The Brand

110 Comments

This story (Late night internet chats land IITian in court) [Link] caught my attention today. No it was not just because of the judge making the man pay for the accommodation of the woman but for the way the word “IIT ” occurs in the headline and inside the piece. This is all the more confounding since the man in question does not now study in the said institution (he works for a “multinational firm in Gurgaon” ) and even more importantly there is nothing in his IIT education that has any bearing on what happened. Some may claim that his desire for late night chats with women stem from the social situation in school and to them I would say this is hardly an IIT-only phenomenon, many lonely men from different educational backgrounds, usually those with highly gender-imbalanced student bodies, are found to engage in such nocturnal activities.

Of course this report  is not an isolated case. Every time a person who went to IIT  does something noteworthy (be it good or, as in this case, possibly bad), it is inevitable that his alma mater will be referenced —“ex-IIT releases guitar CD”, “IIT alumni directs movie”, “IIT man writes bestselling novel”, “IIT alumni writes awesome coffee-table book”,  “IIT students start political party”,  “IIT man kills sister“, “IIT graduate acts in porn flick”. Okay I made the last one up but you do get the point.

Well so do I. And so does everyone.  The label “IIT” is a label of excellence, that has transcended its original “premier institute of technology” stamp  to become a guarantee of overall grooviness, in any field of human endeavor. A friend of mine, a professional photographer, tells me how a mention of his IIT-IIM pedigree distinguishes him in a place where his education should really have no bearing. An grand-aunt would say how for her darling grand-daughter “she only wants an IIT or an IIM”. A lady friend of mine told me, with barely concealed pride, how she is being pestered for matches by “boys from IIT” but she wants to “establish herself first”.

Oh brother.

In my own professional life, I have never felt the absence of an “IIT label” to be a hindrance—I got into the graduate school I wanted after graduation from Jadavpur University and after that my publications and the grants that I won spoke for me. Paradoxically it is in my writing life, which has nothing to do with my engineering degree, that my not being from IIT has been somewhat of an issue. I remember in an interview I did for “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss”, a reporter asked “So you are from IIT?” I shook my head. “But you told me you stay in US, you are a PhD and you are a “techie”. (I never told the reporter I am a “techie”—hate the word with a passion). I explained to the person that just because I have a published book and I am a “techie” does not necessarily mean I am from IIT. The reporter hid the disappointment well. Not so this reader at a book event who asked me, with genuine eagerness, “Which IIT did you graduate from?”. I nodded a “No”. He followed it with a desperately-trying-to-save-the-situation “Oh you must be those who dropped out of IIT to write”. I once again said “No” this time, saw the sadness in his eyes.

He mumbled “I just thought….”. A bit embarrassed, I avoided his gaze.

Oh brother.

 

 

 

 

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110 thoughts on “The Brand

  1. Maybe slightly off-topic, but I do remember the shamelessness with which friends of mine who got into the IITs incorporated that into their email ids (e.g. *_iit, *.iit, *atiit to name a few). This trend was specially observed amongst those who got in there via the SC/ST/OBC quota…

  2. Its time Arindham Chaudhari started a new brand ‘IIST:Better than IITs’ – Indian Institute of Science and Technology ranked by XX as higher than IITs and 29th worldwide. Rok sako to rok lo..

  3. Your lady friend did the right thing:

    Arranged marriage in India is like the US housing bubble without the bubble. Consider the Indian housing market — Given gender ratios and the in general poor quality of construction, normal houses are an asset. Unlike in the US, there will probably never be an excess of good houses. That’s why even houses with not so good construction from not so good zip codes have inflated valuations. Your friend could hold out a couple of years for probably a higher valuation provided the house doesn’t sustain structural damage. How long depends on factors like initial valuation, zip code and structural soundness. Beyond a point houses show their age and prices begin to drop. It’s at this point that the smart home owner sells. Given the amount of money chasing bad deals, I don’t think your friend has too much to worry about for the short term at least.

    Disclosure: I’m an Indian guy and I previously worked for an Investment Bank: so I have a cynical (if informed take) on homeowners (in every sense of the word).

  4. IIT is in fact the biggest Indian brand!
    1. IIT JEE is one of the toughest exam in the world. There is a billion dollar IIT JEE coaching industry. Whether you want to go for research or entrepreneurship, IIT is a great platform for people from middle-class background.
    2. “Indians are smart” — This brand is created in US mostly because of the IITians. I agree nowadays it is getting diluted by IT code-monkeys :P, But if you are a good PhD in CS, 90% chance is you are an IITian.. Take PhDs from top 5 colleges (e.g. Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, MIT etc.) in CS, you will hardly find any non-IITians.. You can get an average rank college if you “want” that.. But it could be extremely difficult if you want a “top” grad school.. It is relatively easier for an IITian to get that not only because of the brand and because of the fact that he has outperformed(in one exam!) most of his peers who has settled in regional colleges but also because of the fact that IIT has the best academic infrastructures in India.. I agree only being an IITians dsnt make u gr8 and only clearing one exam is nor everything in ones life.. But this brand is created by performance, dedication and talent.. Then it became popular.. So, I dont see why you are so upset with the fact.. When you see some bengali in US you must have asked “kolkatar koththeke?”.. People generalize that as 90% Bongs in US are from Kolkata.. Same thing happens in case of smart Indian engineers.. You might feel bad, but you have to bear it.
    3. May be you could have got some more publicity if u were an IITian,, but that is ok, many people like you and you do a decent job.. I understand your frustration regarding Chetan Bhagat, but if you try you can also reach his level of popularity. IIT only gives a platform, finally it is the quality that keeps u at the top.

