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Dr. Sandeep Pandey

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What purpose does a religion serve?

It serves you the meaning of living a life in the right way.

Lately, the sentiment around the religion in our country is undergoing transformation, religion has become a marker of character. Earlier this thinking was limited to a very small section of society but now the politics of majoritarianism has taken over. It has influenced the government, administration, police, judiciary and the media. By conflating majority Hindu religion with nationalism the problem has been further compounded. So much so that every wrong, such as violence done in the name of religion, is sought to be justified. On the other hand Muslim citizens become a suspect in the eye of system. Innocent Muslims as well as those who are critical of the Hindutva ideology are falsely implicated in legal cases because they are viewed as anti-nationals. Laws like sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and National Security Act are invoked so that the accused have to spend years in jail without trial and bail. In Uttar Pradesh, where the police have failed to control the law and order situation, out of 139 cases registered under NSA, 76 are related to cow slaughter. It shows the misplaced priorities of and the abuse of police to achieve its political agenda by the Bharatiya Janata Party government which is being played up by the media of our country. People are using digital platform to incite hate and anger, sadly there is no control over it. This politics of communalism is creating mistrust among the communities as never before and has led to many dreadful events, taking a heavy toll on social fabric of this country.

We live in a society with over 3,000 castes and over 10 major faiths. Yet a kid won’t know when he will call his friends for gully cricket their faith or caste but as they grow society molds our thinking. Our syncretic culture has an inbuilt tolerance. People of different religions and castes have learnt to live together over generations respecting each other’s views and often go out of their way to help each other. For every communal incident we also hear stories of how Hindus saved Muslims and vice versa. But unfortunately politics of communalism is polarizing the society resulting in mental ghettoisation.

Mob lynching incidents, which initially targeted Muslims and Dalits, are now on the rise as people are emboldened to take law into their hands even in other matters. Pure human emotions like love have not been spared. Love jihad is used as a pretext to hound inter-religious couples, just as inter-caste couple are persecuted. The jihad concept was extended to COVID-19 crisis accusing Muslims of spreading the virus. And now one channel has come out with a story that Muslims are infiltrating the civil services. Sachar Committee report tells us that Muslims are under-represented in service sector in proportion to their population essentially because education levels among the community are comparatively lower, but that is how the media is distorting the reality, implications of which are very dangerous for the well being of our society.

Watch The Public’s Third Eye with Anand Vardhan Singh on Palghar Mob Lynching

Our morality has been numbed by this communal-patriarchal-casteist thinking that our conscience is not pricked by even the cruelest acts. When a barber Ikhlaq from Uttar Pradesh went to Haryana in search of work his right hand which had a ‘786’ tatoo on it was amputated by a saw machine. 786 has religious significance in Islam just as ‘Om’ in Hinduism. It has nothing provocative about it, yet Ikhlaq has been permanently disabled to pursue his vocation for livelihood. Slogans like Jai Shree Ram and Allah-O-Akbar have become war cries defeating the whole purpose of religion. What purpose this hate campaign can serve except to create long lasting fissures in society?

When Wall Street Journal recently carried a story on how Facebook deliberately allowed hate speech content by some BJP leaders including T. Raja Singh to keep the government in good humour, even though it played a role in instigating communal riots, it has sparked a debate on free speech. Ultimately Raja Singh’s content was removed but a number of BJP leaders including the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad objected to the curb on right to freedom of expression of their colleagues. Does the right to free speech give one a right to endanger somebody’s life? It is interesting that BJP leaders advocate for their freedom of speech but anybody else found to be crtical of their government or leaders or even past Hindutva leaders are likely to be booked by the police. Recently UP police went all the way to Odisha to arrest a Muslim youth who made some adverse comments about Yogi Adityanath and Narendra Modi on social media. And now the UP government is creating a Special Security Force with a power to search and arrest without warrant. We can very well imagine who the likely victims will be.

Media, with some exception, has readily propagated the right wing ideology either to curry favour from government or under duress. The manipulation by the media channels, trying to feed the negativity to serve their rating, has been damaging to our society. The social media platforms have spread fake news sometimes resulting in violent incidents. Hatred and stupidity are on brazen display on these platforms. Innocence of human beings has been replaced by cunningness.

