they learn to be mature adults if not in college life?

from:  Arun
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:24 IST

our entire Indian education system, in large is generating tons of
human computers who can just execute what they have learned and can
never think and find new realistic solutions to the problem that we
are facing as a country.. IIT's were the only exceptions ..and hence
its quite sad to see even these last rays of hope fading ..and makes
me think are we going to realize the true Indian dream of what once we
were in the past by giving enormous contributions to science art and
architecture...or are we going to end up being a society of human
computers which can follow the protocols taught to them..

from:  Dinoop
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:15 IST

I am from IIT (one of the older ones!), and I can say confidently that
the real education at an IIT comes from the campus life, and very little
is learned from the professors. Most of the professors are unimpressive
in their intellect and their drive for good research work.

People who support professors should remember that IITs are known for
their students, and not for their professors.

By making rules about student activities IITs will definitely stifle the
development of students. The students are not doing anything illegal.

And as for the 'culture'... there are far more important things that need
to be fixed than IITs. IITs never defined 'Indian culture'.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:05 IST

Criteria for selection as faculty in IIT is based on excellence in (technical) area of expertise and little more. It is not clear whether anyone mentioned in the article has studied morality in a scholarly manner to give out such strong opinions. It is an unfortunate fact that even those who are good their own realm could be totally ignorant and can even act as bigots. This sad fact has to be appreciated and should be considered while enforcing decisions. Positive steps which could be taken towards this include: minimizing the restrictions to be nothing more than that present is in the law of the land(note that unlike institute rules, the law of the land is deliberated upon and revised frequently in a democratic manner by the whole society); have experts in humanities specialized in morality and social order as consultants in framing rules and allow them to record their dissent if any; consider only those who have stayed in a hostel during their college life to the post of warden

from:  Harisankar H
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:05 IST

i am a student of iit m and honestly speaking half of the profs dont
know how to teach properly.....also we do some useless courses..we
also have 85% compulsory attendance....and please stop thinking that
iit students have more responsibility towards the society just
because we are funded by public taxes....if professors really want
to improve the institute level all they need to do is to restructure
the educational system....not by imposing the so called moral rules
of INDIA ...people who dont know about iits properly ,think for a
while before commenting that we have additional responsibility for
society because you really dont know whats happening inside the
insti.....from outside it may look very cool for u guys.....and u
never understand iits unless you r associated with them in someway
or other

from:  venu
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:04 IST

If the students dont know how to behave being an elite group or even
as normal students of any college let them go out into the world & see
the ways how they would be treated. My friends if you are looking at
100 persons at one glance there are 20000 persons who are looking upto
you. As members of an elite institution you are supposed to have
certain ETHICS ingrained into you & your behaviour has to reflect the
same. If you cant stand up to these responsibilities please Quit the
institution. You have a choice once having made the choice dont ever
come back & complain. Learn to behave propersly & be responsible
citizens of this country. Freedom does not come FREE. The air around
you is free but you have to make an effort to breath in the air for
you to Live. Hence nothing comes Free in Life. You have to earn the
respect by behaving properly & learning at the institutions not
behaving life FOOLS.

from:  Venkatramani
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:58 IST

profesors are absolutely right in imposing stricter norms for students. An institute is a place to learn and study, students have all the rights to enjoy and party but they should not cross a limit, after all its an IIT not a club and we are in India not USA. These students who are getting furious are not serious students they just want to cash these times to enjoy out of bound as they havent got a chance if they were at home.

from:  Abdul Ahad siddique
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:57 IST

As I read these articles on my institute, it saddens me to see such highly educated professors are forgetting their main vision and goal which is to educate the free young minds and to increase the pace of outstanding research in such an esteemed institute. Instead of thinking on a grander vision, they are wasting their precious time on petty issues like keeping the doors and windows open.

I, as a student seriously dont understand what these professors are going to achieve by watching a student's private activities.