  5. “Take PhDs from top 5 colleges (e.g. Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, MIT etc.) in CS”

    Ummm CS is not the subject where the brightest do their phd :-).

  6. I saw an ad for a new kinder garden school in Bangalore with a tag line “Next Gen CEOs are made here”, and “An IIT alumnus initiative”. I seriously don’t understand why or how the IIT brand made sense in that ad!

  7. @Greenspan Is The Man
    Great analysis.
    However, I believe that market you are talking about is not efficient in the strong sense.
    This becomes critical at the inflection point of age when the house owner is likely to make severe errors of judgment about the pricing. For low purchasing power parties, it is advisable to wait till then to take advantage of the high elasticity that comes immediately after that point.

  8. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m intrigued by the comments, though: it’s time people understood that it’s not about sour grapes. I mean, come on – do you guys really understand that this article is a curiously light-hearted one?

    Come on, get the joke, guys! What has happened to the world? Why the sarcasm?

    And talking about IIT and IIM (and IIS/IISc), let’s not forget ISI either.

    • I so agree with you. The IItian bloggers seem to have taken this article to their heart!! And the non-IITians they seemingly congratulate the author for criticizing the IIT tag! Its just light humour. Please be a little less serious! As for the author telling his tale of greatness, its important to let the IITians know that they are not great( because they are not- Literally spending your days and nights with books for 2 years doesn’t mean greatness which besides true brains everyone else had done) and for the IITians- congrats for doing the right hard work at the very right time. This has made your life easier :))

  9. Nice post. It is indeed sad that being an IITian or IIM alumnus is perceived to be superior to others. Not just academically but in many other ways. As though if you are IIT grad, you will automatically play the guitar well or sing better than those who are not. I have seen people write “XYZ, IIT, IIM” in wedding cards. Eew.. I run a quizzing research company and the arrogance I have seen that the IITians calling themselves the “best quizzing brains in India.”

    Oh brother! :)

    @ Mayank Sharma – show me one line where GB is being self “congratulatory”. And why should this not be a full-fledged article? Of course, most other politically correct writers will not touch these topics. So lets give it to GB. At least he has the balls.

  10. In fact, most contemporary Indian authors flash the IIT/IIM card to sell their books. And of course, wannabe readers in India think these are literary geniuses. Bah!

    And yes, marrying an IITian is a BIG deal. No matter how dumb the guy may be, otherwise in life. This is a case of knowledge being mixed with being intelligent. Its almost like my life is a success if I marry an IIT/IIM alumnus. What a sad world.

  11. Awesome article. I have seen this in the eyes of many when answering to the school I graduated from, I start with an “I”, continue onto another “I” and then when everyone expects a “T”, I go onto “Sc”. And most reply in kind: “Its not an IIT, huh”.

    On other lines I get the same feeling when I read an headline on the lines of “Dalit beaten up for raping Brahmins bitch”.

  12. @Prakash Kini
    Its funny because you will face the same situation if you try applying for a faculty position at IISc.
    I know it is unfair but such is life.

  13. Good article. Speaking as an IIT-ian, getting into an IIT is no guarantee of future success, not getting into an IIT is not a guarantee of continuing failure. What counts is hard work and initiative at whatever point in your life you find yourself in.

  14. Surya,

    I have nothing against GB, first. Second, read the article again .. objectively .. and not as a ‘GB Fan’. And whats “political correctness” / balls got to do with this? No-one shies away from sayin that talent doesnt reside in IITs / IIMs alone.

    Probably you should read my blog ( yes, sayin this at the risk of being termed as troll) for knowing how to say politically incorrect things.

  15. IITs were great when they had the mains. U really had to know ur stuff to get in. But now u can get in if u have a really good day

  16. There was a time when you had something interesting to say. Sadly you have run out of your material about teenage onanism, b-grade movies, and cricket. You are no more a greatbong but a bitter irritating bong banging on and on about personal biases while providing little evidence to back your assertions. Be it your hatred for M S Dhoni or your cheap envy for IITians.
    I know I will be attacked for stating the obvious by many of your fanboys who consider it their duty to provide round-the-clock annilingus to you.

  17. Mayank Sharma – “And whats “political correctness” / balls got to do with this?No-one shies away from sayin that talent doesnt reside in IITs / IIMs alone.” –

    This IS a very politically incorrect post and yes, you got to have the balls to write something like this. Especially, when you are a famous author and your writings get published in mainstream media. Like we all know, IITs are the biggest brand and for an author (whose books are yet-to-be-released), it takes something to write against such a big brand. And honestly, for you and me to say something politically incorrect as this is very easy and that’s why we dont shy away from it. Because lets face it, we are not famous authors. Our writings and our careers as writers are not at stake here while GB’s is, to a certain extent. He might lose a large chunk of readers ‘coz of writing something politically incorrect. And still he does it. I bet you cannot show me many famous Indian contemporary authors who do that. People play very safe. Say “safe” things or dont say them at all.

