Friday, 25 July 2014

Gang rapes - and the failure to stop them


Picture taken from
And add to it the callous political statements made by the state ombudsmen. Lately, social, print and the broadcasting media are brimming with fresh cases of violence against women and rising anger of the masses against it.

Our country is being hit by such nerve chilling incidents on a daily basis now. In the past four decades, the number of reported rape cases in India shot tenfold from 2500 to 24,923 in 2012, according to the statistics from National Crime Records Bureau. Since many rapes go unreported, the problem may be worse. There’s family pressure to keep quiet about the crime, and it’s difficult to know whether the increase means more rapes have occurred or shows a growing willingness among victims to come forward.

Barely had the nation recovered from the brutality of Delhi gang rape before 2013 New years eve, we heard about the Shakti mills gangrape in Mumbai in August 2013. Even after implementation of stricter laws and harsher punishments to the accused, Badaun rape case in the remote village of Uttar Pradesh shocked us again. Incidents like these are like mealtime news for the state of UP where 60 million out of the 200 million inhabitants survive on less than a dollar per day. Clearly the problem lies in unemployment and poverty. As men from these patriarchal backgrounds are unable to make a mark in their society they turn to misogyny and sexual violence for inflicting their dominance over the weaker sex. Upper caste men suppressing the lower caste women; in a country already marred by caste and gender discrimination, a woman Dalit becomes a double Dalit. Mostly the rape victims are minors from lower castes.

The gravity of the situation lies in realizing the root cause of these gang rapes. Men with similar criminal instincts at same place, same time making them hunt like a pack of dogs. These incessant incests are brought up in our less privileged neighborhood itself. Put yourselves in their shoes; living in a small tattered hut with 8 plus people where domestic violence is so prevalent that it seems totally normal. Drunken husband and father beating up his wife and kids. Forced sexual intercourse infront of their kids, molestation, is a day-to-day affair. Education needs to be given from the grass-root level with sex education and law awareness. Better environments will only bring up better individuals.

Even after relentless media coverage and public outrage to such incidents, the rape of a six year old girl in Bangalore added to the horror and shame of the citizens of India. The accused may have been caught and will prosecuted too but will a death penalty to them end the rapist mentality epidemic? Personally, I feel the death penalty is an easy escape for the criminal from the crime he committed. While, the victim, if survives, is mentally and physically scarred for life why hang the guilty and let him escape his deeds. Punishments like Physical/Chemical castrations with life imprisonment need to be put in ordinances and law awareness must be spread to the remotest of the villages and cities. Only then shall the better halves of India breathe freely and lead a life of peace and dignity.

Also, we need to sensitize the political class to refrain from passing irresponsible comments on the national platform. Comments like "Boys will be boys", "Uttar Pradesh has least number of rape cases in India" by the state Chief Minister are deterrents to our society and also paint a sorry picture of India in the world. Karnataka CM also faced heavy criticism after he snapped back at the reporters saying, "Except that, don't you have any other issue? Is this the only news you have?". This justifies that the mindset of the common and ruling class needs to be changed exigently or Indian women will keep paying the price!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Education system of India: What has gone wrong ?

After clearing the 10th board exams the immediate worry of every student is to choose the stream that would decide his future. Having done that they recklessly start preparing for IIT-JEE, AIPMT, CA exams without even being sure of where their interest actually lies. This article addresses that student and questions the impetuous college admission rat race.

Completing my Undergraduate education from an IIT, I have experienced that 80% of my colleagues including me were unsure of what we would be doing after graduation. Rather we were uncertain to even our areas of interest. This happens when one jumps into studying for a competitive exams just because they got good grades in the 10th boards. Moreover, their parents consider that their child conquered Mt. Everest by achieving the magic figure of 99/100 in Maths and Science.

Will achieving a cent percent in these insignificant exams keep you happy for life?
The answer is certainly NO.

Most students jump for a college education just because that is the easiest option they see. While their parents slog days and nights to furnish those hefty tuition fees the student enjoys a life oblivious to the daily hassles of life unperturbed to the idea of survival in the world. If Indians are so much in awe of the western culture, why can’t we adopt some of their principles of financial freedom of teenagers stepping into adolescence rather than blindly following their consumer base of branded clothing and electronic gadgets?

One doesn’t need the stamp of an IIT or IIM to be a writer, politician or an IAS officer. Yes, you better know the people I am talking about here! Motto should be to strive for originality rather than banality; simply clearing competitive exams for piling up degrees in your name.

If you really want to start a business, beginning after your high school is not a bad idea. What’s the point of enrolling yourself in an engineering college? Kids graduate college with an atrophied idea muscle. Starting a business forces you to exercise that muscle every day! Entrepreneuring teaches you how to do business, not an MBA degree!