Watch Third Eye with Dr. Sandeep Pandey & Anand Vardhan Singh on Disinvestments

During the time of pandemic when people are mostly at homes the news channels have stooped to a new low in indulging in sensationalism. Journalism is losing its essence, it’s no longer about issues but it has taken the role of judging people’s character. To ensure that no hard questions are asked about its inept handling of the crisis at border created by China, the BJP has invented enemies like Rhea Chakraborty and Shiv Sena so that energies of its supporters are directed internally. Nobody is interested in the real question of how drugs make it to our society with the collusion of authorities. Meanwhile, the BJP is unashamedly using Sushant Singh Rajput’s issue as an election issue in Bihar diverting the attention from the misery of migrant workers who are facing a dual crisis due to floods. The media is simply lapping it all up.

We have to ask some serious questions. How is the national politics and media relevant to a child who sleeps without food at night because there is unemployment? Is poverty no longer an issue in a country with most number and proportion of poor in the world? Where is the conscience of media which is required to play the role of fourth pillar of democracy?  With unemployment going up the information broadcasters are earning enough money to feed gossip but will they be able to feed an empty stomach of a family whose lives have been devastated by the lockdown? What we see or listen we tend to believe, that’s the power we have given to the TV channels and they are abusing the power of information. An uneducated man or a villager is not interested in the Bollywood. The journalism in our country is dying and the people are enjoying the funeral because they are getting their daily soap fun. Journalism means research and showing the truth, posting the current events and not twisting a person’s mind with false fancy information.

It’s no secret how the elections of 2014 and 2019 were influenced with the power of technology. The feed on our Facebook and other platforms are customized menu offered to us, the fashion videos or the food videos are not randomly there on your feed.  Sure, it is easy to just be glued to your phone and watch or get served what you ordered thereafter the rest of the menu follows without you searching for it. The extensive reach of the platforms has posed a danger to our society as whole. Since the feed for each individual is customized the opinion of a person is shaped accordingly but the downside is the race for attention of the masses and the electronic media is the most aggressive player in the game. Electronic media in India is more of drama than actual journalism. As a human mind is more prone to sensationalism, the advantage is being taken by the electronic media. The real issues like the falling GDP, the situation of migrant workers, farmers’ misery all fade vis-a-vis the suicide of a Bollywood actor, Shiv Sena leader equating demolition of Kangana Ranaut’s office to Babri Masjid’s or the politics of Hindu Muslim binary. People get carried away as they are being fed the drama and tend to forget about the actual problems, this has created polarization to a great extent in India. People hate each other for their ideology, even in families there is polarization among the kids and their parents because the kids are critical of the Government.

Is that the world one wants to live in? Where we have differences among our family members? Hate boiling in our blood for our ideology? Use of religion or caste to demean others?The external threat faced by the country can be countered only by fostering equality, liberty, and most of all fraternity, amongst its citizens and not by playing the divisive politics internally.

Maybe it’s time to rethink our actions and conscience! Remember that Idea advertisement? Where people had no religion, no caste just their phone numbers as their identity. If people were more thoughtful there would be less hatred and violence and more love in our world.

(Jointly Authored by Dr. Sandeep Pandey and Shivi Saba)

Note: Sandeep Pandey is renowned Social Activist & Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and Shivi Saba is a Masters student at Berlin School of Business and Innovation.

Also Read: TIME TO JUDGE THE JUDGEMENT

Also Read: Who Will Clean The Deep Root of Indian Education System?

When the only cause for elation, even a smile in the morning, is news of the release of an innocent detainee with the words that his detention ‘was bad in law’, then democracy is indeed staring at its nadir.

Priyanka Gandhi called Dr. Kafeel after his release. We would have liked to call the judges who delivered this judgment. Why? For doing their duty? For upholding a fundamental principle of the law? That a man is innocent until proved guilty? But how many judges are doing their duty today? If they were, would Sharjeel Imam, Devangana Kalita (who was indeed granted bail on one of several charges) and numerous others be rotting behind bars? Here we do not even talk of the Bhima Koregaon/Elgaar Parishad case in which many intellectuals, journalists, advocates, professors and human rights defenders are in jail on charges similar to those levelled against Dr. Kafeel Khan.