    And Oh, I dont think my comment was biased ‘coz I am a GB fan. I am also realistic and give credit where one truly deserves.

  18. @Arnab / GreatBong:

    I’ve linked my blog here for a comment that is I think related to the topic we’re talking about [i.e. whether IIT-ians have advantages in every sphere of life], if you think this is inappropriate blog whoring, please go ahead and delete this comment. I’d rather lose page views than lose a friend ;)

    @Barack Obama, tp:

    Thanks for the appreciative comments, for what it’s worth my personal advice is to explore US houses as an asset class. Since you guys seem interested in this stuff, I’ve blogged about it a while back here:
    http://aslimard.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/asli-mard-of-the-day-peter-schiff-2/

    Cheers

  19. very unlike you GB, this one..moralizing while not being able to resist throwing in the Jadavpur name or hints about your publications etc. ..not classy man…btw love the comparison by the Greenspan guy…

  20. First of all, nice post GB.
    Either I am missing something or some lunatics are commenting out of context.
    I totally agree with the post about all the unnecessary (read undeserving) hype that is given to IITians in media and being an IITian myself, I don’t mind all the attention honestly but that still makes it unnecessary and undeserving.
    First of all IITs do take smart people in, no doubt about that and it is also true that the brand that has been created by the IITians in the past is a very successful one but that does not mean they are out of this world and any thing they do is world class. That is all this post suggests and is perfectly valid in doing so.

  21. Great post Arnab !! I am also a techie, from India, and surely earning more than cumulative earnings of all IITians who have commented above… and yes I am from REC. Thanks God !!!

  22. Well there are also bad things about being an IITian.
    a. Considered highly unsocial, and avoided by non-IIT guys.
    b. People getting hugely (disproportional, as a compensation of undue advantage at the start) disappointed when they find that the IITian is not as intelligent.
    c. Pressure of maintaining the brand value.

  23. Can’t blame you.IITs and IIMs puke CEOs and now writers have joined this brigade where they take on arts to write about-what else but IIITs.
    If not ethics,these institutions are now more synonymous with the respect/intelligence and most importantly the moolah that a man would eventually bring home,beside being a plume in the cap of his credentials.Whteher Punjabi,bong or madrasi,every parent wishes his kid to be a part of it,more than being a responsible citizen blah blah…forget about the flip side which people do not care to notice-you become a rat in the rat race,screw your personal life and equate happiness with money.Thankfully men do not have the guilt of not enjoying their “fatherhood” as long as they provide well for their family.
    a smartass i knew pimped her beauty to marry one such scum.

  24. OMG you are NOT from IIT? That’s it – I am unsubscribing from your blog.

    There is a general tendency to associate the institutions to people since it provides easy to identify people with!

  25. @GreatBong-
    Where does branding not exist my friend?Your rant is not justified because its the same everywhere.
    1.Do you think FB and “The Social Network” would have been that hyped if it wasnt about Harvard greek life and frat parties?
    2.I am from an engineering college in Bangalore named RVCE.Its a private engg college but considered pretty decent in South India.When I come to my hometown in Kolkata and tell people I worked at XYZ company and am doing my MS at XYZ university in the US the first question I have to face is if I am from Jadavpur Univ.Arent people obsessed with it in WB?
    3.Why Stony Brook and not Univ of New Mexico or some other XYZ university?The brand ain’t it?Again why US and not an MS from Australia(which has a few top univs)?
    4.Doesnt most cult worships arise out of Harvard,Stanford etc passouts/dropouts too..I mean people still crave to go to UCLA film school just cause Jim Morrison went there for a semester.
    5.Why do you choose to support Brazil in football and not Bulgaria(Hristo Stoichkov was skilfull too)
    5.Amitav Ghosh,Vikram Seth or lets take even Pranab Mukherjee are from social sciences.Are they deemed less brilliant than engineers at MIT?
    The problem is you socialise a little too much with that very strata in the US.The IIT,BITS,Jadavpur passouts working at software/banks or are academics.And not to forget their bored spoilt wives from Jadavpur,Xaviers,Presidency with discussions on the IIT-Presi-Jadavpur fests and who’s into yoga,photography,rock climbing,marathon,latest cuisines or the dream home or holiday.
    Try making up that you never went to an A grade college or that you are a Phd for a complete year.Maybe then we ll accept your rants on IIT’s branding !!

  26. I partly agree with what ‘Someone’ says. This is a global thing. And when people make it to these places they make sure everyone knows that they did. We too like the rest of the world is obsessed with brands.

  27. @ Better Bong – you are full of shit and while I believe you are an IIT-ian, you were very likely an average or under-performing IITian. To counter your crap, here are a few points:

    1. Passing a tough entrance exam is indicative of nothing but having more capability than a certain %ile of people. For every IITian there’s a student who’s given the SAT, GRE, GMAT, AIIMS who is in the 99.99xxth %ile who is as smart or smarter than the average IITian. That said, I haven’t seen / heard a newspaper headline that goes “800 GMAT scorer did xyz…”.