A scenario which has worked well for the past 50 years need not be changed. The excellence of IIT students lie within the freedom they possess and I personally think that it shouldn't be curtailed this badly.
Yes, some restrictions are mandatory for disciplinary issues, but we should not be kept inside a prison which will just inhibit our thinking and thereby which will be a greater wastage of taxpayers' money.

from:  Akand Sitra
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:48 IST

It is indeed sad to see such happenings in one of the premier
institutions. While i respect the concern whatsoever the professors
and administrators may have for students i believe such policing would
only breed hatred in the minds of students. Freedom is what brings out
the best in you. Can these people say that all the students who have
passed out of IITM in all these years have not succeeded in life
because they were living in a campus where they were allowed freedom
to do things? Culture is the catchword for all these dictators. You do
not make a person successful or better by breathing down their do so by imparting knowledge. Studying at the institution
does not mean that students should not have a personal life. even more
saddening is the comments by fellow readers. i pity the kids living in
their homes. Please let the younger generation grow up and have a mind
of their own!!!

from:  Nandhini
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:44 IST

I am confused at the support these students get. The IIT students are known for their knowledge in their subjects. It does not mean maturity. So, from a moral and ethical point of view, they are no different from students of other Indian institutions.

from:  Karthick S
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:41 IST

Seems like professors just know their subjects, and very little about
life in general. They can control the students now, but they are really
naive to assume that control will produce good citizens. And besides
what statistics they have to impose control? If they are true professors
then they should public statistics which make sense and show moral
decline in students. A few student asking question about sex does not
justify any decline.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:36 IST

How come students intelligent enough to be studying at an IIT do not understand that hostel is not a private home, and that it will come with its own terms and conditions? When you use a road, you will have to follow traffic rules! You can complain if the IIT administration interferes with what you do in your private home.

Please consider the fact that the IIT LAN is provided by the tax payer. This is meant for academic purposes alone. Students pay for these facilities in most Western universities. You are expected to be a model citizen that others can emulate. This country sacrifices a lot to keep you in an IIT - remember what the common person undergoes in the daily life in this country. You are a chosen few, a lot in return is expected out of you to build this Nation!

from:  K. Subramaniam
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:23 IST

This is just plain ridiculous, when are these people going to stop
this pointless moral policing and focus on improving the
institution. This is one of the reasons why IIT's will always just
remain the best in India and never be in a position to compete with
the likes of MIT and CalTech.

@Pavan - It is the job of the government to subsidize education, they
are not doing us a favor, thats the bare minimum, also just because
their education is subsidized it does not mean they should not have a
life. I am sure glad people like you did not end up teaching in an

from:  dharma
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:18 IST

Most of the wardens in IIT-M are paranoid. Even parents aren't allowed inside the two PG hostels,Cauvery & Krishna, let alone the entry of a girl student. The warden of one of these (a man who started a meeting by saying "Fortunately we are not under RTI", and I still wonder for whom it's fortunate! What an attitude for an IIT prof!), labelled a depressed student as 'mentally ill' in one of the meetings, and went on to give an exaggerated account of this depressed student.
It's highly disappointing that at a time when issues like suicides,mess food,theft in hostels etc. deserve more attention, wardens are exchanging mails on the moral side of students!
Where were all these wardens when students complained of mess food?
What did they do regarding the theft of a large LCD TV from Brahmaputra hostel (AFAIK, not made a police case at the behest of the CCW)?
Have they ever had any friendly interaction with the students?
Above all, what example do they set aside for the students?

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:15 IST windows and open someone suggested..bcoz IITs get
subsidies they shall not complain...some of them get fee waivers too..i
guess they should be tied up in stables and forced to study...looks like
RSS and Shivsena is infiltrating IIT administration..

from:  Vinay
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:13 IST

you should not and can not enforce morality to someone, in this case
i see questionable morality of the frustrated professors who should be
thinking how much freedom should they have in allowing freedom to

from:  Rupam Ray
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:06 IST

One thing is clear from the comments above as well as the attitude of IITM administration: Chennai is never going to be a true metro.The generation and cultural gap is too big to be bridged in next few years.I am glad that I did not choose this place full of self righteous fanatics in the JEE counselling.