Dr. Kafeel’s is no ordinary case. Accusations made against him were never really about the ‘incendiary’ speech he is supposed to have made at Aligarh Muslim University. It is well known that the deep corruption and mismanagement of a hospital in Gorakhpur where sixty children lost their lives for lack of oxygen, was brought to light when the man in charge—Kafeel Khan—disclosed the fact that earlier bills for cylinders were kept pending despite his repeated reminders resulting in total unavailability of oxygen in the hospital. He was never forgiven for this and it was only a matter of time before the predator pounced on the prey. He was arrested in 2017 for dereliction of duty and being engaged in private practice.

Dr. Kafeel Khan after his release from jail

In 2018, Dr. Khan was released on bail as the court did not find him guilty of medical negligence. When a departmental inquiry cleared him of all charges a fresh inquiry was initiated clearly suggesting that there was more to this case than met the eye.The Uttar Pradesh government got another opportunity to nab him after his speech at AMU in December 2019 during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens movement when he was accused of promoting hatred and violence between different groups. The UP police who have proved to be a total failure in controlling the situation of law and order within the state, displayed great alacrity in arresting Dr. Kafeel Khan from Mumbai and bringing him to Aligarh from where he was shifted to the Mathura jail. He was charged with threatening the peace and tranquillity of Aligarh. Before he could be released on bail after an order of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Aligarh, the administration slapped the National Security Act on him which further continued his incarceration. The State Advisory Board extended his period of custody under the NSA.

It finally took a Division bench of two High Court judges Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh to set aside his detention as well as extension terming them unsustainable in the eye of the law, clearing the way for his release. What the police thought was a provocative speech, the Judges described as ‘a call for national integrity and unity.’ What can be a more stark example of the venality of police action. The police’s role has been damaging to the self-esteem of this professional service. Dr. Kafeel Khan has proved that he is a dedicated and conscientious paediatrician and it is unfortunate that the government instead of using his services in a time of pandemic, chose to keep him in jail.

Watch the Episode- 226 of Third Eye on Dr. Kafeel Khan

All judges are aware of the fate of Justice B.H. Loya, who died under mysterious circumstances in 2014 when he was hearing the case of the (fake) encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which Amit Shah was an accused, and of Justice S. Muralidhar who was transferred to High Court of Punjab and Haryana on the night of the day that he took Delhi police to task for not registering a First Information Reports against three Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who had made provocative speeches which were followed by communal riots in Delhi in February, 2020. Also the prospect of rewards for ‘services rendered’ at all times looms large and indeed comes to fruition as we have recently witnessed. It takes a Dushyant Dave to (want to) say to a retiring judge: “May I pray to Lord Mahabaleshwar to bless you with strength to introspect and stir up your conscience.” (Indian Express, September 3) As we know, though invited to the function as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, he was not permitted to speak at Justice Arun Mishra’s farewell. This was immediately after the contempt of court case against Prashant Bhushan in which Dave was Bhushan’s advocate pleading before a bench presided over by Justice Mishra.

Thus whereas politicians and members of the public – those members that care – are quick to cry out against witch hunts and vendetta politics, we write in the belief that it is also necessary to salute those in the legal system who are willing to speak truth to power and deliver the sort of justice the citizens of this country deserve. It will take another set of intrepid judges to not only reinstate Dr. Kafeel Khan in his job, but even more consequentially, to set aside the case under NSA against him.If this happens, it could serve as a precedent, setting in motion the release of other innocents in jails.

We commend the Allahabad High Court judges for preventing gross injustice at a time when the public perception of the independence of the judiciary is under a dark cloud of mistrust.

May their tribe increase!

(By Sandeep Pandey and Mohini Mullick)
Note: Sandeep Pandey is Vice President, Socialist Party (India) and Mohini Mullick is former Professor of Humanities at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.  

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It is unusual for a bright young scholar like Amrendra Narayan, with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Mississippi State University, preceded and followed by research stints at Indian Institutes of Technology at Kanpur and Mumbai, respectively, to go and work at a relatively little known Veer Kunwar Singh University in a small town Arrah of Bihar near his native place. His own family and friends would have probably dissuaded him from going to Arrah and for good reasons. After working there for three years he was physically assaulted on campus on 13 August, 2020, by one Vivek Kumar alias Jitendra Pandey, who hangs around in the University without any formal affiliation there.