    2. IIT is infact not even the toughest entrance exam in the world – atleast not in terms of accept ratios. UPSC and possibly AIIMS entrance exams hold that distinction. I have not heard AIIMS doctors garner that kind of mindless attention and I’m sure you know what kind of attention UPSC toppers (think IAS, IPS officers) garner.

    3. Top ranked schools (MIT, Harvard, Stanford) have a reasonably large number of non-IIT Indian students (probably 50:50). A lot of these non-IIT students will kick serious IITian ass (in terms of grades, research and jobs) – simply because they were toppers in their respective non-IIT undergrad schools while some of the admitted IITians weren’t toppers. Basically toppers from any school likely smarter, harder working, more dedicated than non-toppers from IIT. The other reason why they likely perform better is because they are more creative, which I believe is a serious skill lacking in a lot of IITians. I will, however, concede here that the IIT topper (likely a JEE top 50/100) is probably going to perform better than the average non-IIT student at these ivy league schools.

    4. Finally, for every CXO, millionaire and researcher IITian, there are atleast 10 that are languishing in unknown (but respectable) jobs like other non-IITIans.

  28. BTW,

    There is a IIT in Bangalore too. A lot of people who pass out of this college call themselves IITans. This IIT stands for Islamiah Institute of Technology :)

  29. I’m just gratified to discover Jadavpur University is a brand. In all my years of attending JU and hanging about its campus drinking enough cups of tea to swim in, I’ve never once realised the name is in any way brandishable. Apart from the rumours of drug-peddling and free sex that surrounded the Arts faculty (which even the Engineering faculty appeared to believe in), Arnab’s alma matar has zero brand-worth outside the circle of its own alumni. One might try to push the “JU alumnus writes novel” headline, but I doubt it’ll be published anywhere except cyclo-styled campus magazines.

  30. @Ivy League-er
    You really want to know the achievements of IIT/IIM alumns who were not toppers?
    And who are these non-IIT/IIM toppers you are talking about? Let us all hear their stellar credentials.

    Relax. Past is past.
    Don’t be so bitter.

  31. @Ivy League-er…

    Man, how can u be an Ivy-leaguer(:O) with such a crap reasoning ability.. You must be one of those spoiled kids(like Rahul G) who are having good education (with crappy brains) sponsored by their rich parents..
    1. I never said IITians are superior or the best.. I just said they earned this brand and deserved it.. People who get huge GMAT/SAT score they go to MIT/Stan/Harvard and become part of their brand.. “Ivy-Leauge” is also a BRAND.. u can boastfully proclaim about it and when an IITian does the same it is wrong. What a hypocrite. AIIMS/ISI are also good brands and have stringent admission criteria.. People do get attention when they clear these exams.. But due to their small size(30-40 students/yr) they have not become a HUGE brand like IIT.
    2. I said IITJEE is “one” of the toughest exams.. Only an idiot like u can refute that.. One more thing, dont just go by numbers.. Getting <1000 rank in IITJEE is not always easier than getting a <50 rank in state boards. Quality of question papers is also a factor.. IITJEE has one of the toughest papers and it requires lots of analytical skills, blind mugging will not help u here.. Unlike UPSC, very few students dare to appear for IIT because of its standards.. Almost 80-90% bright students appear for IITJEE, whereas very few percentage appears for UPSC. I am not belittling UPSC but saying u cant straight away say it is tougher than IITJEE
    3. U have no idea about top 3 schools that u mentioned.. just check their websites.. 90% professors and 90% students are from IIT.. Being in academia, I know these facts better than u.. If u think IITians lack creativity go **** urself.. Btw, I just mentioned this to counter GB's boastful declaration that he got the college he wanted.. Had he got a "top" school, he would not have settled for an average school. GB has no problem with JU, MIT or other brands, it is only the "sour grapes" IITs..
    4. 10 is a huge number. I would say 3. But these is true for every other brands..
    Finally, for every CXO, millionaire and researcher fro Ivy-L, there are atleast 10 that are languishing in unknown (but respectable) jobs like other non-IITIans.

  32. BetterBong,

    Since you mentioned it “Had he got a “top” school, he would not have settled for an average school”,( No one would call Stony Brook an average school but still) a professor offered to me to be admitted with scholarship as his student at CMU. (with my non IIT background).[which as you might now shares the top spot with the schools you mentioned] I didnt take it because I did not want to commit to a professor before I had a chance to work with him or take his course. SB allowed me a year of unattached, dept-provided funding which I found extremely attractive then and in retrospect would say my decision was the proper one (I would advice prospective PhD students to never chose an advisor without working with him for at least a semester). I didnt want to mention it, more so because I want to keep my professional life as far away from this blog as possible, but since you have already called me boastful (and have no compunction in being one yourself), allow me to be. By the way JU is hardly a brand as Rimi mentioned and so me saying I am from JU shows absolutely no pride in it at all.

  33. @greatbong
    I think a lot of people misinterpreted your post. I remember this post about IIT http://greatbong.net/2006/05/22/earth-shattering-arguments/
    long time back when I first started following the blog. You could have referenced it in your reply for those who think you are boastful or insecure.
    Well done for getting into CMU though I would have risked it(unless the guy was an well known prick or the area was iffy).
    On the issue of top schools, at least in their PhD programs take almost exclusively from IITs or ISI or IISc (of course not 100%). Whether that is fair or not I can’t say but that’s the way it is.