from:  Sachin
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 14:06 IST

This clearly shows that the senior professors at IIT M are a bit too senior. Student affairs should be handled by younger faculty who can atleast relate to the current generation of students. All this crap about culture is fine in ABVP offices not in a premier institute which wants to inculcate freedom of thought. This does not mean there should be no rules but just that there should be some sense in them.

from:  Shashank
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:43 IST

IIT students are not LKG students to be taught discipline.

from:  Roopesh P Raj
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:41 IST

IIT students are not LKG students to be taught discipline.

from:  Roopesh P Raj
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:41 IST

what has happened to IIT-M management??? Stop copying the self-deprecating rules that the self-financing colleges in TamilNadu- Jeppiar grp, Sairam grp, Velammal etc impose on their students... These are places were students and their parents are treated like slaves to the management... management is no god and ppl in management are no saints... humans are humans everywhere...

from:  Krishna Kumar G
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:26 IST

Well, it's actually very disappointing to see some desensitized, narrow minded and orthodox readers questioning the importance of personal freedom in an institute of ''National importance''. @ Mr Venkat and Ms. Darshan- are you even aware of the factors which made IIT's the premier educational institutions they currently are? It's the freedom to experiment, enjoy and understand the importance of responsibility. IIT graduates become stalwarts wherever they go because of the open, fecund and thought provoking ambiance they are exposed to. You clearly are not a product of an IIT (Or any other unorthodox college, for that matter. ). I'm pursuing my undergrad in KGP, which, thankfully, has been insulated from the effects of the cultural breakdown. But looking at the bigger picture, I see no difference between what's happening in IIT M and the general mentality that the supporters of Ram Muthalik and the Rama Sene have. Pathetic. Shameful.

from:  Student iitkgp
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:19 IST

Government is spending crores of rupees for the education of students in IITs. The funds are from taxes, paid by the poor and rich. IIT students have to study and get knowledge in the under graduate course. They can indulge in creative and other activities, when they are employed.
IIT management should enforce strict discipline and expel those who engage in activities other than academic and sports, without any mercy, which they do not deserve. As a tax-payer, I do not want my tax money to be spent for merry making by IIT students. Instead, I would like to finance some college in the rural area, where good discipline is maintained.

from:  Mahaboobjan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:06 IST

Typical conservative Indian mentality. Why is it that these professors think that by segregating the students and not allowing them the freedom to think and act and make mistakes, they wouldn't become better people? By keeping them inside a cocoon, the students would only yield useless marks and sooner or later, the inevitable crash of the possibilities of creativity will be reached. College is about making mistakes and learning from them. College is about developing ideas and starting to act with those ideas. It's about thinking freely. The most important aspect of college life is that it brings students to adulthood and maturity and learning life. The biggest problem students in a cocoon would encounter is finally going into the real world after graduating from such a despicable closed environment. At such a turning point, when everything they have learned now seems alien, they wouldn't be able to change themselves for the better.

from:  Damien Dedalus
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 13:06 IST

Outrageous are the actions taken by IITM. Kudos to The Hindu for carrying such a piece. and to all those who say that, blatantly 'sex' is not our culture, talking to females is not our culture ought to get their facts right. I ll recommend a visit to Khajuraho for futher details :) moreover, moral fundamentalism is not healthy for the growth of an individual. It not only goes against his right to free life, but also undermines the democratic principles of this country and tenets of a rational mind. Rather than putting individual rights in the moral domain we ought to put society under it. Man is not a means for the survival of the society, the equation works the other way round rather.

from:  aditya
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:49 IST

Venkat, just because a culture is 'American' doesn't make it bad. Just because a culture is 'Indian' doesn't make it better. This is more about basic freedom that the students should get as adults. We are living in India, a democratic, secular, free country. Moral policing has and never will define the country.