            It appears that a section of people with the University were not happy with the reforms that Amrendra was trying to bring about in the prevalent ‘academic’ culture there. Using his technological capabilities, the University created a Computer Centre facility for computerized result preparation saving crores of rupees and freeing it from the clutches of private agencies and from external and internal manipulation. His biggest attack was on plagiarism. He introduced software to detect plagiarism which made it difficult to obtain an easy Ph.D. from the University. In his attempt to rid the system of higher education of the malpractices and corruption by strictly implementing the University Grants Commission norms, he shook the entire set up.

            The Vice Chancellor was supportive of his efforts in the beginning because of which Amrendra was able to accomplish a number of things. But after the assault incident, the VC has decided to go mum.

            The scenario at University in Arrah is not an exception. To a lesser and greater extent all the malpractices here can be found in any academic institution in other places too. Using unfair means in examinations is very common and is a collaborative exercise in many places with students, parents, teachers, and management of school or college, education department officials, administrative officers and people’s representatives all colluding. It is an important factor responsible for fall in quality of education activity at educational institutions. Students of renowned institutions like King George Medical University, Lucknow and IIT, Banaras Hindu Univeristy have been caught impersonating for candidates in respective entrance examinations in exchange for money. Incidents of plagiarism have been reported at very reputed institutions too. Erudite economist Jean Dreze accused IIT Kanpur Associate Professor in Economics, Somesh Kumar Mathur, of having completely copied one of his articles published in Economic and Political Weekly when Mathur was a Ph.D. student at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Mathur just added a section to Dreze’s article and published it in another journal in his name. Inspite of charges of plagiarism in other works, Mathur continues to serve the IIT Kanpur.

            What is probably a rarity at IIT is a common practice at universities like the Veer Kunwar Singh. Dishonesty in research and teaching is rampant. The practice perpetuates from one generation to another. Any intervention to rectify the malfunctioning is likely to receive a violent pushback as experienced by Amrendra Narayan.

            Campus violence is also not uncommon. From carrying the feudal-casteist disputes from the rural hinterland to academic campuses, clashes between student groups more for asserting their dominance than for any ideological reasons, giving vent to their frustration against any attempt to discipline them by indulging in vandalism have been common incidences. Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi closing down sine die after campus violence was an expected annual event before the University decided to ban students union elections. This January we have seen masked gang going on rampage in JNU campus. A rowdy group forcibly entered the Gargi College in Delhi in February and molested girl students in a shameful act.

            Most of our institutions of higher learning have no pretensions of being the ideal centres of learning and scholarship. Inspite of high numbers involved in higher education India has a poor record in research. It is no surprise that no scholar working in an Indian institution has received a Nobel prize till date. The quality of research also reflects in the economy. The manufacturing in India is highly dependent on foreign designs and imported materials and products. China has infiltrated the Indian market to such an extent that in spite of our wish to boycott Chinese goods because of its infringement of Indian territory we’re unable to do so. The Prime Minister may dream of an Atmanirbhar Bharat, the fact is we cannot do without external help, whether of finance or technology. A recent trend is even governments hire foreign consultants to advise them on matters of domestic policy.

            It is quite clear that India has not taken its education seriously. Education is a ritual to be completed for upward social and economic mobility. The ultimate objective is to possess a degree irrespective of any capability acquired through the process of education. The more smart among the educated use their knowledge or skills to make money for themselves, legally or illegally. Corruption in India is a product of the educated. Education is disconnected from social reality and does not even attempt to solve the real problems of our country. Corruption, violence and mediocrity are endemic to Indian education system. The system is deeply entrenched intertwined with powerful vested interests.

            However, if the policy makers want an overhaul of the education system, as is desired in the recently released New Education Policy, the reality would have to be confronted. Some people will have to stem the rot. This will definitely involve risks as Amrendra’s example has shown. But the wider society and at least the intellectual academic community will have to support persons who attempt to reform the system and not abandon them.

Rona Wilson is a prison rights activist who has been in jail since April 2018 and denied bail several times. The Pune Police raided his home in Delhi on April 17, 2018, and arrested him subsequently for his alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon violence in January that year. A few months later, the agencies also accused him of being part of a larger naxal plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Rajeev Gandhi style and overthrow the current government. To substantiate their claims, the agencies allegedly produced some letter from his laptop which cyber-forensic experts believe could have been maliciously planted through malware. Nonetheless, this grave accusation was enough to land him in prison without any bail.