  34. Saneguy,

    When I was in JU, I had a really bad experience with an academic advisor. So at that time in my life, I was very wary of going in blind with a totally unknown quantity. Plus SBU had a few of my JU seniors providing me feedback of professors already there, making me feel more secure in my choice.

  35. @ Ivy League-er, BetterBong

    MIT and Stanford are not in Ivy League (they are top ranked schools though). Make sure you know the meaning of Ivy League. People think top ranked schools and Ivy League are synonymous, but they are not.

  36. Is it still Arnab Ray writing these shithead posts? or have you outsourced the writing part to some dumbnut. Arnab you remind me of our state of Bengal, once magnificent but soon declined to below average. Get your act together man, you are better than millions of bloggers on the web, hope you realize that soon

  37. @GB,
    1. I apologize for calling SB average.. Actually I never saw SB within top 30/40 in CS in US news ranking(Presently it is at 44 in CS in US), but may be in your specialization it was good..
    I know few cases when people left SB after 1st yr when they got offer from CMU.. I really had no idea some one can leave CMU for SB.. Even if u r committed to some Prof. u can always change after a semester.. Student quality, faculty quality, diversity and brand value(for placements) are also imp factors.. However it was your personal choice.. and so far I have not seen anyone from JU-CS in these top colleges without IIT/ISI/IISc stamp.. So I had this wrong notion.. I should not have commented on this issue..
    2. After WBJEE one of my frnd could get JU EC/CS, but chose ISI instead.. he faced the question many times, “Why ISI and not JU?”.. JU is a pretty good brand in WB in spite of its low research output, politics and average infrastructure/faculty..

  38. I dont blame the reporters..back home “techie + (phd/ms/mba) + US” usually implies IITian..and yes..since they are expected to earn well as they are from IIT, the “i am being chased by IITians” part is something to be proud of no!!

  39. Nice piece. Media shows this bias for many more institutes as well such as IIMs, St. Stephen’s College etc. So often media plays on these institutes name to gain attention even though the person might have passed out years ago!

  40. @BetterBong: From personal experiences, I’d say that non-IITans give better head than IITans. You might want to consider that when you say IIT is the biggest brand.

  41. @Relax,

    That’s because we IIT-ians dont have to give head to get ahead in life. You non-IIT-ians can only do something if you give head, hence you are obviously better at it.

    Look around, IIT-ians are just superiour in every respect. Consider Chetan Bhagat who all IIT-ians agree, and a whole lot of non-IIT-ians too, is the greatest author India has produced in the last hundred years. People from IIT are not just good in engineering and sciences, but in everything.

  42. @Relax
    You had to cheapen the discussion didn’t you?
    I mean for god sakes why bring the girls now. Every male IITian knows to stay away from them ones they are out of IIT. I mean if you managed to find one who is single even after spending 4 years with sex ratio of 50:1 in their favor, could you not have just let it go?
    This is the kind of lack of self restraint and discipline that caused you to mess up your JEE at the first place.
    But seeing the quality of your comment, you were not fit to be there anyways. Learn to respect women and if not then stick to missionary.

  43. Just because brand worship works and rules it does not necessarily make it right. And let’s understand, this kind of behaviour is predominatly American and Indian. As far as technological prowess goes, countries like Germany, France, Japan and Italy are also up there, minus all the noise around their universities.
    Finally, of the points that Arnab is making is that there is tendency among people to equate certain success with being an IIT/IIM chap. Such as his references to reporters indicate. This can be frustrating to anyone and should not be labelled as a case of sour grapes.

  44. @Yes I am Relaxing: Don’t say contradictory things. If IIT people are superior in EVERY respect, they should be better at giving head too. And while I enjoy the way you get orgasmic talking about Chetan Bhagat, his books are unreadable. I’d suggest Rushdie to you.

    @PartyPooper: Yeah I had to ‘cheapen’ the discussion. I thought the discussion was about IIT-ans, not IIT boys only. I like the way you attempt to draw curves given a straight line, but I never took any JEE exam actually. Also, respecting women doesn’t have any connection to sticking to the missionary position- you can ask that to as many women as you’d like to. “Every male IITian knows to stay away from them ones they are out of IIT.”- oho, the IIT brand doesn’t really work there, does it? I thought the brand was omnipotent.

  45. @Yes I am Relaxing -“Chetan Bhagat who all IIT-ians agree, and a whole lot of non-IIT-ians too, is the greatest author India has produced in the last hundred years. People from IIT are not just good in engineering and sciences, but in everything”- hahahaha!!! Man! Chetan Bhagat is the greatest Indian author in 100 years is like saying Nilesh Kulkarni is the greatest Indian spinner! And if I am not mistaken, the last 100 years includes a certain Mr. Rabindranath Tagore- ever heard of him?? Chetan Bhagat is greater than Mr. Tagore? You seem to have crossed all levels of lunacy!!

