My reply to Prof. Sangal’s post

If you have not already read the post, The Al-Qaeda of Jeevan Vidya,  by Rishabh and Prof. Sangal’s reply to that post, Prof. Sangal’s reply to “The Al-Qaeda of Jeevan Vidya”, then I suggest you read them first because my post is a direct response to Prof. Sangal’s reply.

1) You’ve mentioned four conditions that were laid before you chose human values. I don’t remember the content of Jeevan Vidya shivirs, and though I’m sure you can prove that it satisfies the conditions, but that is no means to measure the success. Satisfying the conditions is only the theoretical aspect, I may say. Today, if I look at Human Values from a practical part, I dare to say that it has failed to capture the interests of the IIIT student masses and thus, is not successful.

2) JV probably doesn’t preach us to do things. I don’t remember. It tells a thousand things during a week’s shivir, any normal person is bound to like a few of them. That is, by no means, a measure of JV’s success. Many of the things discussed in JV are already known to the person, and if he has already chosen not to apply them in his life, then there is no use preaching these things to him.

3) I think the philosophy of “open source” is grossly misunderstood here. An open source concept is open to modification, something which I’ve not seen in JV. The negative feedback from the student masses has been floating around ever since JV was introduced, and the feedback is always more negative with each passing year.

I wouldn’t classify JV as a religion, for a religion makes us believe things without understanding. JV is a cult. A cult that everyone in IIIT is being “forced” to follow. I still use the word “force” because of the changes I have seen in IIIT over my 3.5 years of stay – changes like compulsory washing of plates, owl and lark separation of students (and changing course timings in such a way to force them to be more lark like), forcing canteens to close at midnight. No wonder, the hacker culture has very much disappeared from IIIT. Everything comes at a cost.

4) The concept of compulsory courses stems from the stream (in our case, computers or electronics) a person is studying in, and it is the UGC which decides what goes into the list of these courses. Humanities courses are separate from these “core and compulsory” courses.

I agree with your idea of a broad course structure requiring humanities, but my main conflict here is with the current HSSM courses being offered in IIIT-H. There is no breadth in the courses being offered in the Humanities stream. Rishabh’s earlier post about this, discusses these issues in detail. Humanities is as vast as area as is computer science, and limiting students to very similar options by offering such courses is akin to an illusion of choice because after all he has to complete his degree.

PS: Not that I hate anonymous comments, but if you’ve a hate comment to add, then do not do it.

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