Like travelling? Go explore the world after your high school! Taking a drop year after failing to clear the JEE’s can be very frustrating. Instead meet new people. You will learn how important the education you crave for is actually worth? You will learn the value of how to stretch a dollar!
Like arts or sports? Spend a year in professional painting or photography or simply learn a musical instrument. Creation does not happen from inspiration. It happens from perspiration, discipline and passion. Mastering a game teaches you sportsmanship, socializing, helps develop that killing instinct obviously without having to kill anyone! A pair of footballing shoes or a DSLR would cost you much less than a college education. Dare to think beyond IIT’s and IIM’s!!
However, a counterview would say these things can’t be applied to an Indian scenario. As social and financial security cannot be granted by the govt. of a population of 125 crores unlike the US, parents invest a great deal of money and effort into college admission of their kids. This may apply to the lower middle class but what about the wealthy ones? Govt. invests thousands of crores into IIT’s, NIT’s and IIM’s only to see that more than half go abroad to study further and settle there. Hardly 20 percent of the remaining actually get a job in core industries of their discipline. Eventually the tax payer’s money is only wasted. So why not us, the middle and upper class think before what we really want to do before rushing for easier options and let the poor and deserving benefit from these govt. institutions and funds.

Thursday, 10 July 2014


I may be a Physics geek to many but this piece is certainly not about Newton’s first law of motion. In layman terms, Inertia is the tendency of a body to resist change. In a truly Indian scenario inertia can be seen as the huge pile of files in government offices, dug-up roads and open potholes with garbage all around (waiting for the stray dogs and monsoon to clean it up) or even the cow sitting in the middle of a busy road. Inertia is the reason we need change in age-old constitutional govt. policies, amends in laws for dealing crime and rape cases. And inertia is the reason people like me just write and do not work on such matters.

Nevertheless, I needed to get my college certificates attested for visa purposes. So, I went to the District Magistrates office for his signature and stamp. I was directed to his clerk for completing the required paperwork. When I asked him to make a file for my work, the babu looked furiously at me for disrupting his untimely chai session. As usual, I was told to wait until further notification. I realized my naiveness when another clerk came forward and signaled me to offer some moolah. Hence, I learned ‘Gandhi’ was the external driving force to set a babu in motion. I did the needful. In between he slipped out saying “Saab se mil ke aata hun”. I was stranded for two hours with only half the work done. Later, I also learned that the speed of his working was directly proportional to the weight I laid on the file. With a lot of persuasion and obviously a hundred bucks more to break his Inertia I was barely able to get my work done before the Magistrate left. 

Well, this was inertia of rest. Bikers and car drivers reluctant to pause on a red light signal around busy crossings is inertia of motion; traffic violations being the most common reasons for accidents. Inertia for us humans is, therefore, our mentality and approach towards life. The habits we don’t want to change. The routine we don’t want to break apart from. Everyone wants change to happen around them. But very few actually want to be the change! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

IIT ROORKEE - The Nostalgia

Main Building of IITR
The news of my selection at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee came as a surprise to my family members they never expected a positive result in an exam (JEE) which has a cruel selection ratio of just 1% (among 5 lakh candidates)!

Roorkee, a small yet congested town in Haridwar district, juxtaposed beside the Ganga canal (built by the British in 1800's) lies in the foothills of Himalayas. Also famous for one of the oldest Army Cantonment in country with headquarters of the Bengal Engineer group (remnants of British Indian Bengal Army) Roorkee hasn't grown much around the IIT despite harboring almost 10,000 students in the small green campus.

Spanned across 450 acres the clean and green campus of IIT Roorkee is protected from city pollution and highway traffic. Previously known as Thomason College of Civil Engineering (founded in 1845 to help train engineers for the construction of the Ganges Canal) and then University of Roorkee, this main building dates back to the British era.

My first steps in the city were on a sweltering summer afternoon. Admission procedures ate up the whole day due to unnecessary paperwork. Even after a decade gone by converting into an IIT, the antediluvian standards of University functioning still prevails.

Sacrificing my afternoon naps and attending classes in those 45 degrees days of July August were equally excruciating as getting up those foggy 4 degrees bone chilling winters in December January. 

Situated in a small town, we students wandered a lot in the food streets Uttarakhand to satisfy our taste buds and quench the homesickness. Sipping cheap awful beers (realization after coming to Belgium) near the Solani river Ghats watching the serene sunsets, lip-smacking chai pakoras at Alpahar and University Canteen whilst bunking classes were some of the best moments I remember.

Lectures, assignments, tests, practicals, facing neurotic professors was a daily affair but all that never became a defining venture during my college life. The cycling trips besides the canal, evening jogs around campus, afternoon football with friends in hostel lobbies or gardens, the late-night hunger hunger driven trips to the Bus-T, the unforgettable exclusive cheese-maggi of Govind Bhawan were the things that kept me sane for the 5 whole years.

Having explored all nuances around the R-land, be it River rafting and Bungee jumping at Rishikesh, snow escapades in Auli and Shimla, hiking around the ethereal woods or trekking in the lush green mountains of Mussorie, time flew by with ease.

5 years, 10, semesters, 72 courses, 198 exams and innumerable night-outs for those mundane procrastinated assignments were a journey I would not have completed without my friends. In a nutshell, this campus gave me much more practical life lessons than my course on Physics, leaving me with a constant desire to excel among the best.

With this note, I bid adieu to my Alma Mater with high regards and respect for everyone and everything that shaped and influenced me in this chapter of life.

(currently pursuing my Masters in Nuclear Fusion at Ghent University, you can reach me via