  46. @Sayan: Spot on. That guy indeed seems to have crossed all levels of lunacy, but his posts do have some tragically comic content. I personally try to avoid all these ‘brand’, ‘best’, ‘greatest’.. jargon and notions because in the end it’s mostly advertising gimmick, and ad gimmick doesn’t matter.

  47. you creeps got nothing else to do ? blaming the sex starved iit grads for your poor sex lives :P talking about giving heads , how many have had heads from iit females ? how do you know what it feels like ?

    and i dont think CMU/Stony Brooks is the debate here . i know a number of fools who ace lollypop exams like gre/gmat/sat and make it to places far more reputed than CMU. but my dear friends….FOOLS ARE FOOLS EVEN IF THEY GO TO grad SCHOOLS. betterbong is an example of this phenomenon

  48. @pappu_iit: Drop sex and people jump onto it. I should have refrained from talking about personal experience here since that’s mostly irrelevant to the topic, so let’s leave it at that. I almost entirely agree with your second point.

  49. Check this out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhash_Khot

    Subhash Khot, an IIT-JEE 1996 topper,is the recipient of T. Waterman Award which is America’s highest honorary award for scientists[no older than 35].I think, this is no mean achievement and we Indians should feel very proud about it.Regarding the superiority of IITians, I always believed that those with AIR rank of <200 are definitely a cut above the rest, and its extremely difficult to outsmart them. But yes,creme de la creme of other institutes like Pilanis,RECs, etc. are capable of competing with the remaining lot of IITians. Of course, there could be be exceptions to this like most of the things in life.
    Also, I would agree with one of the comments here that, JEE was really a tough nut to crack when it had mains.

    Note:Am not an IITian but just another guy who likes to see things subjectively.

  50. @Relax, i think you need to relax . i dont think you ever going to get head from any of the iit females :P :P and

    @frozen, i dont think any waterfall award given to some dumb nut makes any difference to anyone here. i am not proud of the dumb nut who got the award.

    i did not get the award so i am not proud of it. and AIR<200 and AIR <201,202 203 , no major difference i think.Stupid non iit guys always give you the pedestal even if you are a B Arch student or M Tech student at any IIT.

  51. @pappu_iit,

    Calling Subhash Khot(probably the present best young Indian scientist) a dumb nut makes u the stupidest person on earth. U are a shame in the name of India and education..
    Whether IIT btand is good or bad is a different debate, but u should not comment on something that u dont know.
    YOU ARE AN ARROGANT IDIOT..

  52. @kingkhan
    the problem with you is that you dont have what it takes to be your personal best. So you keep licking what you should not lick. Who is your idol and what you lick of your idol should be immaterial to the rest of the world.

    What matters is whether one can do his best where ever he is. That done… I dont give a damn to anyone who is the best in dumb or not-so-dumb lot :P :P

    and as far as the waterfall awards are concerned you can go stuff them you know where :)

    @partypooper you are a defunct condom :p :p which opens it mouth where it should not

  53. I think of Jadhavpur University as a University, which encompasses or tries to encompass the learnings of the Universe. IITs, or IIMs are mere vocational institutes designed and set up to mass produce standard and good quality human resource for the various industries and companies. Yes, some creative people land up there as well.

    I would prefer Jadhavpur University (with all it follies and shortcomings) any day over the IITs and IIMs.

  54. @partypooper
    Sigh!
    That thing about boiling, drying and using it again for different customers was for syringes.

  55. @ partypooper , i dont use defunct condoms :) :)

    only 1 time use policy . so boiling ,drying and using again is not my style.

  56. @ pappu_iit,

    If u think Subhas Khot a dumb or waterman award is easy to get, can u do better than him in your field what he has done in his field? What have u achieved in ur life? Accept ur failure man and learn to respect people who are smarter than u..
    I pity on ur ignorance..
    and yes, I am not the best.. but probably better than arrogant ignorant assh*les like u..

  57. @kingkhan

    i think you will do nothing more than licking some waterfall award winners ass***e in your lifetime.

    So enjoy doing that, you will get a waterfall award for being the best licker in the world.

    AND
    don’t pity my ignorance,i love my work even if that doesn’t get waterfall awards . being smarter is not the point here , being the best you can be is.

    moral of the story: go stuff the waterfall award you know where :) :)

  58. This time I found that the comments were more funny and entertaining than the blog itself. It reminds me of the time when I, inspite of getting a chance to join IIT and any branch in JU, opted ISI and some people thought that this decision would spoil my career. A daily passenger in the local train even asked me as to why I had taken such a decision. Later I realized that ISI meant “ISI brand” (Indian Standards Institution) to him :)

  59. Man, both the post and the comments have been enlightening……but in my humble opinion, solution to the question posed by the blogger does not lie in taking polemic stances. As always, for dealing with such issues a democratic ZEn type practical middle path exists……If i meet a guy tomorrow…from ISI, IISc, IITs, NITs, IIMs, RVCE(you peoples have changed undergrad debating scene), Jadavpur, NLUs, Indie GMAT or GRE or SAT cracker and similar Iconic Indian Brands(IIBs if you like,which colectively have been at the helm of India’s intellectual growth)…i am going to have above average expectations from the guy. Mind itta, if my dealing with this guy is not to exceed a hand shake or a once in a life itme chat… i am going to the grave believing that this acquaintance of mine was a good guy (lets leave good vs bad guys debate to philosophy blogs); but if am to deal with him any further….then it would be supreme economist hatrd type irrationality if don’t probe deeper into whatsort of a person he is; rather than merely relying on the character certificate of his alma matter attesting him to be a paragon of exemplary virtues.