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:39 IST

So, if they want to enforce such laws, these laws should apply to
faculty and their kids as well. There is a law which states that no
alcohol and cigarettes can be served within 500 meters of an
educational institution. So, these professors by law and by morals
should not drink and smoke within campus and quarters in which they
reside. Nor their children use these quarters to have their birthday
parties. I am ashamed to see that the comments here actually support
such stupid moral policing. Unless it is not illegal, things can be
allowed. Even homophobia is stupid. It is legal by law (section 377).

from:  Nishit
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:26 IST

It is pretty sad that such sensitive information is leaked from one of
the most prestigious institutions in India.But after having a look at
this article one might judge that the comments by the faculty members
particularly the comments which are attributed to the parents of the
students clearly reflect not only lack of maturity but also arrogance
and illogical thinking, both of these qualities clearly reflect
conservative thinking.I wonder how a innovative student survives under
such a faculty?

from:  A A Bhagwat
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:22 IST

I'm currently a student of IIT M and there is absolutely nothing wrong in what the article depicts. Over the last couple of years the new admin has been torturing students about these issues, and all those alumni who have a high regard for their alma mater, let me tell you, the admin has not been the same as it was when you were here. The article by Kaushik Viswanath is true to the T.
There IS moral policing going on in campus. There IS an imposing of views.
I'm not saying this because I'm a teenager who hates old people. I'm saying this as a responsible adult who is aware of his rights and duties.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:17 IST

I guess things have only gone towards the worse since I completed my engineering in 2008, though our college was not as bad as these are. In the process of applying for an M.Tech seat, now after reading this article, I’m glad I did not get through GATE exam. One aspires to get into premier institutes like IITs only to excel in academics and pioneer in research and innovation. Clearly, when these things are not the focus of the institute, it is better to stay away from such institutions run by moral-policing jerks. Pity all the current IIT students. No wonder the suicide rate is so high! Shameful.

from:  Prashansa
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:16 IST

Having lived in an IITM hostel for 4 years till 2006, I can say that students and faculty do not always see eye to eye on what the students can/cannot do in the hostels. As students and faculty discover the 'freedom of the web' and the increasingly western values it brings, it is only natural for faculty to discuss how the institute should adapt with changing times.
To take excerpts from these discussions and sensationalize a few comments by individuals is not responsible journalism, and represents a new low for this newspaper.

from:  Subramanian
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:08 IST

Students are adults and in normal circumstances, should be allowed to
make their own decisions. However, the students, while staying away
from the moderating influences of family, can be led astray. And
because of the impressionable ages of those surrounding them (some of
them as young as 18), and peer pressure, the activities of one or two
can influence the actions of a large number of students. Ultimately, if
students want to be completely unsupervised, they should seek Private accommodation if their parents consent to it.
The hostel should be a place where parents can be confident their wards will have a safe, trustworthy & supervised accomodation. Many parents (and students) want such an atmosphere. Parents from outstation cannot trust Private accomodation to provide a supervised, nurturing environment. However, those students and parents who seek an unsupervised environment can always choose to live outside the hostel.

from:  Nerus
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:07 IST

One can't help but question the validity of a system which would allow
such bigoted, sanctimonious, anachronisms from a bygone era to decide
the prospects of the nation's best and brightest. I'd even venture a
guess that it's not the students here who are pampered by notions of
being elite, but rather the so called professors themselves ! For shame,
for shame!

from:  KN Iyer
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:02 IST

One can't help but question the validity of a system which would allow such bigoted, sanctimonious, anachronisms from a bygone era to decide the prospects of the nation's best and brightest. I'd even venture a guess that it's not the students here who are pampered by notions of being elite, but rather the so called professors themselves ! For shame, for shame!

from:  Nowan Der
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:00 IST

Today i believe, there is large gap between the thinking of people in Northern and Southern India. This kind of case is never seen in any other IIT. There they let students live like they want, so that they do not keep fretting about these things. I apologize if i am talking regionalism, but it is supported by the fact, that these kind of restrictions are common in many engineering colleges in South. Many physicians and psychiatrists suggest, that restrictions are good only till childhood. An adult who has the right to vote or drink, should have the right of having sex. Let them do and decide, what is good and what is bad for them. Let them booze, go out at night, let them party, let them have fun. So when they come, they realize, that its time to study. Or they will sit all night with the book in hands, but with a mind filled with sexual thoughts only.

