IIIT-D Under Shadows of Doubts — Gaurav Goswami

Well, I have joined IIIT Delhi… The first batch of this soon-to-be great institute of technology in the heart of the city. Its on similar lines to the highly successful IIIT – Hyderabad. But, since the Delhi Govt. decided to name it Indraprastha and not International, people are thinking that its affiliated to Indraprastha University, Delhi which is not such a prestigious name in technical education.

Due to this fact, and more that this is the very first year of the institute and there are no placement stats or rankings available about it, the people are very doubtful about even the authenticity of the institute, let alone its future success. And this is very sad. The Director, respected professor Pankaj Jalote, whose name needs no introduction to people who matter, had to reassure the parents attending counseling that it was worth joining.

People also made a very big issue of the lack of UGC and AICTE recognition of the institute, which is not important as its a state university fully allowed to grant its own degrees like DU or IITs. Professor Jalote had to bear with all the non-believers’ relentless queries, and he did so very humbly. Despite the fact that it is starting in NSIT(Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology) which is also a Govt. institute and the most prestigious in Delhi (Except IIT), people even linked the institute to the gas pipeline suppliers Indraprastha Gas Limited.

To top this confusion, professor Jalote also said very honestly that the campus isn’t about to be built up before 2 years at least, there is 0 faculty owned by the institute and the schedule will be very off hours.

But there are people who aren’t blind enough to let this opportunity slip and we have people leaving top IP colleges, NIT Kurukshetra and other quite okay institutes to join IIIT Delhi. Some of them joined it just to be in their city, but some have faith that this will prove to be a smart choice after these 4 years.

Yes, our schedule was crazy – the first class started at 8 in the morning, continued till 9.30 and then the next class began at 4 in the evening. (The reason for this being that the lecturers were from NSIT and that’s how it had to be for them to be able to continue their NSIT classes without disruption); Yes, we don’t have our own professors; Yes, we don’t have our own campus; but who cares? We have got top professors from NSIT and IIT DELHI willing and teaching us, so we have better faculty than any other Delhi colleges. We got whatever we need inside the NSIT campus itself, and in India, a little bit of adjustment has to be done anywhere.

Today, having completed my 5th semester at IIIT-Delhi, my institute which I am proud of, quite a lot has changed. We have our own labs, fully equipped with good performance hardware which are open till late night for students to work, both the floors which are part of our current temporary campus are covered by wireless hi-speed internet connection and we have our own well-qualified faculty (Ph.D from well known universities across the globe), the institute has received Rs. 25 crores as research grant from Delhi govt., smartphones for development from Nokia, three of our students have been selected as Microsoft Student Partners, we also got access to Motorola Droid phones for Android App Development, and many research opportunities. I would say that the institute has achieved a lot already, and I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning.

 

Bare Beginnings – Hemank Lamba

After giving the examination, I had passed the thought of joining a new institute somewhere to the back of mind and completely ignoring as to what decision should I make if I got selected… But it was not long before my parents called me up one fine evening to tell me that I had got selected and hence was required to be in Delhi two days later and my legs started shaking because it knew that it was time as to take a decision which could affect my life in major ways.

After passing the entrance examinations, finally the moment of decision had come, that morning in the NSIT auditorium where counselling was taking place. All the things that were required to make my decision – director’s speech, parents’ opinions, friends’ opinions, Computer Science versus Civil, Delhi versus Himachal, New institute versus Institute which carried with a legacy of more than 20 years – were there. Just one thought, one moment and I had taken the decision –  I was joining IIIT-Delhi,  for really no clear reason.

And frankly, I was quite doubtful of my decision later on. Usually it is not a good feeling when you tell someone the institute in which you study and they reply back with a weird expression on the face saying “Is there one in Delhi as well? “, “Does it even exist?”, “What is that?” and the worst one is “accha B.Sc kar rahe ho?”. The courses being taught were core CS courses, ones that were really going to matter when we will step out of the institute not the ones which were there because someone thought 25 years ago that computer science engineering was about asking the students to learn Engineering Drawing because they can’t use sophisticated programs to do that. But besides the curriculum, there was nothing really to boast off.

But ultimately what gave you the strength to take that leap of faith, what made more or less all of us choose IIIT-Delhi was the vision with which it was formed, the determination with which every step was being taken to make this university a university which could in future claim to be amongst the best universities among the world.

After 2.5 years, where are we? IIIT-Delhi  now boasts of 17 faculty members (all PhD’s) , 14 full time PhD Students, 216 undergraduates , 23 M.Tech students, and 6 research labs already producing some great work.

Signing off as a student who took the right decision 2 years ago against normal Indian society norms and no matter what happens isn’t going to regret going to an institute which was just created.

And as I get back to work in this relatively unknown city of Hyderabad where I am for internship and amongst students from IITs, IIITs, I realize that I am in a place where I could have not been maybe ever if I had not been in IIIT-Delhi.

 

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