    As Gauss said….ony about five percent of the people are incredibly ingenious or incedibly stupid…and only they deserve our respect and admiration…rest all of us, i like to think, are in same ol boat.

  60. @ Ivy Leaguer, @ Someone, @ Betterbong:

    Kickass comments gentlemen…you people have or own blog or something?

  61. Even though you are not “ex-IIT”, you are still “NRI”. Which is also a strong brand and sometimes stronger than “ex-IIT”.

  62. Arnab. What I really think you should do is compile the best comments to your posts in the form of a book- ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ or something that is ironical. You’ll earn a fortune- trust me, some of these comments are such masterpieces in their own right- fuuny, comic, outrageous, illogical, philosophical, psychic, seething with anger/ adultaion, emotional, sentimental, dirty, abusive……
    It’s exactly the best stuff that blockbusters are made of.

  63. good layered write-up GB.. i have also been amused by the furore it creates with IIT and IIMs.. just having one of these as a trophies, i still have to endure a little condescension once in a while from folks who expect me to have both (real story: a batchmate of mine from IIM C was surprised when he found out that i am not from IIT after seeing my grades there and the resulting placement.. but i digress)

    saner minds might agree that getting in these institutes is as much (if not more) of luck as it is of hard work / talent.. there are incredibly talented people from IITs as there are from outside IITs (so goes for IIMs).. the entrance exams are there to make sure that all people who are in are good but not that all good people are in..

    how many IIT and / or IIM passout can seriously claim that they were not privileged to have been born in a family that valued education, that was able to send them to good schools and for coaching.. imagine the situation of a talented, hard working little boy / girl born in a place where there are no good schools, parents are not highly educated and they cant afford the coaching.. now fast forward 20 years of such a guy after having passed out from whatever college his circumstances dictated and compare him / her with the IIT + IIM dude.. there is a godo chance that the poor kid would have made it equal or even better in life.. if s/he hasn’t then it is our shame as a cicilized society.. and if s/he had then we better shut our trashy “indian ivy-league” trap and stop measuring humans by their degrees

  64. On a more serious note, I sincerely agree with Arnabda that narrowing down everything to IITs/IIMs/ISIs/IISCs has been a serious problem in our society. Arnabda was asked in a literary circle which IIT did he come from. I am thinking of a similar situation where in a business meeting Anil, Mukesh Ambani or Ajim Premji are asked about their alma mater. Matter of the fact is ,none of them are from elite institutions in India, but they are actually the flag-bearers of our country. How does an exam in class xii matter throughout the life? In my year, I know someone who secured 6 marks more than me. But his rank was almost 500 higher than me. One day a person can make 2 silly mistakes which should not raise any question on his ability. I have one friend (who was later my ISI batchmate) who secured 17 marks less than me in IIT and could not qualify narrowly. I think, he is more brilliant than me and he was also very well prepared before the IIT exam. Just that he couldn’t perform in that one day exam should not give him the tag of a loser. I think, in Indian system, entrance exams have to be there (recommendation based admission, as in the US, will totally fail in India beacuse of the corruption and nepotism). But, a boy or a girl should not be judged throughout his life depending on whether she got admission into IIT/ ISI/ IIM/ IISc. Finally, the elitist mentality of our institutions has created a severe imbalance in the sex ratio so that majority of the boys coming out from these institutions lack in social skills (a more strong sentence would
    be, they are socially retarded). I thought, in JU the situation should be different due to the availability of a large number of girls in arts. But my friends in JU told me that it was not very different from ours. Arnabda also bolstered this argument in his blog quite a number of times :). So, Arnabda, you were wrong. JU engineering has satisfied the criteria of an elite institution.

  65. pappu_iit = Piyush Chawla of Indian cricket + loads of arrogance!
    Its like Chawla, on being compared on his performance with the likes of Shane warne, instead of accepting Warne’s greatness, would shrug and argue that being smarter is not the point, but giving your best is!!!And we all know, what happned in World cup’11!;-)

  66. GB I think after your long absence you choose the right article to make a comeback. Like news channels, you truly got the TRPs from people. Following Sienfeld’s George let me say you are compromising your ‘artistic integrity’ to get some attention.

  67. Pingback: Shackled Identity « A moo point, basically …

  68. One thing we have to agree that IITians “in general” care about their alma mater more than JU or Presi students.. Vinod Gupta donated millions for VGSOM in IIT KGP. Arjun Malhotra for GSSSIT in IIT KGP, Arun Sarin, Purnendu C etc. did the same for KGP.. But I never heard some JU or Presi alumny has donated for their college.. They just use the brand as a stepping stone.. The bonding and camaraderie among IITians also contributed significantly for growth of IITians and IIT.
    and love it or hate it.. U have to accept it that IIT is the biggest brand representing India abroad(along with yoga and curry) !!