from:  Hamzah
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:51 IST

As I read these articles on IITM it saddens me to see a highly deemed
Institute under limelight for all wrong reasons. I have frequented and stayed at IITM during my graduation and post graduation days for many conferences and seminars.
One of the most important feature that was highly impressive in IITM was the freedom. The freedom to access the net, central library, labs, professors, fellow students and even food at any possible time of the day. This freedom was so important for nurturing the wonderful climate of research and technology. The mind opens up in a free atmosphere. Curtailing this basic freedom in the name of Security, Moral Policing
sounds very absurd. What is more appalling to me are some of the comments of fellow readers! Where and How does culture come into the picture here? By Policing can culture be imbibed? To weed out few cases, the entire community of students neednot be suffocated. I hope the professors see the light of the issue and take action appropriately.

from:  Dr.Shobana
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:41 IST

yes,yes...these iitians are born to study and work. Don't let them live their life.
One suggestion : we ll lock up these guys and provide food, education. Then there won't be any other option for them...then they can't ask for their rights... only survivors are winners and they are the Future Scientists for our country....wat say ??

from:  sree
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:35 IST

I feel there is truth in the point that some IITians are "pampered". The comment "I am 21 and what is your problem if I have sex with my girl friend or whoever it is in the hostel room?" proves it. It is true that life in an IIT is much different to that of rest of the country, but it should not be up to that extent where people fail to stand even such simple and clear regulations, which if not enforced properly have great potential to shatter their own lives. They should try to recognize that immense freedom can damage their lives too. They should aim at utilizing the chance of their being IITians to the fullest extent.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:35 IST

Typical south indian orthodox views by faculties........chennai will never be a metro.......thanks to these ppl...

from:  Raghuraman
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:25 IST

If these students can learn complex math and engineering can't they be trusted to
manage their affairs? The older generation should trust the younger generation.
Trust begets trust. The sad thing our older generation do not trust themselves.

from:  PNS Aiyer
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:20 IST

Students studying in the hostel are all adults. There should not be any moral policing if they are not doing anything illegal. Why we have moral policing everywhere, which is against the spirit of democracy.

from:  Atul
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:19 IST

Mr.venkat, can u explain what do you mean by 'US Culture' that these IIT students are following?

from:  Siddartha
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:17 IST

Having done my undergrad from IIT Kanpur, I can easily say that IITs, in
general, provide best possible environment for academic, intellectual and cultural growth. Thehindu should show responsibility in publishing any news regarding IITs. We have highly esteemed faculty and wardens who very well know how to provide an environment which reflects values of an IIT along with adequate freedom to students. In general, quality of students has gone down in recent years and content of this article supports that proposition.

from:  Akhil
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:14 IST

Now, impose a burqa too. welcome to India, Taliban !!!!

from:  Milan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:15 IST

The Hindu is doing a capital job of bringing these things to public light and throwing these issues open to a public debate.

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:11 IST

Students go to IIT-M to study, to learn engineering (or sciences). I
don't see how or why the administration has any say whatsoever in what
the students choose to do in their own time with their personal life,
as long as it is not against the law. We live in a free country after
all. It is about time people quit this abominable habit of moral
policing. If these professors spent as much time and energy in their research as they do for such pointless things, IIT-M would be a much more reputed university right now. The research output of a lot of these professors (not all of them though) is quite insignificant, if not outright negligible. It's about time they got their priorities right.

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:09 IST

There are many immoral things including drug addiction tendencies among students in iitm. Its a wake up call by the institution regarding these things. When I was in iitm campus for a cultural week, I could see the kind of immoral things which was prevailing with the student community. This article presents a wrong picture of the situation and not a good stand from a reputed media hopuse like the hindu.

from:  Muralee
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:10 IST

Isn't this the case across educational institutions India; enforced minimization of personal space, the ability to think for oneself, reach at conclusions, and make choices? It's scary that conservative ideas are being imposed in spaces that ought be democratic, and promote plurality of ideas and debate. What kind of moral purity are we aiming at with such public scrutiny of every choice that an individual makes? What kind of sheepish individuals are these institutions aiming to train and churn out?