Rona is a founding member of the CRPP – the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners. CRPP provides legal aid to people accused in terrorism cases and booked under repressive laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and National Security Act. Rona is reported to have been working for the release of political prisoners since the early 2000s. In the words of Meena Kandasamy, a feminist writer and activist, “People like Rona represent the last frontier, the last line of defense that dissidents have. They could feel safe knowing that people like Rona will take up your cause; that they will campaign for your freedom.” Now with an ardent campaigner like Rona behind bars, Kandasamy questions if others will also be condemned to silence. 

Many activists have alleged that the government had framed these activists to shield the Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide who were accused of mobilizing an attack on the Bhima Koregaon memorial event, which attracts large Dalit crowds on January 1 every year to celebrate the anniversary of a stunning victory of a lower-caste Mahar regiment of the British army over the upper-caste Peshwas in 1818. Over the years this event has become a symbol of Dalit-Bahujan’s assertion against the draconian caste system of India.

Many who know Rona personally have been pained to witness this deplorable attempt of the government to harass this defender of the most vulnerable prisoners in India. In the opinion of renowned author Arundhati Roy, not much has been written about Rona as he is “low-key” in his disposition. Professor G. Haragopal described him as an erudite and hardworking scholar with a strong moral compass. Rona’s commitment towards his values is uncompromising, and the activist’s moral universe is based on the “larger concerns of the poor people, concerns of the prisoners, concerns of the tribals,” reports the Caravan. 

The second writer of this article had seen him with late Delhi University Professor Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani, an accused in the Parliament attack case of 2001. Geelani was first given a death sentence but later acquitted by the Delhi High Court in 2003 for lack of any evidence against him. Supreme Court upheld the decision. It was after the acquittal and release from jail after 22 months of Professor Geelani that CRPP was formed with Amit Bhattacharyya as Secretary General, S.A.R. Geelani as Vice President and Rona Wilson as Secretary, Public Relations as a need was felt for a body to work for the release of increasing number of persons who were being incarcerated for political reasons. This trend has never reversed and today we see a large number of political prisoners in jail and laws like UAPA being made more stringent to cast a larger net to nab such individuals who the establishment considers a threat. Except for the period when Emergency was imposed in India, probably never before so many intellectuals, writers, advocates, journalists, scholars, students and activists have been in jail as today. Emergency was imposed for two years and people targeted by the Indira Gandhi regime were in jail for a duration of less than two years. Under the current dispensation some people are now lodged in jail for more than two years. The attempt by the state is to silence every dissenter so that there is no criticism of majoritarian politics. Four such dissidents have been silenced by direct assassinations in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Needless to say these phenomena will have a chilling effect and citizens will feel threatened to raise a voice against injustice. Contempt of court proceedings against Prashant Bhushan is another case in point. The need for human rights bodies like CRPP and for activist like Rona Wilson has never been greater.

Before his arrest, Rona was in the process of heading abroad for his Ph.D. He had applied to the University of Surrey and the University of Leicester to pursue his doctorate. Even in jail, his quest for further studies never got extinguished and is still alight with hope and optimism. He has urged his family members to remain in touch with the faculty-in-charge at both the foreign universities and to apprise them of his precarious situation in India. His letter in this regard also mentioned his proposed thesis: “The Fiction of the Muslim Other: State, Law and The Politics of Naming in Contemporary India” writes Aathira Konikkara. 

The imprisonment of this bright scholar of our country is condemnable. The state must either prove its grave charges against him conclusively or set him free along with all other political prisoners.

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic threat a raging debate is going on at present regarding the holding of the Joint Entrance Examination Mains, the preliminary examination required to be cleared for admission to prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology and other engineering and technology institutions, during 1-6 September, 2020, by the National Testing Agency, in which 8,58,273 candidates are to appear. Subsequently a JEE Advanced will be held for 2-2.5 lakhs candidates selected from the abovementioned for final admission to IITs and other institutions. Some students approached the court with an objective to get the JEE Mains postponed but court has decided to support the NTA’s decision to conduct the examination. Now there is pressure being exerted through various channels including leaders of Bhartiya Janata Party and its allies for the postponement of this examination.

