Wednesday, December 16, 2020


Browsing through facebook messages, I noticed a college friend’s post and a few comments from the same college janta having their fun discussing pizza langar at the farm protests and availability of leg massages and speculating on the possibility of whisky as well!

And it struck me that over last two weeks I had not seen much feed from a few hundred IITians in my friends list. A very large number of these were very active prior to 2014 (and have made their appearances every once in a while to celebrate/support something related to their 2014 achievement – surgical strike on money – DeMo, surgical strike on Pak, surgical strike on corona – Lockdown, etc. etc. ). IITians for change, IITians for India, IITians support MODI and many other groups with names like these sprung up in the run up to 2014 and then 2019 (and will probably come up prior to 2024 again) – though I don’t have much hope of a group being called ‘IITians for change’ again.

Maybe I have just missed their discussions. So, I undertook a quick survey – at random I opened nearly fifty profiles from my friend list, of janta from my college. Mostly - there is no post in last few weeks, even on the walls of highly regular social media users.

In relation with farmer protests - apart from the pizza discussion, I found one forwarding videos against the movement from an extreme right wing hate page, one who had posted one link in support with #IStandWithFarmers and one with two supposedly funny videos bashing Modi on farm laws.

For almost 50 IITians, out of which nearly half have been very active users of facebook and a high percentage of those highly active in support of current establishment’s policies – mostly there is no voice either in favor or against the current events.

Maybe they have moved away from regular use of facebook and stopped trying to change the world on social media, but something that I posted a few weeks back comes to mind. “Till 2014, we had many an expert critic, many an expert doctor, who smelt the stink that Mother India lived through. Every moment of their existence they diagnosed what was wrong with her and they prescribed and shouted the solutions every which way. Since 2014 many well-meaning noses have lost the ability.”

4th December 2020, 930pm. As thousands of farmers at various borders of Delhi got ready to layout their bedding in their temporary shelters (in trolleys, on road under trolleys, in tents, out under open skies) in biting cold, Prime Minister delivered keynote address at the IIT-2020 Global Summit.

Maybe his words (or whoever wrote the speech) can help.

“I am always impressed after interacting with students from IITs. I also come back refreshed and reassured about the future of India and our planet. Friends, you are sons and daughters of India. You are serving humanity.”

“Friends our actions today will shape our planet tomorrow.”

“The responsibility is heavy, but I know your shoulders are capable.”

The choice of theme by PanIIT team seems prophetic - Future is Now.

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Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....