from:  Cyril Sam
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:09 IST

This is completely dictatorial. As an alumnus of IITM, the best thing I like about my college was the freedom. The sense of feeling in me that would make me think I could do anything I want. This helped me build immense confidence in myself. There are a lot more senseful ways to restrict the unwanted incidents, for example by restricting entry of girls to boys hostels. The views of the professors on the sexual preferences of students is disgusting and against the democratic spirit of India, at the time when even the Supreme Court made it clear that homosexuality is completely legal. And the remarks about the student's parents is outrageous. All in all, the thoughts of the professors regarding the students show how much disrespect they have towards the students.

from:  Dileep Kumar Patchigolla
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 11:01 IST

The homophobic and dictatorial comments indicate that the Professors need some education too.May be democracy and liberty 101 especially for Prof Tiwary. The comments about moral values above refer to the usual Indian habit of hypocrisy: I should be able to do whatever I want but moral policing should be enforced on others to preserve Indian culture.

from:  Sachin
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:56 IST

I'm very disappointed by the earlier comments on this article which are justifying moral policing. Definition of morality is not a prerogative of just a few men. Everyone has their own set of morality. Since, I'm an IIT Kanpur graduate myself, I am feeling an immense angst for both the authorities as well as the comments above. The students are not robots they are very much humans and they need their own personal space and freedom. Otherwise, they will never have an all round growth. The level of distrust shown in the IIT-M students is outrageous.
As my mother says about disciplining - "the strings of veena should be stretched only as much that it produces a melody or else it breaks..."

I'm thankful to "The Hindu" for giving attention this issue.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:53 IST

"thinning down cultural nights"--so you expect students to have become just academically oriented?.I thought all round development of students is the need of the hour "generating enough fear towards wrong-doing"--aren't we already taught that in the school&home?.I am 24 and I have gained enough experience in my life to choose between right and wrong. "The hostel is the place for you to sleep"--College starts at 8 am and ends at 6pm so are we expected to sleep from 6pm till 8am(considering that all the academic activities are to be done in the institute academic zone according to the prof.) "Most students are disciplined. Only a handful of them need more disciplining"--Step up the vigilance in the institute,identify the wrong doers and bring them under the whip rather taking decisions that would affect a 5000 + crowd in an IIT

from:  Arun
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:46 IST

What US culture? It's the culture of people all over the world with a free mind. If two adults are attracted to each other, they have sex. Who are they hurting? Last time I checked, IITians are NOT known for beating up women in a bar or blowing themselves up.

from:  c.jishnu
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:46 IST

We really are miles and miles from any kind of freedom for ourselves
and our children. This same newspaper prints news on caste violence,
governments lowering poverty lines to lower the number of the poor,
and brutally, undemocratically imposing unecological, anti-people models of development, and I never see all this talk about morality! Are we - as part of the educated middle class and elite - finally accepting that morality has nothing to do with governance and marginalised people's rights? Yet, it is so important to curb a legally adult person's right to choose a sexual partner and the time and place for indulging in sex? Really, how are they harming anyone? How will there be any change if we never let go of the control of institutions over people? Of rules and rituals over creativity, sensitivity and human relationships? Young people may choose unwisely some time but it is their lives and priorities they are making choices about. We can disagree but we cannot control and monitor.

from:  Reva Yunus
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:44 IST

Dear Mr. Venkat: Do you really believe moral values can be imposed or enforced?Can one get morality from a book, teacher or guru? Or should it come from within? Yes, no doubt US culture is shallow but look at your own culture sir, it is equally bankrupt. By Moral Policing - you will destroy whatever is left of an ancient culture and convert India into Talibanistan.