  69. After reading through all this shit, I see people taking pride or hiding their failures behind a certain tag (be it institution or workplace)…. so today may be its high time I take refuge in my lineage that “I am a kulin Brahmin” in my physical features “I am fair and handsome” so all u guys from elite institutions who pride on their alma mater… I pride on my lineage… and all SC/ST and OBC from esteemed institutons I laugh on u… and all upper caste people from these instituions I have solace that I fall into same category….and all those blackys I am fair….

    Brickbats are welcome!! P.S. I am from elite institution but not IIT

    Its time to get the caste system or any other social order (fair/tall etc etc) back in force so that everyone has something to be proud of (even if not being blessed with a high IQ)….

  70. @AmiBangali

    I truly hope you were being sarcastic.

    Taking pride in ancestral lineage or “fair & lovely” physical features (like SRK) or elite colleges/workplaces did not save us Bengalis from the “Meghna Bridge Massacre”.

    If that does not ring a bell, just ask your ancestors who fled from their ancestral homes in Brahmanbaria or Khulna or from another lovely spot in Sonar Bangla.

  71. @Anon.. yea, rediff style comment! you got it man. It is more fun to read that the blog itself
    @BillyBoy bitter butter banging onanism.. haha.. lovely. Cannot agree more.
    Maybe it is more like ‘lets drop the humour pretense’ downhill journey after the orgasmic peak, which was that book publication.

    Again, Im not sure if I am alone is seeing a Medha Patkarian pattern as well!
    You know, when there is a protest, you can actually predict her presence.
    Likewise, some loony muslim does something and you can actually predict the blog in 5 hours with a ‘what else do you expect’ tone.
    Anyhow, credit where due.. thanks to the blogger for letting unrestricted commenting.

  72. Pingback: Attack of the Penny Dreadfuls | Macroinvention

  73. Let’s See
    The most basic thing people blabber about is What is known as THE TOUGHEST ENTRANCE exam

    Let’s say an exam named X is tough , and as someone above said that people who clear it are among the best brains of India.
    Seconded.
    Now another analysis
    Let’s say an exam is designed to accept bright young minds and train them further .
    How come it be true that a city named K with a coaching named B puts 40 % students in the final pass list of the exam named J .!!
    Now some people will say that The institutions named I are doing their best to stop the impact of the coaching on the exam named J .
    Will it ever happen?
    No
    Because the coaching named B,F,R,V, are run by the people who are from the Institutions named I !, they know all the tricks of the trade .
    Because the exam named J has become so biased that it’s second to impossible to crack it without coaching .
    Ask why ?
    Because you will find the best content providers (not teachers) in the coaching.
    The study material will be discussed , doubts will be cleared and hard work will guide you home , you end up in your parent’s dream college and after 4 years you may either get into Course 6 or Morgan Stanley .
    The point is you make your options open .

    ————

    Now Consider a case where a guy had no one in his family who was an engineer.

    His school emphasized all on cramming , and unrewarded for being creative .
    Parents , even though graduated and post grad , have no idea about science education .
    So they force the child to follow school patters and child looses his interest in creativity and some how crams the animal kingdom names and species and parrots it down in school to get descent marks .
    Now after standard 8 or 9 science magazines and newspapers publish about salaries of students from college named I , very inspirational asks for coaching after 10 standard .
    Which is denied while some other parents send their children for coaching .
    Now here comes the catch as Chetan Bhagat says “most of the books written to get into I ” are crap
    The guy falls victim to crap and unguided books for the exam named J .
    Discouraged as not being able to solve problems and no one there to help him
    He looses interest in Normal Studies and ends up In A tier three college .
    What’s the path now onwards ?
    I will not say anything about the brand or salary or hype

    Just one question
    When will this cycle stop
    Will that tier 3 college graduate’s son/daughter get a decent education ?
    Will his son/daughter get a decent school ?
    Will his parents lead a healthy and happy old life?
    What wrong did his parents do ?
    Does ignorance of 2 years coaching classes by some parents have such a drastic effect on children ?
    {please do no say that in 2005 …….}

    If these are really the best brains of my country why they pay 400,000 in city named K .
    Some will say that efforts and continuum are maintained by these coaching .
    So how come they are smartest brains if they cannot self manage ?
    But still they get Phd From CSAIL .(I remember that loin adviser Phd Joke)
    The point is there exist no such thing as talent or hard work or efforts .
    All that is important is your reasoning capacity ,which is better if more used.
    Some colleges force people to use their brain more and hence end up creating a brand .

    It’s our duty to get into those colleges .
    Or guide younger ones to have killer instinct for that college .
    It may not mean the end of life by failing an exam named J .
    But it may definitely mean the end of hope of seeing the place of Tim Berners Lee.
    At best you may end up watching turing award winners panel discussion on http://www.mitworld.edu giving advice to future phd students.
    Or you learn physics by seeing Walter Levin in 26 100 room .
    But deep inside that pain , that emptiness of not being an I college alum will hunt you like a sin from past .
    ———————————————–

    at the ivy leaguer :
    you must be joking
    ——-

  74. Great of an article, can let a person will have insight some life philosophy. Content is good rich logical, description with humor, let a person look at a comfortable happy. I’ll read again a few times, or let oneself know more.

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