            Some IIT professors think the examination should be postponed in view of the imminent threat of COVID-19, some think only one round of examination should be conducted and some are suggesting innovative alternatives like Professor Kannan M. Moudgalya of IIT Bombay, through an article in Indian Express, has suggested postponing the examination by two years and allowing the students to enroll in a branch of their choice in any engineering college during the interim and use NPTEL/SWAYAM video courses to study. Professor P.R.K. Rao, formerly of IIT Kanpur, has suggested an admission process without entrance examinations in which students seeking admission to IITs would not be eligible for non-IIT engineering institutions and vice-versa. Students seeking admission to IITs will be allowed to specify a maximum preference order of 2-3 IITs with a maximum preference order of 2 branches. Students admitted to IITs will give an undertaking that they will withdraw from the programme if their performance falls below a specified level. Admission process will follow a first-come-first-served rule in a fixed time frame.

            There are 23 IITs now in the country, one in each state in mainland India except for Uttar Pradesh which has two and for the entire Northeast and Sikkim there is only one in Guwahati. There are total of 15,53,809 seats available in 3,289 engineering colleges of India which are recognized by All India Council for Technical Education. The ideal situation is one where nobody who has an aspiration to study engineering is denied admission. The number of students appearing in JEE Mains held two times a year is about the same as number of seat available in all engineering colleges. Hence, it is physically possible to accommodate each aspirant without conducting any examination for elimination.

            Each of the 23 IITs should take responsibility for assigning seats available in their state (region, in the case of Northeast and Sikkim) to the students from their state (region). For example IITs at Kanpur and Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi will take responsibility for allotting 1,42,972 seats available in 296 colleges of UP to students from UP. Of course, any excess students in any state will have an opportunity to fill vacant seats in a state of their choice.

            Considering that 15,53,809 (equal to number of seats available) students have to be offered admission, each IIT’s burden will be about 67,557 students. Assuming that there are an average of 200 faculty members at each IIT, each faculty member over a 15 minutes one-on-one interview during 8 hours a day on an online platform, after verifying the identity of the student, can interview all the 338 students in his/her share in ten and a half days evaluation process. This evaluation process will essentially determine capability of the student and accordingly allot him/her to an institution whose rigour can be matched by student’s capability. The choice of branch of study should be left to the student. The selection process should be mindful of allotment of appropriate number of reserved seats to students from that category in each institution. A good proportion of girl students should also be allotted to each institution to maintain the gender balance to the extent possible. This one online interview will replace the JEE Mains, JEE Advanced and the counseling which decides the Institute and Branch choice for admission.

            This seat allotment process will be subjective as different faculty members at different IITs interview different set of students and individual inclinations will come into play. A deterrent to selecting an undeserving candidate for a seat will the public knowledge about who selected whom displayed on the particular IIT’s website. To exclude the possibility of individual biases panels can be formed, which will obviously be interviewing a larger number of students. But it is important that all faculty members are involved to share the load. As a correction mechanism, just as there is provision for branch change within an institution at the end of first year depending on the performance of initial year, an opportunity can be given to the students to change their institute based on their performance. Hence a student who was not allotted an IIT in the first year can by his/her hard work move from a private college or state engineering college or a National Institute of Technology to an IIT in the second year. For a student not sufficiently prepared a reverse process can also be adopted.

            The entire seat allotment process will save time, resources and bureaucracy invested in conducting the JEE. Additionally, the students will be attending an institution close to their home akin to the idea of neighbourhood school. This will correct the regional imbalance in representation among student community at IITs and also that created because of coaching institutions.

            The biggest gain will be making the selection process free from extortionist and grueling coaching institutions, which is one of the stated aims of New Education Policy recently delivered to the country. There will be simply no need of them. Every desirous student will be able to study engineering. This is akin to universalisation of education, a long cherished dream of every educationist.

            It is also likely that a major complaint of faculty members at IITs that students coming through the coaching institutions are not interested in engineering but they just need the IIT brand to move on to something more lucrative, like a career in finance, will also be addressed to some extent. It is high time we encourage students with an interest in particular subject to which s(he) is seeking admission, like in other countries to which Indian students migrate for undergraduate or graduate education.

            The suggested seat allotment process could be studied for a few years. If it appears to be advantageous over the current selection process than it could be adopted in long term too.

By dr. Sandeep Pandey
Dr. Sandeep Pandey is Ramon Magasaysay Awarded Social Activist and has taught at IITs at Kanpur, Gandhinagar and BHU, Varanasi and has conducted examination free evaluations of students in all his courses.