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:37 IST

In this day and age moral values are no longer applicable to the community but to individuals.Every person has his or her own set of rules and one must learn to respect the choices that the others make. Every student is different and individuality is what is expected of the elite.For individuality to grow,instructions should not be imposed on us students.Professors allow us to follow our own methodology in assignments and test,so why not allow us to follow out own ideologies in our life.Now what is the point of privacy if an institute as elite as IIT's start acting like "Big Brother".We are citizens of India first and students of IIT next.We have our rights and we do allow you to restrict us and our rights upto a certain extent but just because we have allowed you to take a piece of the cake does not mean we will stand idle and let you take the rest of the cake.We all have secrets which we prefer to keep private after all that's the definition of secret.Respect our privacy and choices.

from:  Nishanth Kottapalli
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:33 IST

Come on students dont make a mountain out of it. IIT campus should be conducive for studying. Any individual with good knowledge, thinking and character is blessed. Why waste your time and energy on unnecessary things. You wont feel good looking back on clandestine relationships. Preserve purity for your future partner.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:12 IST

being a father of a disciplined student in final year,I understand the thought processes of hostel deans.I also agree that the value system is to be inculcated by parents in their bringing up the child.Definitely the college hostel is not the place to impose the ways of behaving.College hostel is a place where students can learn how to behave in a multicultural environment and how to adjust outside.Here IITs can learn from BITS Pilani definitely.

from:  atis
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 09:59 IST

It has become fashionable to criticize everything done to keep students focussed on what they are supposed to be doing in educational institutions. In the name of freedom a minority of the students are doing things which are completely unacceptable. For example will they take their GF to their home and have sex with them before marriage? I am 100% sure that such activities will not be done by these students if they are in their homes. They do it taking advantage of their hostel environment. Wardens and faculty members must have the authority to put in place rules and regulations which they feel appropriate. Ultimately they are accountable for the physical and mental wellbeing of the hostel inmates.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 09:58 IST

Norms should also be enforced on the faculty, depending on the quality of their research, guidance, teaching and morality...

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 09:01 IST

So does a reputed newspaper like The Hindu actually want the students to use the hostel of an institute fo national importance for the kinds of activities mentioned in the article? Is that what taxpayer money is meant for? Not to mention encouraging a culture foreign to us?
What a fall for a mighty newspaper such as The Hindu! It takes decades to build a strong reputation, and then an article like this to destroy it!

from:  Antara Darshan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 09:01 IST

Moral values needs to be enforced in IIT. Even while studying IIT they students need not follow US Culture.Moral Policing is required as we are living in India

from:  venkat
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 09:01 IST

From what I read above, I understand that following an administrator-
student forum, emails were exchanged between faculty members. Were
they CC'd to students? I should think not. Then how did some students
get copies of the mails which you say you've 'sourced'?
I entirely agree with the view in the last sentence of the piece. When
once students enter the hostel of an institution, they must follow
rules that may be laid by the administrators as they are answerable to
the parents. One may be 21 years of age but if one wants to be 'free'
one must live outside of the hostel even as living away from the
family. From personal experience I know that owners of houses hesitate
to rent out premises to bunches of students (even before recent
incidents in Chennai). If you ponder why, then you will understand the
need for any disciplinary measure on students that an institution is
(Bracing myself to do a bit of calculation)

from:  C. Vasi
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 06:58 IST

Professors should have every right to express their feelings. After all, they have enormous experience handling situations. If they cannot tell when student behavior is going from being bad to worse who else will? No one is asking for big brotherism. But there have to be checks and balances. If something goes wrong tomorrow the parents will blame the professors and wardens for not doing their job.

from:  Steve
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 06:38 IST

There is no such thing as absolute freedom. IITM is a tax payer funded institute
with the main intention of creating intellectuals. If the students think the
campus has a set of rules which they do not want to adhere to then they can
choose to stay out from the campus and experiment with all their westernised
ideas which they think are cool. The tone of the article condones the students
expectations which are no way related to the institutions aims (How to get a Girl friend or what you do to her is NOT what they teach in IITs nor is the purpose why a student went to IITM), If a student complains about lack of facilities or poor staffing then it is a matter of public interest,. in my opinion the students expects IITM to be an extension of their would be University in US. The Hindu should refrain from giving space to this trivial issue.

from:  Krishna Kumar
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 06:19 IST

Shocking revelations. The true color (saffron) of the administration is revealed here. Absolute power corrupted our professors. I never had a bad impression about people like Shaligram Tiwari (who was a guide of my friend), but his comments are disturbing. I think these people should step down from the administration, take a Humanities course on Constitutional studies or those related to democracy, complete it with minimum of 85% attendance, submit all assignments/term-papers, attend all quizzes and secure a grade above 'C' to get back to their respective positions.

In future the wardens too should be democratically selected by the students, it should not any more remain as a mere bureaucratic position, as these people are no more angels. The administrators should have some minimum understanding about democratic demeanor before they apply for warden positions.

from:  Anwar Hussain
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 05:38 IST

In my opinion, the IITM administration has done the right thing by reminding the students that their primary duty as a student is to study. With late night parties on campus, I really doubt if a student can do justice to his/her engineering studies. The IIT students and their parents (or guardians) need to be reminded during the orientation program that cracking the JEE does not mean they have mastered all the engineering concepts. The very purpose of JEE remains defeated when students end up pursing non-engineering oriented careers. This trend has been reflected lately and can clearly be attributed to the casual attitude of students once inside IITs. As to the question of whether a 21 year old can have sex with his girlfriend - Definitely not on campus. This is a public institution of higher learning and not a private lodge. Even in a country like United States (which represents a more "free" society) the undergraduate dorms have a set of rules and students respect them.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 05:20 IST

It is very disturbing the way some of the faculty members are trying to impose their feudal mentality on students. How can they manipulate sex with ethics. If an adult pair is ready for it then it's their choice to do it or not. Is any professor is ready to live in his/her house with open windows and doors. The hostel is the place for students to sleep: not to interact with other students. What do you want to produce from these institutes; a group of robots.

from:  mohit jaiswal
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 04:55 IST

You IIT students have no right to complain about anything. You receive the highest subsidy from the Govt for your education, and have a responsibility to behave like the cream of society you allegedly are. You must uphold the image and decorum of the institution. No one is forcing you to study there. Just try leaving the institution for some other college and see how your future pans out. I am not a prof at IIT-M, just an alumnus of that temple of learning. Yes, the IIT campus is a temple of learning where you are supposed to apply yourselves and excel in your field of study and live up to the responsibilities your country placed on you. Poor and middle-class people pay taxes and parts of India forego even basic facilities so that you can get the best. If you want to fool around with your partners, do it off campus, leave my IIT alone. If I were a prof in charge of the hostel zone, I would impose the same restrictions, if not more.

from:  Pavan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 03:31 IST

The whole "Thought control" exercise is being followed by
establishments at varying degrees. What is more shameful is that the
young minds that believe that can achieve something different or bring
about solutions to society's problems are being restricted in the name
of *morality* and are groomed not to think outside the box as
represented by those *embarrassing* questions?
Shame! I think, every year the conservative lot of Instructors/Wardens at IIT should pass a *competancy* test - just to remain eligible in the Campus. Period!

from:  prasanna
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 03:27 IST

What we see here is a dangerous mirroring of our politicians attitude. I'd say this is a generation-wide malaise. During & immediately after independence, we had leaders like Nehru, Patel, Abul kalam etc. who were bold, free-thinking, western-educated and respected and believed in these ideals. Hence, we see them enshrined in our constitution. The next generation of Indians grew up in an environment where democracy was still trying to find a foothold in our slave-oriented-beliefs. They believed they're inferior and were confused. This is reflected in the fact that this wast he time that the sceptres of girl-child murder,dowry and factionism reared their ugly heads. While great, free-thinking professors once established and presided over IITs, we now have a generation of professors reared on superstitions and a false sense of supremacy. I studied at an IIT and strongly believe that the youth have to move ahead and see that this kind of dictatorial attitudes are fiercly nipped in the bud.

from:  Gurudutt
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 03:26 IST

This issues raised by the faculty members of IITM are genuine and needs
to be tackled. The way to do this can be more freely spirited but
nevertheless one should not disregard their concerns on new generation

from:  Kevin Fernandes
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 03:08 IST
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